University of Virginia School of Law professor Frederick Schauer will deliver the HLA Hart Memorial Lecture at Oxford's University College on May 9 at 5 p.m.

The lecture, which will be delivered at Christ Church College's Blue Boar Theatre on the topic "The Perils of Panglossian Constitutionalism," is considered one of the most esteemed scholarly lectures in the world.

Drawing on research in cognitive psychology as well as insights from philosophy and legal theory, Schauer in the lecture will explore — and lament — the increasing tendency to avoid conflicts between rights and policy, or between rights and other rights, by interpreting the empirical world or defining rights in ways that make the conflicts evaporate.  

"Such a tendency fails the standards of intellectual honesty as well as produces rights that are less able to resist the pressures of changed empirical conditions," he said.

Previous Hart Lecturers have included U.S. Supreme Court Justices William Brennan and Stephen Breyer; legal theorists Tony Honore, Ronald Dworkin, Richard Epstein, Joseph Raz, Nicola Lacey and John Finnis; and moral/political philosophers John Rawls, Bernard Williams, Thomas Nagel, Joel Feinberg and Christine Korsgaard.

Frederick Schauer is a David and Mary Harrison Distinguished Professor of Law at UVA. From 1990 to 2008 he was Frank Stanton Professor of the First Amendment at Harvard University, and was previously professor of law at the University of Michigan.

A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, Schauer is the author of "The Law of Obscenity," "Free Speech: A Philosophical Enquiry," "Thinking Like a Lawyer: A New Introduction to Legal Reasoning" and, most recently, "The Force of Law," as well as numerous other books and articles. He has written widely on freedom of expression, constitutional law and theory, evidence, legal reasoning and the philosophy of law. His books have been translated into Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Chinese and Turkish, and his scholarship has been the subject of three books and several journals. (More)

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