Endowed Lectureships


Generous alumni and friends of the Department of Philosophy have made possible four different endowed lectureship funds. Each year, the campus community is invited to hear prominent philosophers speak on their work and on the current applications of philosophical study. 

Three men standing together in front of a whiteboard, with Eduardo Mendieta in the center



Elton Lecture

The Elton Lectureship, along with the Elton Professorship, was endowed by Romeo Elton, a professor of classics at Brown University. Elton was a good friend of William Staughton, the first president of the original Columbian College before it became the George Washington University. The Elton Lecture is delivered annually on a philosophical subject of general public interest.


Griffith Lecture

The Griffith Lectureship honors William B. Griffith, former professor and chair of the Philosophy Department. The lectureship was formerly named after Thomas Goutman, BA ’76, a distinguished attorney and benefactor of the department. The Griffith Lecture was renamed at Goutman’s request and is delivered annually on a subject related to ethics, social and political philosophy or public affairs.


Watch the 2022 Griffith Lecture


Thacher Lecture

The Thacher Lectureship was established in 2003 through the financial support of Michael Thacher, BA ’70, a former public affairs manager for global energy company Unocal Corporation. The Thacher Lecture is offered annually on a subject related to cognitive science, epistemology, logic, or philosophy of science and technology. 


Watch the 2022 Thacher Lecture


Sophia Lecture

This lecture series was funded by an anonymous GW Philosophy Department alumna to support early to mid-career women and/or philosophers from minority groups. As a philosophy professor herself, this alumna wished to recognize the excellent scholarship of younger women through a public lecture that would help advance their careers. The Sophia Lecture aims to inspire other philosophy departments to likewise showcase the scholarship of women and minority philosophers.


Watch the 2022 Sophia Lecture


Upcoming Endowed Lectures



Past Lectures

Sophia Endowed Lecture

Friday, November 18, 2022 - 4:00pm

Bailey Thomas

Griffith Endowed Lecture

Friday, November 4, 2022 - 4:00pm

Balancing Death against Lesser Burdens: Philosophy, Psychology and Policy

2022 Elton Lecture: Lewis R. Gordon

Friday, April 8, 2022 - 12:00pm

April 8, 2022

Lewis R. Gordon: Professor and Head of the Philosophy Department, UCONN

Why Fearing Black Consciousness Is a Form of Bad Faith

2022 Thacher Lecture: Elisabeth Camp

Friday, March 25, 2022 - 3:30pm
Elisabeth Camp, Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University, delivered the 2022 Thacher Lecture: From Perceptual Point of View to Interpretive Perspective

2022 Sophia Lecture: Emma Velez

Friday, February 11, 2022 - 4:00pm

February 11, 2022

Emma Velez: Assistant Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

2021 Griffith Lecture: Manuel Vargas

Friday, November 19, 2021 - 4:00pm

November 19, 2021

Manuel Vargas: Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, San Diego

The Echo of Agency

2020 Elton Lecture: Sally Haslanger

Friday, March 6, 2020 - 3:30pm
This lecture will elaborate how injustice is embedded in our practices and how agents can be empowered to resist that appropriation of this agency and work towards justice.

2018 Griffith Lecture: Taking Responsibility for Racial Violence: Shooting the Racist Imagination

Thursday, April 26, 2018 - 4:00pm
The 2018 Griffith Lecture was delivered on April 26, 2018. This lecture, “Taking Responsibility for Racial Violence: Shooting the Racist Imagination,” was presented by Dr. Jose Medina, Walter Bill Scott Professor at Northwestern University. Dr. José Medina is professor of philosophy who taught previously at Vanderbilt University and works in critical race theory, gender/queer theory and political philosophy. His latest book is The Epistemology of Resistance: Gender and Racial Oppression, Epistemic Injustice, and Resistant Imaginations (Oxford University Press).

2018 Elton Lecture: Rorty and Post-Post Truth

Friday, April 20, 2018 - 4:00pm
Dr. Eduardo Mendieta presented the 2018 Elton Lecture, “Rorty and Post-Post Truth,” on April 20, 2018. He is a professor of philosophy at Penn State, associate director of the Rock Ethics Institute and affiliated faculty at the School of International Affairs and the Bioethics Program at Penn State University.

2018 Thacher Lecture: Flesh Matters: The Body in Cognition

Friday, October 20, 2017 - 4:00pm
The annual Thacher Lecture, “Flesh Matters: The Body in Cognition,” was presented on October 20, 2017 by Larry Shapiro, professor of philosophy at the University of Wisconsin. Professor Shapiro’s research spans philosophy of mind and philosophy of psychology. Within philosophy of mind he has focused on issues related to reduction, especially concerning the thesis of multiple realization.

2018 Sophia Lecture: The Ethical cost of Upward Mobility

Friday, October 6, 2017 - 4:00pm
The 2018 Sophia Lecture, “The Ethical cost of Upward Mobility,” was presented on October 6, 2017, by Jennifer Morton, assistant professor of philosophy at the City College of New York.

2017 Thacher Lecture: Perceptual Consciousness as a Mental Activity

Friday, April 21, 2017 - 4:00pm
The 2017 Thacher Lecture titled “Perceptual Consciousness as a Mental Activity,” was presented by Dr. Susanna Schellenberg, professor of philosophy at Rutgers University. Schellenberg specializes in epistemology, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of language.

2017 Elton Lecture: Philosophy in a Divided World

Friday, February 24, 2017 - 4:00pm
The 2017 Elton Lecture titled “Philosophy in a Divided World” was presented by Dr. Carlos Fraenkel, the James McGill Professor in the Departments of Philosophy and Jewish studies at McGill University in Montreal.

2017 Sophia Lecture: Activating Intolerance: From Prison Resistance to Engaged Philosophy

Friday, November 11, 2016 - 4:00pm
The annual Sophia Lecture titled “Activating Intolerance: From Prison Resistance to Engaged Philosophy,” was presented by Dr. Perry Zurn, a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Curiosity at the University of Pennsylvania, and assistant professor of philosophy at American University.

2016 Griffith Lecture: Radical Gun Rights And The Rule of Law

Friday, October 7, 2016 - 3:30pm
The 2016 Griffith Lecture titled “Radical Gun Rights And The Rule of Law” was presented by Dr. Firmin DeBrabander, professor of philosophy at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore on October 7th, 2016. DeBrabander focused on social and political philosophy. He has written articles in a variety of scholarly publications, and commentary pieces for The New York Times, Washington Post, Atlantic and Salon.