Center for Law and Philosophy

Colloquium in Legal, Political, and Social Philosophy

The Colloquium in Legal, Political, and Social Philosophy was founded by Ronald Dworkin and Thomas Nagel in 1987. It is the original model for all of NYU Law's colloquia. The Colloquium is now convened by Liam Murphy, Samuel Scheffler, and Jeremy Waldron, two of whom will host in any given year.

Each week on Thursday a legal theorist or moral or political philosopher presents a paper to the group, which consists of students, faculty from the Law School and other departments of NYU, and faculty from other universities. The choice of subject is left to the paper’s author, within the general boundaries of the Colloquium’s subjects, and the discussions are therefore not connected by any structured theme for the term as a whole, though in past years certain central topics were canvassed in several weeks’ discussion. The Colloquium aims, not to pursue any particular subject, but to explore new work in considerable depth and so allow students to develop their own skill in theoretical analysis. Each week’s paper is posted at least a week in advance, and participants are expected to have read it.

The public sessions of the colloquium take place on Thursdays, from 4 to 7 pm, in the Lester Pollack Colloquium Room on the 9th Floor of Furman Hall, 245 Sullivan St (view campus map). Visitors’ papers will be posted in advance of each meeting on this page.

Students applying for credit:

Admission to the seminar is only by professor’s permission. Students wishing to take the colloquium for credit should send their applications (an e-mail letter with their background and interest in the colloquium) to Professor Murphy’s assistant, Lavinia Barbu,, between June 1 and July 31. Before you send your application, please check with Academic Services to see if you are eligible to apply.

Students enrolled in the Colloquium meet separately with Professor Murphy for an additional two-hour seminar on Wednesday. One hour is devoted to a review of the preceding Thursday’s Colloquium discussion, and one hour in preparation for the Colloquium of the following day. Students are asked to write short papers weekly, and each student is asked to make two or more oral presentations to the seminar during the term. Each student is asked to expand one of his/her weekly papers, or oral presentations, for a final term paper.


Fall 2016

Professors Jeremy Waldron and Liam Murphy

Schedule of Speakers

September 8
Liam Murphy, NYU

Private Law and Public Illusion
Lecture One: Artificial Morality
Lecture Two: The Persistence of an Illusion

September 15
Erin Kelly, Tufts University

Limits of Blame: Rethinking Punishment and Responsibility
Chapter 4: Criminal Justice without Blame
Chapter 5: Rethinking Punishment

September 22 
Daryl Levinson, NYU
Looking for Power in Public Law

September 29
Michael Moore, University of Illinois
Liberty and the Constitution

October 6
Kevin Davis, NYU
Who should regulate transnational corruption?

October 13 
Derrick Darby, University of Michigan
A Vindication of Voting Rights

October 20 
Frederick Neuhouser, Columbia University
Rousseau and the Nature of Social Inequality

October 27 
Jeremy Waldron, NYU
What Respect is Owed to Illusions about Immigration and Culture?

November 3 
Anna Stilz, Princeton University
Unilateral Appropriation and Territory

November 10
Please note change of location to Rm 208, Vanderbilt Hall, 40 Washington Square So.
Larissa Katz, University of Toronto
Equity: Public Pathways to Private Rights

November 17 
Victor Tadros, University of Warwick
The Personal and Relational Sources of Doing and Allowing

December 1
Patricia Williams, Columbia University
Toward A Phenomenology of Skittles

December 8
Marcia Baron, Indiana University
The Distinction Between Subjective and Objective Standards in the Criminal Law
Eight ways the objective and the subjective are distinguished


Past papers

Fall 2015
Fall 2014
Fall 2011
Fall 2010
Fall 2009
Fall 2007
Fall 2006
Fall 2005
Fall 2003
Fall 2002
Fall 2001