Astor Visiting Fellow Lecture 2022


What kinds of competitive success are valuable, and why are they valuable? This topic lies at the intersection of three concepts: excellence, contest, and argument. Who deserves what, on the basis of what kinds of competitive measures (including, for example, formal competitions in sports, in litigation, in elections, and in academic tests) is one of the most important and contentious issues in contemporary law, politics, and culture. From times ancient through current, philosophers from many cultures have offered sustained inquiries into concepts of human excellence and the kinds of contests that ought to be used to measure it. This lecture will explore the contributions that a theory of argument (the Logocratic Method, a philosophical explanation of the nature of arguments and some of their principal uses) can make to explaining these questions regarding the value of competitive rank in different kinds of contests.

Scott Brewer is a Professor of Law at Harvard Law School where he teaches contracts and evidence as well as a variety of courses in jurisprudence and philosophy of law. His main interests concern the nature, uses, and role of arguments in law, politics, and everyday life, as well as what it is and why it might be worthwhile to lead an excellent human life.

The lecture will take place in person and will also be live online.

Registration deadline: 12 midday (GMT) on Wednesday 1 June. Register here (for both in-person and online attendance).