University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences to Present Full Professor Lecture on the Foundation of Human Rights

The College of Arts and Sciences will hold the third presentation in its 2013-2014 Full Professor Lecture Series on Wednesday, Nov. 20 at 4 p.m. in Memorial Lounge, Waterman Building. Professor of Political Science Patrick Neal will address the topic "Human Rights: Religious and/or Secular Foundations?" The event is free and open to the public.

When the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was drafted, the philosopher Jacques Maritain famously said, “Yes, we agree about the rights, but on condition that no one asks us why.” “Why” has been a staple of discussion in political theory ever since. Neal’s lecture will focus upon the work of two prominent contemporary thinkers, Michael Perry and Nicholas Wolterstorff, who argue that a successful grounding of the idea of human rights must be a religious one.

Neal began teaching courses in political theory at UVM in 1988. He is the author of Liberalism and Its Discontents and numerous articles on subjects including Hobbes, Rawls, theories of justice and the relation between religion and politics. Neal has won the Dean's Lecture Award for superior teaching and scholarship and is currently director of undergraduate studies and the Honors College program for the Department of Political Science.

A recording of the lecture will be available at the CAS online media blog and eventually at the College of Arts and Sciences website.