Internationally renowned scholar Philip Kitcher, the John Dewey Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University, will examine the defining questions of climate change policy and future risks in his campus lecture “Why Is Climate Action So Hard?” on Thursday, Feb. 8 in the Geneva Room of the Warren Hunting Smith Library at 5 p.m.
Kitcher joins the Colleges as part of the Philosophy Department’s yearlong colloquium exploring the intersection of philosophy and climate change. He is the first of six speakers coming to campus this spring and next fall to address the philosophical dimension of problems raised by climate change.
“Philip Kitcher is among the most respected philosophers working nowadays,” says Professor of Philosophy Scott Brophy ’78, P’12. “In his new work, he lays out not just the ethical issues at stake but the epistemological ones as well: how can we know what we know? What would be irrational to deny? His writings examine, among other things, the connection between science and democratic societies. He analyzes the types of scientific evidence that are needed to create informed public policy.”
“He is also an uncommonly good writer, and a speaker who can make complex issues clear to a general audience. He’s the perfect person to kick off the Philosophy and Climate Change colloquium, and his talk on Thursday will also be this year’s Foster P. Boswell Public Lecture in Philosophy,” Brophy adds.
The author of more than 160 published works, Kitcher specializes in the study of pragmatism, science and social issues, naturalistic ethics and philosophy in literature. He is the first winner of the Prometheus Prize, the lifetime achievement award issued from the American Philosophical Association, and the Berlin Prize, among several other distinctions. Kitcher served the Library of Congress as a senior fellow in bio-ethics issues in molecular genetics in 1993, and has held several positions in visiting scholarship with Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest honor society for the liberal arts and sciences in the U.S.