Hans Joas - "Slavery and Torture in a Global Perspective: Human Rights and the Western Tradition"

Hans Joas gives the final lecture in the Murphy Institute series on Human Dignity.

Date & Time:

Thursday, November 6, 2014
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM



Free and open to the public. Continuing Legal Education credits will be available.


O'Shaughnessy Educational Center Auditorium

University of St. Thomas, St. Paul Campus

How is the development of the concept of human rights related to the legal proscription of slavery and torture in the Western world? What were the religious, philosophical, and political foundations of the abolitionist and anti-torture movements, and how secure do these foundations remain today?  Hans Joas, professor of sociology and a member of the committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago, explores these questions and more in the final lecture in the Murphy Institute's Human Dignity series.

Hans Joas, Ernst Troeltsch Professor for the Sociology of Religion at the Theological Faculty of Humboldt University, Berlin, and Professor of Sociology and Social Thought at the University of Chicago and Member of the Committee on Social Thought,  has published several influential books in the tradition of American pragmatism, including Pragmatism and Social Theory (Chicago 1993), The Creativity of Action (Chicago 1996), and The Genesis of Values (Chicago 2000). More recently, Joas has explored the intersection of religious commitment and sociological analysis. His 2009 book poses the question, Do We Need Religion? On the Experience of Self-Transcendence (Paradigm), and his work, The Sacredness of the Person (Georgetown 2012), offers a new genealogy of and argument for human rights. His most recent book, Faith as an Option. Possible Futures for Christianity, is now available by Stanford University Press.   

The Murphy Institute’s Human Dignity lecture series brings together prominent thinkers in fields such as philosophy, theology, and law to rigorously explore just what it means for humans to possess dignity. Lecturers in the series to date have been Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University;  Gilbert Meilaender, Richard and Phyllis Duesenberg Chair in Theological Ethics at Valparaiso University;  David Luban, University Professor and Professor of Law and Philosophy at Georgetown University Law Center and the Acting Director of the Center on National Security and the Law; and Paolo Carozza, Associate Professor, University of Notre Dame, Director of Notre Dame’s  J.S.D. program in International Human Rights Law as well as the Program on Law and Human Development.

All programs offered by the University of St. Thomas shall be readily accessible to individuals with disabilities. For details, call (651) 962-6315.