2019-20 Director’s Lectures

Elizabeth Anderson, Can We Talk?: Communicating Moral Concern in an Era of Polarized Politics
November 11, 2019

Political discourse in the United States today is distorted by practices of trolling (insults, “owning the libs”) and shaming (“political correctness”). Both practices displace consideration of urgent first-order moral concerns of justice with second-order concerns of competition among identity groups for moral and social superiority. Yet how can we communicate first-order moral concerns without resorting to blaming and shaming those who resist? In this lecture, Elizabeth Anderson suggested alternative ways in which testimony and empathy can be mobilized to communicate moral concern so that those who resist shame and blame can come to share such concerns.

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