search articles: 

   from the issue of October 27, 2005

War, ethics philosopher presents Kripke lecture


Michael Walzer, one of the world's eminent philosophers on the subject of war and ethics, will deliver the talk "The Paradox of National Liberation: India, Israel and Algeria" on Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. at the Lied Center for Performing Arts. The talk is free and open to the public. A pre-forum talk by Mark Van Roojen, associate professor of Philosophy, will be given in the Steinhart Room at 6:30 p.m.

An open discussion with Walzer will be held Nov. 3 at 2 p.m. in the Nebraska Union Auditorium. The topic will be just and unjust wars and will focus on the situation in Iraq.

Walzer's Nov. 2 talk is the Kripke Lecture, a collaboration between the E.N. Thompson Forum and the UNL Norman and Bernice Harris Center for Judaic Studies. The Thompson Forum lectures are part of the Lied season performance series.

Walzer has been a professor of social science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., since 1980. His recent books include "Arguing about War" (2004) and "Politics and Passion: Toward a More Egalitarian Liberalism" (2005).

Walzer has written on a variety of political theory and moral philosophy topics, including political obligation, just and unjust war, nationalism and ethnicity, economic justice and the welfare state.

He has been credited with taking an active role in the revival of a practical, issue-focused ethics and the development of a pluralist approach to political and moral life.

Regarding the Iraq war, Walzer has opposed the doctrine of pre-emptive war that President Bush claimed, but he also criticizes the leaders of France, Germany and Russia for failing to provide an alternative to war.

"Arguing About War" is a collection of Walzer's writing from the past 15 years. The book focuses on ethical issues arising from military intervention in emergency situations, after terrorism, and during foreign civil wars. Rwanda's ethnic cleansing, the Gulf War and Kosovo's struggles toward independence serve as case studies.

In his works Walzer suggests ways in which liberal theory, defined as a way to maximize individual liberty through a democratic system of rights under law, might be revised to make it more hospitable to the claims of equality.

Walzer received his bachelor's degree from Brandeis University in 1956 and attended Cambridge University on a Fulbright Fellowship from 1956 to 1957. He received his doctorate from Harvard University in 1961. He was professor of government at Harvard from 1966 through 1980 and an assistant professor of politics at Princeton from 1962 through 1966.

The idea for the Thompson Forum lectures came about in 1988 when E.N. "Jack" Thompson, then head of the philanthropic Cooper Foundation in Lincoln, conceived of a public lecture series that would bring prominent individuals to UNL to speak on important international issues.

The series, a cooperative project of the Cooper Foundation, the Lied Center and UNL, has a mission of promoting better understanding of world events and issues to all Nebraskans. In 1990, the series was named in honor of Thompson (1913-2002), a 1933 graduate of the University of Nebraska, who served as president of the Cooper Foundation from 1964 to 1990 and as its chairman from 1990 until his death.



Coliseum serves lunch hour tradition
Energy savings plan put into motion on campus
UNL begins new tack in accreditation
War, ethics philosopher presents Kripke lecture
Abel-Sandoz duo marks 40 years helping students
Gilded bacteria used in bioelectronic device
Math Day to attract students from across the Cornhusker state
Probe into superhero physics draws over 100