Leif Wenar | The Value of Unity

This is an Archive of a Past Event

Join us for a lecture by Stanford's Leif Wenar as part of the "1891 Lectures in the Humanities" series.


Solidarity, community, cooperation, and love—or malice, antagonism, competition, and cruelty?

The goodness and badness of human relations appear to track unity and disunity. Ideals of unity are common to many philosophical and religious traditions, suggesting that unity is basic in human thought. The challenge is to capture our thinking exactly; this talk gives an accessible overview of unity theory. Unity theory confirms a value pluralism that shows why a great many lifestyles and cultural practices are good in themselves, while bullying and racist domination must be bad. By the end, Professor Wenar will suggest that goodness is unity—with the world, with each other, and with ourselves.

Leif Wenar (AB Stanford, PhD Harvard), who joined the Stanford faculty in September 2020, is Olive H. Palmer Professor of Humanities, Professor of Philosophy, and (by courtesy) Professor of Political Science and Professor of Law. He is also a Senior Fellow at Stanford's Woods Institute for the Environment. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, Foreign Affairs, CNN, and the playbill for the White Light Festival at Lincoln Center. He is the author of Blood Oil: Tyrants, Violence, and the Rules that Run the World and the author-meets-critics volume Beyond Blood Oil: Philosophy, Policy, and the Future.

Related Reading

Blood Oil: Tyrants, Violence, and the Rules that Run the World >>
Beyond Blood Oil: Philosophy, Policy, and the Future >>
New York Times Opinionator: Is Humanity Getting Better? >>


About the Series

In 1891, thirty-five scholars gathered to form a community in a new university. In that spirit, we come together to welcome new senior faculty members of the Stanford community to present their work. Following the lecture, there will be Q&A and a reception with Professor Wenar.