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Eric Beerbohm: Gaslighting Citizens

Date and Time: 
Thursday, May 20, 2021. 12:00 PM
Meeting Location: 
Zoom
Workshop: 
History of Political Thought 2020
Meeting Description: 

Eric Beerbohm is professor of government and faculty affiliate in the Department of Philosophy at Harvard University. He serves as Chair of the Committee on Degrees in Social Studies and faculty dean at Quincy House. His philosophical and teaching interests include democratic theory, political ethics, theories of social equality, and the philosophy of social science. His latest book project, Gaslighting Citizens, examines how politicians can target our evidence about our evidence, and concludes that this form of manipulation raises distinctively democratic worries. His articles include "Gaslighting Citizens," (forthcoming, American Journal of Political Science), "The Democratic Limits of Political Experiments" (Politics, Philosophy, Economics), "The Ethics of Electioneering," (Journal of Political Philosophy) "The Free Provider Problem," "The Problem of Clean Hands: Negotiated Compromise in Lawmaking," (Nomos LIX: Compromise), "Must Rawlsians be Hamiltonians?" (American Journal of Jurisprudence), "The Common Good: A Buck-Passing Account" (Journal of Political Philosophy), and "Is Democratic Leadership Possible?" (American Political Science Review). His book manuscript, If Elected: The Ethics of Lawmaking and Campaigning, develops a theory for lawmakers and candidates operating within a malfunctioning legislative system. What kinds of commitments, promises, and pledges can candidates make? In the “victory lab" of electoral poltics, what are the ethics of the political stump? What are the moral limits of hardball in legislative politics? His first book, In Our Name: The Ethics of Democracy, considers the responsibilities of citizens for the injustices of their state (Introductory Chapter). A Marshall Scholar, Truman Scholar, and Mellon Fellow in the Humanities and Social Sciences, he received his PhD from Princeton University in 2008, B.Phil. in philosophy from Oxford University, and BA in Political Science and the Program in Ethics in Society from Stanford University. He is a recipient of the Roslyn Abramson Award, Harvard's highest award for teaching given annually to two faculty in Arts and Sciences for "excellence and sensitivity in undergraduate teaching." He was Director of Graduate Fellowships from 2010-2017 at Harvard's Safra Center for Ethics, and founding director of the Ethics Center's Undergraduate Fellowship Program.

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