Submitted by Patricia M. Allen

March 20, 2008
Contact: Caroline Jenkins Hanna
Director of Media Relations


AMHERST, Mass.—David Owens, professor of philosophy at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom, will give a talk titled “Freedom and Practical Judgment” at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 27, in Pruyne Lecture Hall at Amherst College. Organized by the Amherst College Department of Philosophy and part of the Forry and Micken Fund in Philosophy and Science Lecture Series on the Philosophy and Science of Freedom, Owens’s talk is free and open to the public.

Owens joined the University of Sheffield’s philosophy department in 1993, after holding several appointments at the University of Cambridge. During the 1996-97 academic year, he was a Fulbright Scholar at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. There he completed the first draft of a book which has since been published under the title Reason Without Freedom (Routledge 2000). This work focuses on the connection between the justification of belief and notions of freedom, responsibility, agency and control. Since then, he has published several articles expanding on the themes of the book, including “Scepticisms: Descartes and Hume,” “Epistemic Akrasia” and “Testimony and Assertion.”

In recent years, Owens’s interests have turned towards ethics. He has published a number of papers on promissory obligation, including “The Right and the Reasonable,” “A Simple Theory of Promising” and (forthcoming) “Duress, Deception and the Validity of a Promise.” He has also written on lying and on the nature of obligation. He was recently awarded a two-year Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship.

The Forry and Micken Fund in Philosophy and Science was established in 1983 by Carol Micken and John I. Forry ’66 to promote the study of philosophical issues arising out of new developments in the sciences, including mathematics, and issues in the philosophy and history of science.