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Social Science Cultural

Concepts and Persons

by (author) Michael Lambek

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Nov 2021
Cultural, Social, General
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2021
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Nov 2021
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The Tanner Lectures are a collection of educational and scientific discussions relating to human values. Conducted by leaders in their fields, the lectures are presented at renowned institutions around the world, including the Universities of Oxford, Harvard, and Yale. In January 2019, University of Toronto’s Michael Lambek, professor, former Canada Research Chair, and member of the Royal Society of Canada, delivered the Tanner Lecture at the University of Michigan’s Department of Philosophy on the topic of "Concepts and Persons."


As well as tracing his career in social and cultural anthropology, Lambek’s Tanner Lecture spoke on the intersection of anthropology and philosophy as a means of articulating the moral basis of human action. By elucidating where anthropology and philosophy might intersect, Lambek’s lecture is a profound examination of the human condition, and is beautifully captured in this publication.


Concepts and Persons recounts the lecture as delivered at the prestigious event, the commentary of three distinguished respondents, and Lambek’s own response to that commentary. The book’s presentation of the lecture also includes a rich and layered set of notes that augment the lecture significantly, as well as additional clarification and thought that has developed since the event.




Elizabeth Anderson, John Dewey Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy and Women’s Studies, University of Michigan




Jonathan Lear, John U. Nef Distinguished Service Professor at the Committee on Social Thought and in the Department of Philosophy, University of Chicago


Sherry B. Ortner, Distinguished Research Professor of Anthropology, UCLA


Joel Robbins, Sigrid Rausing Professor of Social Anthropology, Cambridge University, and Fellow, Trinity College

About the author

Michael Lambek holds a Canada Research Chair in Anthropology of Ethical Life at the University of Toronto and is the author of Ordinary Ethics: Anthropology, Language, and Action (Fordham University Press, 2010) and The Ethical Condition: Essays on Action, Person, and Value (University of Chicago Press, 2015).

Michael Lambek's profile page

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