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. 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 August 1. 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 2014

Professors Liam Murphy and Samuel Scheffler

Schedule of Speakers

August 28
Jeremy Waldron, NYU
Accountability: Fundamental to Democracy

September 4
Please note change of speaker
Moshe Halbertal, NYU
"As a"

September 11 
Joseph Raz, Columbia University
Why the State

September 18 
Kristi Olson, Bowdoin College
Fair Pay

October 2
Anthony Appiah, NYU
A Decent Respect: Honour in the Life of People and of Nations

October 9 
Mattias Kumm, NYU and Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin
Constitutionalism and the Cosmopolitan State

October 16 
Seana Shiffrin, UCLA
The Moral Neglect of Negligence

October 23 
Scott Hershovitz , University of Michigan
The End of Jurisprudence

October 30 
Barbara Herman, UCLA
Thinking About Imperfect Duties

November 6 
Lea Ypi, London School of Economics
Structural Injustice and the Irrelevance of Attachment

November 13 
Christine Korsgaard, Harvard University
The Claims of Animals and the Needs of Strangers: Two Cases of Imperfect Right

November 20  
T. M.  Scanlon, Harvard University

Note: New version with Afterthought added
Equality of Opportunity: A Normative Anatomy

Optional background reading:  When does Equality Matter?

December 4
Julia Nefsky, University of Toronto
How You Can Help, Without Making a Difference


Past papers

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