Russ Shafer-Landau is Professor and Chair of the Philosophy Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He works primarily in the foundations of ethics. He is the organizer of the annual Wisconsin Metaethics Workshop, the editor of Oxford Studies in Metaethics, and the administrator of the Marc Sanders Prize for Younger Scholars in Metaethics.



Why Moral Relativism Appeals–and Why We Should Resist
Moral relativism is the idea that morality is in some way dependent on personal or cultural opinion. Many people find such a view very attractive. Shafer-Landau will try to pinpoint the main sources of its appeal and proceed to argue that relativism is not all it’s cracked up to be. He will focus on three arguments for moral relativism. The first says that if you value tolerance (and you should!), then you should embrace relativism. The second says that if God does not exist (and God does not exist), then moral relativism has to be true. The third says that the widespread disagreement we see about moral issues is best explained by assuming that moral relativism is true. Shafer-Landau will talk about why people have found these arguments compelling, and then try to show why these lines of reasoning are, in the end, unsuccessful.

Time: 8 pm
Location: Cultural Services of the French Embassy / Ballroom