Dirty Hands and Moral Absolutes
Tuesday 13 May
18:30 – 20:00
The Alumni Theatre
Since at least the time of Machiavelli, it has been widely accepted that politicians must be willing to do what is morally wrong. Politics is not the place for absolutists, or so it is claimed. However, in recent years, and especially since 9/11, a number of philosophers and legal theorists have defended absolutism in politics and have argued that there are things which should not be done whatever the consequences. In this lecture I discuss the absolutist case and ask whether it is possible, or desirable, for politicians to keep their hands clean.
Susan Mendus is Morrell Professor Emerita in Political Philosophy at the University of York. She has been associated with the Morrell Centre for Toleration at York for 30 years, and has published widely on problems of toleration, and on modern and historical political philosophy more generally.
Her publications include: