A philosophy of ethics implies an effort to discern the good in a specific situation and to choose it as a matter of right conduct. Easier said than done! How do we form our own ethical standards? What are the roles played in this process by religion, family, ethnicity, society, and law? How does one deal with the cacophony of opposed positions on so many ethical points? Is the search for ethics in our contemporary society of necessity a highly personalized struggle: energized by tradition, perhaps, but made real, made functional, by experience, hard knocks, and choice? Provost Professor Gary Watson will dialogue with students on this complex, but critically important aspect of human existence.
Gary Watson, Provost Professor of Philosophy and Law, holds a joint appointment in USC’s Gould School of Law and Dornsife College. He has taught courses on political philosophy, philosophical issues in race and gender, and Nietzsche. Professor Watson is considered one of the country’s leading philosophers, whose writings have shaped our understanding of the nature of human agency, moral and legal responsibility, freedom of action, and freedom of the will. His interest in concepts of legal responsibility, target the relations between moral and criminal responsibility and the criminal law’s conceptions of moral agency. Professor Watson earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton University.