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Lecture at W&L by CUNY Philosophy Professor Jesse Prinz

Jesse Prinz, a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and director of Interdisciplinary Science Studies at the City University of New York, Graduate Center, will give a lecture at Washington and Lee University on March 30 at 5 p.m. in the Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library.

The title of his talk, which is free and open to the public, is “Morality and the Self.” There will be a book signing after the public lecture; books will include “Beyond Human Nature,” “Conscious Brain” and “The Emotional Constructional of Morals.”

Prinz argues, based on findings in psychology and experimental philosophy, that values are central to personal identity. Morals (and religion and politics) are more important for continuity of self over time than memory, agency or other things philosophers have traditionally emphasized.

“Moreover, these values connect us with social groups, making personal identity a social phenomenon,” said Prinz.

Prinz is the author of “The Conscious Brain” (2012); “Beyond Human Nature” (2012); “The Emotional Construction of Morals” (2007); and “Gut Reactions: A Perceptual Theory of Emotion” (2004); and “Furnishing the Mind” (2002). He is the co-author of “Mind and Cognition” (3rd ed., 2008). Forthcoming are “The Moral Self” and “Works of Wonder: A Theory of Art.”

Prinz’s recent articles and chapters include, “An Empirical Case for Motivational Internalism,” in “Motivational Internalism” (2013); “Attention, Atomism, and the Disunity of Consciousness” in “Philosophy and Phenomenological Research” (2013); “The Poverty of Experience: Reducing Siegel’s Phenomenology,” in “Philosophical Studies” (2013); and “The Hand Manifesto,” in “The Hand: An Organ of the Mind” (2013).

Prinz served on the executive committees for the International Society for Research on Emotions, the Aesthetics Society of America and the Society for Philosophy and Psychology. He is also the co-founder of the blog Art Bouillon.

Prinz’s research focuses on the perceptual, emotional and cultural foundations of human psychology. He is also interested in the philosophy of psychology, the philosophy of the mind, cognitive science, consciousness, moral psychology and aesthetics.

Prinz earned his B.A from New York University and his Ph. D. from the University of Chicago. He is also the director of the Interdisciplinary Committee for Science Studies at CUNY. Prior to teaching at CUNY, he was an associate professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and an assistant professor at Washington University in St. Louis.

Prinz’ lecture is sponsored by the Philosophy Department’s Root Lecture fund.