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Philosophy Distinguished Lecture: "Ideology & Moral Knowledge"

Thursday, March 1, 2018

5:30 PM-7:00 PM

Sally Haslanger PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Entrenched ideologies are barriers to social change. If, under conditions of injustice, our cognition is shaped by ideology, how can we gain the moral knowledge needed to critique the culture that is the source of injustice? But culture is not a rigid frame; rather, it is a set of tools made ready for use in a variety of ways. Not everyone uses the tools in the same way or finds them fitting for the jobs they need done. So even in cases where most participate in oppressive practices unknowingly, there will be some who are able to gain knowledge of morally relevant facts that are for others inaccessible or unavailable; this may be knowledge that the practices are morally problematic. If so, then they are entitled (even required!) to resist the practices and demand change. Resistance may be made by individuals, but there are many reasons that it is best undertaken as a collective enterprise through social movements. My talk will elaborate this view and consider when social movements legitimately demand our support.

Sally Haslanger, PhD, is the Ford Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and holds the 2015 Spinoza Chair of Philosophy at the University of Amsterdam.

Sponsored by the Department of English and Philosophy, the Center for Science, Technology and Society, the Women's and Gender Studies program, and the Department of Sociology.

Contact Information

Peter Amato, PhD

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Mitchell Auditorium, Bossone Research Center, 3140 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104


  • Everyone