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University Center for Human Values


Charles R. Beitz

Executive Committee

Charles R. Beitz, Politics

Sandra L. Bermann, Comparative Literature

John M. Cooper, Philosophy

Marc Fleurbaey, also Woodrow Wilson School

Johann D. Frick, also Philosophy

Eric S. Gregory, Religion

Elizabeth Harman, also Philosophy

Melissa S. Lane, Politics

Stephen J. Macedo, also Politics

Jan-Werner Müller, Politics

Alan W. Patten, Politics

Philip N. Pettit, also Politics

Kim Lane Scheppele, also Woodrow Wilson School, Sociology

Peter A. Singer

Michael A. Smith, Philosophy

Anna B. Stilz, Politics


Christopher L. Eisgruber, also Woodrow Wilson School

Marc Fleurbaey, also Woodrow Wilson School

Johann D. Frick, also Philosophy

Elizabeth Harman, also Philosophy

Stephen J. Macedo, also Politics

Philip N. Pettit, also Politics

Kim Lane Scheppele, also Woodrow Wilson School, Sociology

Peter A. Singer

Visiting Professor

Peter P. Brooks, also Comparative Literature

Geoffrey Sayre-McCord, Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Professor for Distinguished Teaching

Lecturer with Rank of Professor

Peter P. Brooks, also Comparative Literature

Faculty Associate

Elizabeth M. Armstrong, Woodrow Wilson School, Sociology

Leora F. Batnitzky, Religion

João G. Biehl, Anthropology

Angus S. Deaton, Woodrow Wilson School, Economics

Paul J. DiMaggio, Sociology, Woodrow Wilson School

Mitchell Duneier, Sociology

Susan T. Fiske, Psychology, Woodrow Wilson School

Paul Frymer, Politics

Daniel Garber, Philosophy

Sophie G. Gee, English

Robert P. George, Politics

Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Religion, African American Studies

Gilbert H. Harman, Philosophy

Hendrik A. Hartog, History

Brooke A. Holmes, Classics

Mark Johnston, Philosophy

Thomas P. Kelly, Philosophy

Robert O. Keohane, Woodrow Wilson School

Joshua I. Kotin, English

Ilyana Kuziemko, Economics

David R. Leheny, East Asian Studies

Thomas C. Leonard, Economics, Council of the Humanities

Sarah-Jane Leslie, Philosophy

Douglas S. Massey, Woodrow Wilson School, Sociology

Sarah E. McGrath, Philosophy

Alexander Nehamas, Philosophy, Comparative Literature

Guy J. Nordenson, Architecture

Jeff E. Nunokawa, English

Serguei Oushakine, Anthropology, Slavic Languages and Literatures

Deborah A. Prentice, Psychology, Woodrow Wilson School

Gideon A. Rosen, Philosophy

Harold T. Shapiro, Woodrow Wilson School, Economics

Paul E. Starr, Woodrow Wilson School, Sociology

Jeffrey L. Stout, Religion

Robert J. Wuthnow, Sociology

Sits with Committee

Victoria McGeer, University Center for Human Values

The University Center for Human Values fosters interdisciplinary study of ethical and evaluative issues in private and public life. One of its activities within the undergraduate curriculum is to cosponsor courses with departments and programs. The center encourages students to supplement their disciplinary concentrations with a set of these courses, which address fundamental questions about the meaning and value of human life and the ethical relationships of individuals and societies. The University Center for Human Values is also the home for the undergraduate certificate Program in Values and Public Life, which focuses on modes of inquiry into important ethical issues in public life.

The University Center for Human Values assists faculty members in developing new courses and revising existing courses, supplements the offerings of the freshman seminars program, and sponsors occasional lectures and colloquiums on human values to which students, along with faculty and other members of the Princeton University community, are invited. The center awards senior thesis prizes to seniors who have written outstanding theses in the area of ethics and human values. Departments are invited to nominate their best thesis in this area.

The center was created in 1990 with an endowment by Laurance S. Rockefeller '32.

The undergraduate courses listed below, some of which are sponsored or cosponsored by the center, examine issues involving human values from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.

Freshman Seminars in the Residential Colleges. Each year the University Center for Human Values sponsors several freshman seminars in the residential colleges. For a list of the current seminars, please check the freshman seminars website.

For information about courses relevant to the study of human values, visit the center's website.


CHV 202 Introduction to Moral Philosophy (see PHI 202)

CHV 212 The Psychology of Moral Behavior (see PSY 212)

CHV 214 The Other Side of Rome (see CLA 214)

CHV 261 Christian Ethics and Modern Society (see REL 261)

CHV 301 Ethics and Public Policy (see WWS 370)

CHV 306 Democratic Theory (see POL 306)

CHV 307 The Just Society (see POL 307)

CHV 309 Political Philosophy (see PHI 309)

CHV 310 Practical Ethics (also PHI 385)   Fall EM

Should we share our wealth with people who will otherwise die from poverty-related causes? Is abortion wrong? Does a human embryo have a greater claim to protection than a chimpanzee? Are we justified in eating animals? Can the traditional doctrine of the sanctity of human life be defended? When should a nation go to war? And why should we act ethically, anyway? Students will be encouraged to question their own ethical beliefs on these and other issues, and in the process to explore the extent to which reason and argument can play a role in everyday ethical decision-making. P. Singer

CHV 311 Systematic Ethics (see PHI 307)

CHV 313 Global Justice (see POL 313)

CHV 315 Philosophy of Mind (see PHI 315)

CHV 319 Normative Ethics (see PHI 319)

CHV 330 Greek Law and Legal Practice (see CLA 330)

CHV 333 Bioethics: Clinical and Population-Level (also PHI 344)   Spring EM

This seminar aims to introduce students to a range of philosophical debates in clinical and population-level bioethics. Among the topics in clinical bioethics that we may discuss are physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia; abortion; and the ethics of genetic enhancement. In population-level bioethics, questions we may discuss include the definition and measurement of health; cost-effectiveness and disability-discrimination; the significance of health inequalities; personal and social responsibility for health; treatment vs prevention in the fight against HIV/AIDS; and standards of care in clinical trials in the US and abroad. J. Frick

CHV 335 Greek Ethical Theory (see PHI 335)

CHV 345 Ethics and Economics (see ECO 385)

CHV 364 Sociology of Medicine (see SOC 364)

CHV 380 Explaining Values (see PHI 380)

CHV 390 The Ethics of Love and Sex (also PHI 390/GSS 391)   Fall EM

An examination of the moral principles governing love and sex. Questions to be addressed include: Do we ever owe it to someone to love him or her? Do we owe different things to those we love? Do we owe it to a loved one to believe better of him than our evidence warrants? What is consent, and why is it morally significant? Is sex between consenting adults always permissible, and if not, why not? Are there good reasons for prohibiting prostitution and pornography? Everyone has opinions about these matters. The aim of the course is to subject those opinions to scrutiny. E. Harman

CHV 419 Seminar in Normative Ethics (see PHI 419)

CHV 470 Comparative Constitutional Law (see WWS 322)

CHV 472 Ethical Dilemmas in a Global Society (also POL 472)   Spring EM

This seminar introduces urgent moral questions in international affairs, with a particular focus on global poverty and inequality. Addressed questions will include: Why do inequalities between countries matter? What do affluent countries owe to poor countries? When should foreign aid begin and stop? Should there be equality of opportunity at the global level? In humanitarian emergencies, are we permitted to help our compatriots first? Do states have a right to exclude needy immigrants? Should developing countries be relieved of the burdens of mitigating climate change? Can NGOs legitimately represent the interests of the global poor? C. Cordelli