“She took my toy!” wails the toddler. A concern for justice seems deeply rooted within us. And yet struggles over the meaning of justice persist, often with very high stakes. We constantly disagree about what is just or find ourselves in situations where the forces of injustice seem insurmountable. This seminar will explore key moments in the ongoing human debate about what justice is and what it demands from us: justice in the biblical narrative of Abraham, Socrates’s attempt to clarify the definition of justice in Plato’s Republic, and Abraham Lincoln’s reconceptualization of the Declaration of Independence as part of his campaign against the injustice of American slavery. By studying these four moments, students will reflect on the larger issues involved in understanding justice as well as the challenges that we face in seeking to build a just society.
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Meet the Instructors
Seminars are taught by Tikvah faculty and experts in the subject matter. Please note that course faculty are subject to change depending on availability.
Aaron Tugendhaft teaches humanities at Bard College Berlin. He received his PhD from the Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University and also holds degrees in Art History and Social Thought from the University of Chicago. From 2014-18, he was a Harper Fellow at the University of Chicago, where he taught the flagship humanities core courses “Human Being & Citizen” and “Greek Thought and Literature.” He has also held postdoctoral fellowships at the Ludwig Maximilian University (Munich), the W. F. Albright Institute for Archaeological Research (Jerusalem), and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (Berlin). He is the editor, with Josh Ellenbogen, of Idol Anxiety (Stanford 2011) and the author of Baal and the Politics of Poetry (Routledge 2018). His next book, The Idols of ISIS: From Assyria to the Internet, is forthcoming from The University of Chicago Press.
Charles T. Rubin
Charles T. Rubin teaches political philosophy at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh. Recent publications focus on converging technologies, and those who believe they should be used to redesign humanity, a topic he discusses in Eclipse of Man: Human Extinction and the Meaning of Progress (Encounter/New Atlantis Books, 2014). Dr. Rubin is also author of The Green Crusade: Rethinking the Roots of Environmentalism (1994) and editor of Conservation Reconsidered: Nature, Virtue and American Liberal Democracy (2000). In 2017-18 he was a visiting Fellow in the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, Princeton University, working on a book exploring what classic stories about human-created monsters tell us about the coming age of biotechnology. Other work in the field of literature and politics includes studies of Henry Adams, Flannery O’Connor (with his wife Leslie G. Rubin), H.G. Wells, and contemporary author Neal Stephenson.