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New Mexico State University

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NMSU hosts lectures on global citizenship, U.S. torture policy

NMSU's philosophy department will host two professors from Georgetown University: David Luban from Georgetown University Law Center will discuss U.S torture policy while Judith Lichtenberg, from the Georgetown University philosophy department will address the duties of global citizenship.


Luban's lecture, "Unthinking the Ticking Bomb," is scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday, March 12, in Breland Hall 333. Lichtenberg's lecture, "The Demandingness of Negative Duties," will be at 11:30 a.m. Friday, March 13, in Breland Hall 333.

"The philosophy department is honored to have such accomplished and relevant scholars at New Mexico State University," said Lori Keleher, assistant professor of philosophy. "Both scholars use their philosophical training to engage practical issues like our government's position on torture and the ethical dimensions of the seemingly ordinary decisions that we make on a daily basis."

Luban has published numerous books and articles, most recently "Legal Ethics and Human Dignity." He writes about ethics, legal theory, international criminal law, just war theory and most recently, U.S. torture policy.

In "Unthinking the Ticking Bomb, " Luban examines the U.S. preoccupation with what he calls the "ticking bomb scenario" toward captives and explains why torture is worse than other forms of political violence.

"Luban's work on torture is especially relevant in the weeks after President Obama declared that waterboarding, a practice supported by President Bush's administration, is torture and will not be condoned or used by the United States," Keleher said.

Lichtenberg's writing and teaching are in the fields of ethics and political philosophy. She says when it comes to the environment people generally agree to "do no harm" as long as it doesn't inconvenience them.

In "The Demandingness of Negative Duties," Lichtenberg challenges the notion that "minding your own business is all a person is morally required to do." She argues there are many kinds of harm caused by actions taken in our everyday lives that have far-reaching effects such as buying products whose manufacture exploits workers.

"Lichtenberg's talk is an excellent example of how philosophy can be relevant to the decisions each of us make every day, for example where we shop, what we eat, how much we drive, etc," Keleher said. "Her lecture will be of interest to anyone who grapples with finding the balance between being an ethical consumer and global citizen and having a life beyond researching where our clothing was made and our food was grown."

The event is free and open to the public. A parking permit for off-campus visitors may be obtained at https://corridor.nmsu.edu/auxadmin/ParkingForms/epermit.aspx.

For more information, call 575-646-4616.