As part of its mission to enrich philosophy within Canada, the Canadian Journal of Philosophy hosts a yearly Distinguished Lecture at the annual meeting of the Canadian Philosophical Association.


Dans le cadre de son mandat visant à enrichir la philosophie au Canada, le Canadian Journal of Philosophy organise chaque année un programme de conférenciers éminents dans le cadre du congrès annuel de L’Association canadienne de philosophie.


Miranda Fricker, City University of New York:
“Moral protagonists: blame, prolepsis, and respect”

Hannah Ginsborg, University of California at Berkeley:
“Wittgenstein on going on”

Will Kymlicka, Queen’s University:
Human rights without human supremacism

Early defenders of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights invoked species hierarchy: human beings are owed rights because of our discontinuity with and superiority to animals. Subsequent defenders avoided species supremacism, appealing instead to conditions of embodied subjectivity and corporeal vulnerability we share with animals. In the past decade, however, supremacism has returned in work of the new ‘dignitarians’ who argue that human rights are grounded in dignity, and that human dignity requires according humans a higher status than animals. Against the dignitarians, I argue that defending human rights on the backs of animals is philosophically suspect and politically self-defeating.

Dominic McIver Lopes, University of British Columbia:
How to get practical about aesthetic value” 

What if aesthetic values give agents reasons to act? The supposition that aesthetic values are practical values suggests how to diagnose a fundamental error of traditional theories of aesthetic value and reorients attention on a neglected sample of aesthetic acts with features that a theory of aesthetic value should explain. I sketch the main components of a theory that locates the normativity of aesthetic value in the expert performances of socially-situated aesthetic agents.

Jennifer Hornsby, Birkbeck College:
Infinitives in practical thought

Intellectualists (at least some of them) tell us not only that a person who knows how to do something therein knows a proposition, but also that a person who intends to do something intends a proposition. I argue that they are wrong in both cases. I think that it helps in seeing that they are wrong to consider ‘know how ——’ and ‘intend ——’ together. When these are considered together, a realistic conception of human agency can inform the understanding of some infinitives: the argument need not turn on what semanticists have said about (what they call) “the subjects of infinitival clauses”.

Sally Haslanger, Massachusetts Institute of Technology:
Social structure, narrative and explanation

For several decades, social theorists have argued that racism, sexism, and other forms of inequality, are best understood as forms of structural injustice. On such accounts, broad social structures systematically disadvantage certain groups and privilege others. Structural explanation is intended as an alternative to accounts that rely on narratives about the bad (sexist, racist…) behavior of individuals. Recent work on discrimination suggests, however, that even those who are explicitly committed to equality are susceptible to acting in ways that reflect implicit bias, and there has been much interest in showing how implicit bias explains inequality. This paper raises questions about the relationship between structural explanations and implicit bias explanations. Are implicit bias explanations a re-emergence of individualistic explanation? Do they inherit some of the ideological presuppositions of individualism? Or are they compatible with – perhaps even a necessary component of – a structural approach?

Love: self-propagation, self-preservation, or ekstasis?

Harry Frankfurt makes the lover’s identification with the beloved central to his account of love in a way such that he ends up counting Agamemnon’s sacrifice of Iphigenia primarily as a form of self-betrayal. Terence Irwin ascribes a similar conception of love to Plato: love as a form of “self-propagation”. Each of these “colonizing ego” views seems to me mistaken in ways revealed by the ecstatic conception of love that Martha Nussbaum rightly sees in Plato’s Phaedrus, a conception to which reciprocity and equalizing dynamics are crucial. Frankfurt and Irwin miss this because they assume a Procrustean egoism to which the ekstatic powers of genuine love cannot be made to fit.