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Values Between Philosophy and Social Science

Event Dates:
18-20 September 2023
Fudan University (China)
Prof Joel Robbins (University of Cambridge)
Fudan University and University of Cambridge

Event: The organizer of this event is the Research Centre for Global Ethics of Fudan University , which was established in 2022. The Centre aims to explore the ethical dilemmas faced by the global community, to seek common rational principles for resolving human conflicts, and to promote the “ethics of shared responsibility” for a common future for mankind. The Centre is located in the School of Philosophy Fudan University, served as a base for international academic communication and cooperative research in ethics and philosophy.

Speaker: Prof Joel Robbins (born 1961) is an American Socio-Cultural anthropologist; he is at the University of Cambridge, where he is the Sigrid Rausing Professor of Social Anthropology and the Deputy Head of Division and REF Coordinator for Division of Social Anthropology, as well as a Fellow at Trinity College.

Contents: Over the last 20 years of so there has been a huge growth in the anthropological study of ethics (following, but not replacing, a strong focus on power as a central human concern). This has brought anthropology into serious conversation with philosophy in a way that it had not been since the early 1970s, when the two disciplines converged in a conversation on the question of whether rationality is cross-culturally variable. My own focus within the anthropology of ethics has been on the topic of values. I argue that the anthropology of values cannot proceed without engaging some of the philosophical literature on values. In these three lectures, then, I want to consider how philosophy and anthropology can be brought together to produce an approach to the study of values that can support anthropological theorizing and empirical anthropological research on the role of values in social and personal life.

Lecture 1Human Nature and the Necessity of Values


Lecture 2Pluralism and Monism: Between Metaphysics and Social Process


Lecture 3On the Global Diversity of Socially Viable Values