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Crom Visiting Philosopher Series

2018-19 Crom Visiting Philosopher

David Boonin

We are excited to announce that the 2018-19 Crom Visiting Philosopher will be David Boonin, whose visit will take place September 26-28, 2018. His public keynote address, scheduled for Wednesday, September 26th at 7:30 PM in the Moore Study Lounge in Pearsons Hall, is entitled "Sexual Consent and Non-Physical Coercion." The abstract for the talk is as follows:

Suppose Pat threatens to inflict significant physical harm on Kris unless Kris agrees to have sex with Pat, Kris says yes to having sex with Pat because of this threat, and Pat then has sex with Kris. In this case, it seems clear that Pat is guilty of having sex with Kris without Kris’s valid consent. But suppose instead that Pat threatens to inflict significant emotional harm on Kris unless Kris agrees to have sex with Pat. Suppose, for example, Pat says, “If you don’t have sex with me, I will break up with you,” or “I will kill myself,” or “I will relentlessly continue pestering you for sex,” or “I will reveal an extremely embarrassing secret of yours,” or “I will post nude photos of you on the internet.” Cases of this sort are sometimes referred to as cases of non-physical coercion. If Kris really doesn’t want to have sex with Pat but gives in and says yes to having sex with Pat in response to threats of this sort, has Kris given valid consent to having sex? The answer in such cases seems less clear. In this talk, Professor Boonin will present and defend a general account of coercion and use that account to help answer the questions raised by cases of non-physical coercion.

David Boonin (PhD, Pittsburgh, 1992) is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Center for Values and Social Policy at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Previously, he taught at Georgetown University (1992-94) and Tulane University (1994-98). He also held a visiting position for a semester as an Erskine Fellow at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2006.

Professor Boonin’s interests lie in the areas of applied ethics, ethical theory, and the history of ethics. He is the author of Thomas Hobbes and the Science of Moral Virtue (Cambridge University Press 1994), A Defense of Abortion (Cambridge University Press, 2003), The Problem of Punishment (Cambridge University Press, 2008) Should Race Matter? (Cambridge University Press, 2011), and The Non-Identity Problem and the Ethics of Future People (Oxford University Press, 2014) as well as a number of articles on such subjects as animal rights, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, and our moral obligations to future generations. He is also the co-author and co-editor, with Graham Oddie, of the popular textbook What’s Wrong?: Applied Ethicists and Their Critics (Oxford University Press, 2004).

Professor Boonin currently has two books forthcoming with Oxford University Press: Dead Wrong: The Ethics of Posthumous Harm and Beyond Roe: Why Abortion Should be Legal Even if the Fetus is a Person.

Previous Crom (formerly Selzer) Visiting Philosophers:

  • 2017-18: Andy Clark - "Natural Born Cyborgs? Reflections on Bodies, Minds, and Human Enhancement"
  • 2016-17: Linda Martin Alcoff - "American Exceptionalism as White Exceptionalism"
  • 2015-16: Robert Pippin - "Moral Suspension in Hitchcock's Vertigo"
  • 2014-15: Margaret Battin - "The Least Worst Death"
  • 2013-14: Tyler Burge - "Perception: Where Mind Begins"
  • 2012-13: Richard Bernstein - "The Pragmatic Turn"
  • 2011-12: Jeff McMahan - "On the Moral Equality of Combatants"
  • 2010-11: Daniel Dennett - "The Mind as an Upside-down Brain"
  • 2009-10: Martha Nussbaum - "Creating Capabilities: The Human Development Approach"