From ‘is’ to ‘ought’… and vice versa

Wednesday, 27 April 2016, 4:00pm - 5:30pm, IWM library
As a philosopher and an anthropologist, respectively, David Jenkins and Kathrine Miller start from different premises and commitments, spanning, for example, the gap between moral relativism and universalism. Both projects, however, address the relationship between moral systems and individual ethical subjects as well as interrogating the value of conceiving the moral primarily as a separate, transcendent ideal realm, against which the world we live in can only fall short.

Katherine Miller’s paper uses ethnographic material on household labor, kinship and neighborliness from her research in Northern Pakistan to reflect on some key ideas that figure centrally in contemporary debates in anthropology, in particular the question of how to think about the force of moral rules and obligations and whether, in fact, morality is best thought of in these terms.

David Jenkins’ project is an interrogation of the various shifts in values, permissions and obligations that are consequent to the failure of institutions to conform to minimum standards of justice.

Kathrine Miller is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Reed College / Portland. Currently she is a Krzysztof Michalski Junior Visiting Fellow at the IWM.

David Jenkins is a PhD Graduate at the London School of Economics. Currently he is a Krzysztof Michalski Junior Visiting Fellow at the IWM.


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