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University Honours World-leading Legal Philosopher

12 August 2005

Otago University Honours World-leading Legal Philosopher -Considered to be one of Otago’s ‘most brilliant graduates’-

Professor Jeremy Waldron, an internationally renowned legal and political philosopher based at Columbia University in the United States, will receive an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Otago at next weekend’s graduation ceremony.

University of Otago Vice-Chancellor Professor David Skegg says he is delighted the University has the opportunity to honour the scholarly achievements of Professor Waldron, who is an Otago Philosophy and Law graduate and a former assistant lecturer at Otago.

“The University is very proud to have Professor Waldron as one of our alumni. He is one of Otago’s most brilliant graduates, and has held appointments at some of the world’s leading universities including Oxford, Edinburgh, Berkeley and Princeton,” says Professor Skegg. Invercargill-born Professor Waldron is currently Director of the Center for Law and Philosophy at Columbia University, New York. Recently, Columbia University President Lee Bollinger described him as “one of the world's leading legal philosophers and an exceptionally dedicated teacher”.

In December Professor Waldron was appointed to Columbia’s highest-ranking faculty position of ‘University Professor’. This rank is only bestowed on a select few at Columbia in recognition of exceptional scholarly merit of the highest distinction.
Professor Waldron works in the field where jurisprudence, the theory of politics and moral and political philosophy overlap. He is interested in liberal theories of rights, and difficult issues about law, constitutionalism, and judicial review raised by the existence of widespread disagreement about what rights we have and what they require.

He is also interested in issues of economic and social justice, and the basis of political ideals in a multicultural society.

Recently he has been a vocal critic of suggestions that the US government should consider relaxing its prohibition on the use of torture or methods bordering on torture in the interrogation of terrorist suspects.

His books include The Right to Private Property (1988); Liberal Rights (1993); The Dignity of Legislation (1999); Law and Disagreement (1999); and God, Locke and Equality (2002). He is the author of more than a hundred published articles and essays in legal and political philosophy.

After gaining a BA in Philosophy from Otago in 1974, Professor Waldron worked as an assistant lecturer in the Philosophy Department, and received his LLB (Hons) in 1978. He later went on to study at Oxford for his doctorate in jurisprudence.

He will be awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws honoris causa at the University’s August 20 graduation ceremony.

During his visit to Dunedin he will also deliver the Faculty of Law’s 2005 F W Guest Memorial Lecture on Tuesday 23 August.


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