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Grenberg to deliver fall Mellby Lecture

By Rachel Palermo '15
October 4, 2012

Professor of Philosophy and Department Chair Jeanine Grenberg will discuss the moral theory of philosopher Immanuel Kant during the fall Mellby Lecture October 9.

Her talk will explain Kant's complex claims about moral philosophy in a way that the average, non-philosophically informed person can understand: by relating them to the familiar experience of the conflict between morality and happiness. Her lecture, titled "But That's Wrong! Kantian Reflections on the Conflict Between Happiness and Morality," will be streamed and archived online.

"It is my hope that through this lecture I will be able to articulate to a non-expert audience some philosophically important claims about human moral experience," she says. Grenberg chose this topic for her Mellby Lecture because she recently wrote a book on such matters. The book, titled Getting Kant's Joke: A Phenomenological Defense of Common Moral Experience, will be published by Cambridge University Press later this year.

Grenberg began her career as a teacher-scholar at St. Olaf after earning her Ph.D. in philosophy from Emory University in 1996. She has published two books through Cambridge University, contributed to a number of major journals, and received significant writing grants to pursue her work. Grenberg says much of the inspiration for her work comes from her experiences in the classroom with St. Olaf students.

The Mellby Lectures
The annual Mellby lectures are named in remembrance of St. Olaf faculty member Carl A. Mellby and were established in 1983 to give professors the opportunity to share their research with the public. Mellby, known as "the father of social sciences" at St. Olaf, started the first courses in economics, sociology, political science, and art history at the college. He was professor and administrator from 1901 to 1949, taught Greek, German, French, religion, and philosophy, and is credited with creating the college's honor system.

Contact Kari VanDerVeen at 507-786-3970 or