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Tanner Lectures

The Center for Ethics in Society collaborates with the Office of the President to host the Tanner Lectures on Human Values at Stanford.

The Tanner Lectures were established by the late American scholar, industrialist and philanthropist Obert Clark Tanner. In creating the lectureships, Tanner said, "I hope these lectures will contribute to the intellectual and moral life of mankind. I see them simply as a search for a better understanding of human behavior and human values. This understanding may be pursued for its own intrinsic worth, but it may also eventually have practical consequences for the quality of personal and social life."

Stanford is proud to be one of the nine distinguished universities to host the Tanner Lectures. The Tanner lectureships, which are comprised of annual lectures and seminars, are held at Cambridge, Harvard, Michigan, Oxford, Princeton, Yale, Stanford, the University of California and the University of Utah.

The purpose of the Tanner Lectures is to advance and reflect upon scholarly and scientific learning relating to human values. This intention embraces the entire range of values pertinent to the human condition, interest, behavior and aspiration. The lectures are published in an annual volume.

Appointment as a Tanner lecturer is in recognition for uncommon achievement and outstanding abilities in the field of human values. The lecturers themselves come from the fields of philosophy, religion, the humanities, sciences, creative arts and learned professions — or from leadership in public or private affairs. The lectureships are international and intercultural and transcend ethnic, national, religious and ideological distinctions. Past Tanner lecturers at Stanford include: Andrew Bacevich, Danielle Allen, Jared Diamond, Dorothy Allison, Paul Krugman, Mary Robinson, Harry Frankfurt, Avishai Margalit, David Brion Davis and Glenn Loury.


All Past Lectures