GENEVA — Renowned scholar Philip Kitcher, a professor of philosophy at Columbia University, will examine the defining questions of climate change policy and future risks in a campus lecture at Hobart and William Smith Colleges on Thursday.

The lecture, at 5 p.m. in the Geneva Room of the Warren Hunting Smith Library, is titled “Why Is Climate Action So Hard?”

Kitcher joins the Colleges as part of the Philosophy Department’s year-long colloquium exploring the intersection of philosophy and climate change. He is the first of six speakers visiting campus this spring and next fall to address the philosophical dimension of problems raised by climate change.

“Philip Kitcher is among the most respected philosophers working nowadays,” said HWS philosophy professor Scott Brophy. “In his new work, he lays out not just the ethical issues at stake but the epistemological ones as well: How can we know what we know? What would be irrational to deny? His writings examine, among other things, the connection between science and democratic societies. He analyzes the types of scientific evidence that are needed to create informed public policy.”

Trophy said Kitcher “is also an uncommonly good writer and a speaker who can make complex issues clear to a general audience.”

The author of more than 160 published works, Kitcher specializes in the study of pragmatism, science and social issues, naturalistic ethics and philosophy in literature. He is the first winner of the Prometheus Prize, the lifetime achievement award issued from the American Philosophical Association, and the Berlin Prize, among several other distinctions.

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