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Kadish Workshop in Law, Philosophy, and Political Theory: Dhananjay Jagannathan, Columbia University

Friday, September 15, 2023 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Kadish Workshop in Law, Philosophy, and Political Theory welcomes Dhananjay Jagannathan, Columbia University, who will be discussing his paper “A Defense of Aristotelian Justice.”

Dhananjay Jagannathan is an assistant professor of philosophy and Director of Graduate Studies of the Classical Studies Program at Columbia University. His scholarship has focused mainly on the ethics and political philosophy of Aristotle. His current book project is Aristotle’s Practical Epistemology, which situates Aristotle’s account of practical wisdom (phronēsis) within his broader theory of ethical and political knowledge.

Paper Abstract:
Aristotle’s account of the virtue of justice has been regarded as one of the least successful aspects of his ethics. Among the most serious criticisms lodged against his views are (i) that he fails to identify the proper subject matter of justice (LeBar 2020), (ii) that he wrongly identifies the characteristic motives relevant for justice and injustice (Williams 1980), and (iii) that his account is parochial, i.e., that it fails to correctly recognize or characterize our obligations of justice to those outside our community (Annas 1995; Curzer 2012, ch. 13). Indeed, Mark LeBar has recently argued that, although Aristotle’s eudaimonist framework remains the most promising metaethical strategy to ground justice as a virtue of individual human beings, the normative content of his theory is so flawed that neo-Aristotelians ought to adopt a Kantian theory of justice that centers on according respect to persons (LeBar 2020). My aim in this paper is to defend Aristotle’s views from these criticisms in order to show that it holds promise as an account of justice as a virtue. Notably, neo-Aristotelians have generally neglected the topic of justice, despite its centrality to Aristotle’s ethics and to our own social lives. I argue that they ought to take Aristotle’s account seriously as a starting point for their own theorizing, while recognizing that it needs modification on some points.

About the Workshop:

This course is a workshop for discussing works in progress in moral, political, and legal theory. The workshop creates a space for students to engage directly with philosophers, political theorists, and legal scholars working on normative questions toward the goal of fostering critical thinking about concepts of value and developing analytical thinking and writing skills. Another aim is to bring together people from different disciplines and perspectives who have strong normative interests or who speak to issues philosophers and theorists should know something about.

The theme for the Fall 2023 workshop is “Current Work on the History of Political, Legal, and Moral Philosophy.”


Friday, September 15, 2023
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Event Categories:


141 Law Building


Kadish Center for Morality, Law & Public Affairs

Events are wheelchair accessible. For disability-related accommodations, contact the organizer of the event. Advance notice is kindly requested.

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