Arguing Excellence: A Logocratic Approach to Measures of Virtue (Astor Fellow Lecture)

Event date
7 June 2022
Event time
14:30 - 16:00
Oxford week
TT 7
General Public
Gulbenkian Lecture Theatre (and online)
Scott Brewer


What kinds of competitive success are valuable, and why are they valuable?  As I shall explore it in my lecture, this topic lies at the intersection of three concepts: excellencecontest, and argument.  Who deserves what, on the basis of what kinds of competitive measures (including, for example, formal competitions in sports, in litigation, in elections, and in academic tests) is one of the most important and contentious issues in contemporary law, politics, and culture.  From times ancient through current, philosophers from many cultures have offered sustained inquiries into concepts of human excellence and the kinds of contests that ought to be used to measure it.  My lecture will explore the contributions that a theory of argument (the Logocratic Method, a philosophical explanation of the nature of arguments and some of their principal uses) can make to explaining these questions regarding the value of competitive rank in different kinds of contests.

Image of Scott Brewer of Harvard Law

Scott Brewer is a Professor of Law at Harvard Law School where he teaches contracts and evidence as well as a variety of courses in jurisprudence and philosophy of law.  His main interests concern the nature, uses, and role of arguments in law, politics, and everyday life, as well as what it is and why it might be worthwhile to lead an excellent human life. Professor Brewer holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Harvard University (1997) and a J.D. from Yale Law School (1988), where he was the Editor-in-Chief for Volume 97 of the Yale Law Journal.  He was a law clerk for Judge Harry T. Edwards of the United States D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals (1989-90) and then for Justice Thurgood Marshall on the United States Supreme Court (October Term 1990).  In 2011 he co-founded and continues to co-administer (with Professor Giovanni Sartor of the European University Institute) the annual Summer School on Law and Logic. He is also the founder and administrator of the Logocratic Academy, a forum that promotes the development, theoretical study and practical application of the Logocratic Method.



Registration will close at 1pm on 1st June. Joining instructions will be sent out in advance of the event.

Found within