February 23, 2004
Director of Media Relations
AMHERST, Mass.- Gideon Rosen, professor of philosophy at Princeton University, will give a talk titled "You Should Have Known Better: Culpable Ignorance in Law and Morality," on Thursday, March 11, at 4:30 p.m. in the Cole Assembly Room in Converse Hall. Rosen's talk, sponsored by the Department of Philosophy at Amherst College and the Forry and Micken Fund in Philosophy and Science as part of a series on "Ethics, Metaphysics, and Psychology of Belief," will be free and open to the public.
Rosen, who received his Ph.D. from Princeton, joined the faculty there in 1993, having previously taught at the University of Michigan. His areas of research include metaphysics and epistemology, although in recent years he has concentrated on moral philosophy.
"My work is concerned with the ethics of praise, blame, punishment and the whole range of responses we have to violations of moral norms," he told the Daily Princetonian in May 2003. "What do you do with people who transgress the norms? Common sense and law both have views about this, but they're not fully explicit. So sometimes we blame people and punish people for violations of these norms, but sometimes we don't. Sometimes we allow people to make excuses. Excuses are fact, considerations that give us reason not to punish or blame people who have done something wrong. So what are the excuses. and why are those the excuses?"
Along with John Burgess, Rosen is the author of A Subject With No Object (Oxford, 1997), which offers a dozen strategies for the interpretation of mathematics using nominalism. The doctrine of nominalism states that there are no abstract entities-in other words, that everything has both a location in time and space, as well as causes and effects in the physical world.