Princeton University Professor Robert P. George will deliver the 29th Aquinas Lecture entitled, “Natural Law, God, and Human Dignity” Thursday, Sept. 29 and will also lead a seminar on the views of public reason of American philosopher John Rawls and German thinker Jürgen Habermas.
Dr. Philipp W. Rosemann, chair of the philosophy department, said that George is “unusual” because he is both a “first-rate” professor and “a major political force in the United States.”
“Dr. George is a high-caliber academic who is also effective at influencing public debates,” Rosemann said. “Even those with whom he disagrees hold him in high regard.”
George’s lecture will cover the nature of practical reasoning and the identification of the norms of morality in society. It will aim to “show how natural law theories are similar to and different from leading, competing accounts of practical reasoning and of moral judgments that provide the justificatory basis of positive law,” according to the philosophy department.
The Aquinas Seminar will discuss the concept of public reason as explained in John Rawl’s article “The Idea of Public Reason Revisited.” The text for the seminar can be found in the philosophy department’s “News and Events” section on the University of Dallas website.
George is the founder and director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton, which awards “visiting fellowships and postdoctoral appointments each year to support scholars conducting research in the fields of constitutional law and political thought,” according to the James Madison Program.
George also served on the President’s Council on Bioethics during the Bush administration and remains a corresponding member of UNESCO’s World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge. George is the author of numerous works on law and political philosophy including “Making Men Moral: Civil Liberties and Public Morality” and “In Defense of Natural Law,” according to the philosophy department.
He has also written numerous articles and review essays. The “New York Times Magazine” called him “this country’s most influential conservative Christian thinker” in an article by David Kirkpatrick entitled “The Conservative-Christian Big Thinker,” published Dec. 16, 2009.
The University of Dallas has hosted the Aquinas Lecture annually since 1983. Past Aquinas Medalists include William Desmond, Alasdair MacIntyre and other distinguished philosophers working with the thought of St. Thomas. The Lecture is traditionally held around the time of St. Thomas’ feast day on Jan. 28, but this year’s lecture was postponed due to inclement weather last February.
The Aquinas Lecture will be held on Thursday in Lynch Auditorium at 7:30 p.m., with a reception following the lecture in the Gorman Faculty Lounge. The seminar will occur on Friday, Sept. 30 at 9 a.m. in the Gorman Faculty Lounge.