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 Waldron’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 Waldron 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 2015

Professors Jeremy Waldron and Samuel Scheffler

Schedule of Speakers

September 3
Stephen Holmes, NYU

From Mimicry to Perfidy

September 10
John Gardner, Oxford

The Many Faces of the Reasonable Person

September 17 
Please note change of location for this session in classroom 216 FH

Kenji Yoshino, NYU

How to Do Things With Facts

September 24
Samuel Scheffler, NYU

Membership and Political Obligation

October 1
Jane Mansbridge, Harvard

Contingent Ideals

October 8 
Robert Post, Yale

Democracy, Expertise and Academic Freedom

October 15 
Derek Parfit, NYU and Oxford

Act Consequentialism, Reasons, and Morality

October 22 
Miranda Fricker, Sheffield University

Explaining Forgiveness

October 29 
Sharon Street, NYU

Constructivism in Ethics and the Problem of Attachment and Loss

November 5 
John Ferejohn, NYU

Are There Two Cities or One

November 12 
Danielle Allen, Institute for Advanced Study/Harvard

Paper removed  at the request of the author.

November 19
Katherine Strandburg, NYU

Cost-Benefit Analysis, Precautionary Principles, and Counterterrorism Surveillance

December 3
Martin Stone, Cardozo

Legal positivism as an idea about what morality might be


Past papers

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