The Spirit of Truth-Seeking

October 11, 2019
The Spirit of Truth-Seeking poster with Robert George and Cornel West

Robert P. GeorgeMcCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program, Princeton UniversityCornel West *80Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy, Harvard University; Class of 1943 University Professor in the Center for African American Studies, Emeritus, Princeton University

Welcome and Introduction by Christopher L. Eisgruber '83, Princeton University President

First-Year Families Weekend Event
Part of the Being Human Festival of the Princeton University Humanities Council

Colleges and universities, especially those devoted to liberal arts education, are fundamentally concerned with the pursuit, transmission, and preservation of knowledge. They are, according to Professors George and West, “truth-seeking institutions.” In their dialogue, the professors will discuss the conditions that need to be established and maintained for colleges and universities to fulfill their truth-seeking mission. They will consider the virtues that must be exemplified and practiced by faculty and students alike if in the various fields of study the frontiers of knowledge are to be pushed back, understanding of complex matters is to be deepened, and wisdom is to be found.

Robert P. George is McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. He has several times been a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School. He has served as Chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and the President’s Council on Bioethics. He has also served as the U.S. member of UNESCO’s World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology. He was a Judicial Fellow at the Supreme Court of the United States, where he received the Justice Tom C. Clark Award. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Swarthmore, he holds the degrees of J.D. and M.T.S. from Harvard University and the degrees of D.Phil., B.C.L., and D.C.L. from Oxford University, in addition to over twenty honorary doctorates. In November, Oxford will confer on him the Doctor of Letters (D.Litt.) degree. He is a recipient of the U.S. Presidential Citizens Medal, the Honorific Medal for the Defense of Human Rights of the Republic of Poland, the Canterbury Medal of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, and Princeton University’s President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching. His books include Making Men Moral: Civil Liberties and Public Morality and In Defense of Natural Law (both published by Oxford University Press).

Cornel West *80 is the Class of 1943 Professor of African American Studies Emeritus at Princeton University, and Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy in the Divinity School and the Department of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. He has also taught at Union Theological Seminary, Yale University, and the University of Paris. He graduated magna cum laude in Near Eastern Studies from Harvard in three years and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in philosophy at Princeton. He holds more than twenty honorary doctorates. He has written 20 books and has edited 13. Professor West is best known for his classics Race Matters and Democracy Matters. His memoir is entitled Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud. He appears frequently on the Bill Maher Show, CNN, C-Span, and other media outlets.He made his film debut in the Matrix—and was the commentator (with Ken Wilbur) on the official trilogy released in 2004. He also has appeared in over 25 documentaries. He has made three spoken word albums including Never Forget, collaborating with Prince, Jill Scott, Andre 3000, Talib Kweli, KRS-One, Bootsy Collins, and Gerald Levert. His spoken word interludes were featured on Terence Blanchard’s Choices (which won the Grand Prix in France for the best Jazz Album of the year of 2009). He has a passion to communicate to a vast variety of publics in order to keep alive the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.—a legacy of telling the truth and bearing witness to love and justice.


The Spirit of Truth-Seeking


McCosh Hall 50

Photo Album:

  • George West
  • George West
  • George West