Harvard Medical School
TMEC 209 (260 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115)
A lecture by Prof. Candace Vogler (The University of Chicago)
Co-sponsored by the Christian Medical and Dental Association and the Catholic Students Association.
This lecture is free and open to the public.
In this talk, I will think about bad things, and the ways in which we can apprehend and consider what is bad—both the kind of badness at issue in so-called “natural evils” like illness, injury, and some forms of suffering, and so-called “moral evils”—like injustice (with the understanding that moral evil can sometimes show itself in manmade natural evil). It can seem like both sorts of bad function completely independently of the goods that they block, impede, prevent, or otherwise sabotage. It can seem that way even if we don’t have unproblematic access to an account of what overall good might look like in the relevant area of human experience, life, or action. I will take seriously the difficulty of giving an account of all-around goodness in specific areas of life, experience, and action, and argue that, nevertheless, any understanding of badness is parasitic on a grasp—however inchoate or indeterminate—of good.
Candace Vogler is the David B. and Clara E. Stern Professor of Philosophy and Professor in the College at the The University of Chicago. She is also Principal Investigator on Virtue, Happiness, & the Meaning of Life Project, funded by the John Templeton Foundation. She has published "John Stuart Mill's Deliberative Landscape: An Essay in Moral Psychology" and "Reasonably Vicious."