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Moral and Natural Orders : A Philosophical Anthropology

12 nov 2010 10:00 - 18 nov 2010 13:00
Salle de séminaire de la Maison Suger
18-20 rue Suger
75006 Paris

Dans le cadre du Programme de recherche collectif "Anthropologie d'hier à aujourd'hui" (coordination scientifique : Claude Imbert, Professeur émérite, ENS), Lorraine Daston (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin), invitée de l'IEA Paris durant le mois de novembre 2010, donnera deux conférences :

1. The Passions of Natural and Moral Orders
Débat introduit par Giuseppe Longo – CNRS et ENS
et par Kapil Raj ( Centre Koyré, EHESS)
avec la participation de Charles Malamoud ( EPHE)

2. Monsters and the Order of Natural Kinds
Nature's Revenge and the Order of Local Natures
Débat introduit par Denis Vidal et Claude Imbert

The question I would like to address can be simply posed: Why do human beings, in many different cultures and epochs, pervasively and persistently, look to nature as a source of norms for human conduct? In ancient India and in ancient Greece, in medieval France and Enlightenment America, in the latest controversy over homosexual marriage or genetically modified organisms, people have linked the natural and moral orders – and disorders. Yet for centuries philosophers have insisted that there are no values in nature. Nature simply is; it takes a human act of imposition or projection to transmute that "is" into an "ought." Why, then, does the moral resonance of nature persist so stubbornly? Critical thinkers have spilt oceans of ink in attempts to pry "is" and "ought" apart. Despite their best efforts, however, the temptation to extract norms from nature seems to be enduring and irresistible: Why?
My line of inquiry will be to excavate the sources of the intuitions that propel the search for values in nature. In different times and places, these intuitions have expressed themselves in the most luxuriantly diverse forms – as diverse as the efflorescence of nature and culture themselves. But the core intuitions underlying all this diversity of norms grounded in natures have something in common. At their heart is the perception of order – as fact and as ideal.

Moral and Natural Orders: A Philosophical Anthropology
01 November 2011 - 30 November 2011
30 November 2011
18 Nov 2010 13:00
Lorraine Daston
Talks and lectures
Other or several periods