University Center for Human Values


Established in 1990 through the generosity of Laurance S. Rockefeller ‘32, the University Center for Human Values fosters ongoing inquiry into important ethical issues in private and public life and supports teaching, research and discussion of ethics and human values throughout the curriculum and across the disciplines.

Today, the center is the hub of a lively and exciting community that brings together Princeton faculty members, graduate students, undergraduates, visiting faculty fellows and other visitors. The center is home to a growing number of faculty members with teaching and research interests in various aspects of human values, most of whom are jointly appointed in their disciplines. The undergraduate minor program in Values and Public Life defines a pathway through the curriculum for students interested in developing a focus on human values. We sponsor an array of activities, from specialized seminars and lectures to large campus events, aimed to stimulate and inform members of the center and of the greater campus community. And we support research on human values by Princeton faculty members, graduate students and undergraduates. Through all of these activities the center strives to provide the larger community with the space and resources to reflect systematically about fundamental questions of value — how we should understand our moral identities, how we should treat each other and how we should try to shape our world.

Program Offerings

One of the University center's activities within the undergraduate curriculum is to co-sponsor courses with departments and programs. The center encourages students to supplement their disciplinary concentrations with a set of these courses, which address fundamental questions about the meaning and value of human life and the ethical relationships of individuals and societies. The University Center for Human Values is also home to the Human Values Forum, which provides an opportunity for undergraduate students and faculty members to meet in an informal setting to discuss current and enduring questions concerning ethics and human values.

The undergraduate courses, some of which are sponsored or co-sponsored by the center, examine issues involving human values from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.

Each year the University Center for Human Values sponsors several freshman seminars in the residential colleges. For a list of the current seminars, please check the freshman seminars website.

The center awards senior thesis prizes to seniors who have written outstanding theses in the area of ethics and human values. Departments are invited to nominate their best thesis in this area.

For information about courses relevant to the study of human values, visit the center's website.


  • Director

    • Melissa Lane
  • Executive Committee

    • Edward G. Baring, History
    • Charles R. Beitz, Politics
    • Sandra L. Bermann, Comparative Literature
    • Lara M. Buchak, Philosophy
    • Andrew Chignell, Religion
    • Molly J. Crockett, Psychology
    • Eric S. Gregory, Religion
    • Elizabeth Harman, Philosophy
    • Melissa Lane, Politics
    • Tania Lombrozo, Psychology
    • Stephen J. Macedo, Politics
    • Jan-Werner Müller, Politics
    • Alan W. Patten, Politics
    • Philip N. Pettit, Center for Human Values
    • Kim Lane Scheppele, Schl of Public & Int'l Affairs
    • Peter A. Singer, Center for Human Values
    • Michael Smith, Philosophy
    • Anna B. Stilz, Politics
  • Sits with Committee

    • Victoria McGeer
  • Professor

    • Andrew Chignell
    • Christopher L. Eisgruber
    • Elizabeth Harman
    • Stephen J. Macedo
    • Philip N. Pettit
    • Kim Lane Scheppele
    • Peter A. Singer
    • Anna B. Stilz
  • Associate Professor

    • Edward G. Baring
    • Molly J. Crockett
  • Associated Faculty

    • Elizabeth M. Armstrong, Schl of Public & Int'l Affairs
    • Leora F. Batnitzky, Religion
    • João Biehl, Anthropology
    • Amy B. Borovoy, East Asian Studies
    • Michael A. Celia, Civil and Environmental Eng
    • Jonathan D. Cohen, Psychology
    • Alin I. Coman, Psychology
    • Gregory A. Conti, Politics
    • Nathaniel D. Daw, Princeton Neuroscience Inst
    • Lidal Dror, Philosophy
    • Mitchell Duneier, Sociology
    • Karen R. Emmerich, Comparative Literature
    • Susan T. Fiske, Psychology
    • Paul Frymer, Politics
    • Daniel Garber, Philosophy
    • Sheldon M. Garon, History
    • Sophie G. Gee, English
    • Robert P. George, Politics
    • Eddie S. Glaude, African American Studies
    • Jonathan C. Gold, Religion
    • Lars O. Hedin, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
    • Grace E. Helton, Philosophy
    • Brooke A. Holmes, Classics
    • Mark Johnston, Philosophy
    • Thomas P. Kelly, Philosophy
    • Martin Kern, East Asian Studies
    • Joshua I. Kotin, English
    • Ilyana Kuziemko, Economics
    • Frances E. Lee, Schl of Public & Int'l Affairs
    • Thomas C. Leonard, Council of the Humanities
    • Sarah-Jane Leslie, Philosophy
    • Simon A. Levin, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
    • Anne McClintock, Gender & Sexuality Studies Pgm
    • Sarah E. McGrath, Philosophy
    • Helen V. Milner, Schl of Public & Int'l Affairs
    • Benjamin C. Morison, Philosophy
    • Naomi Murakawa, African American Studies
    • Jacob Morris Nebel, Philosophy
    • Rob Nixon, English
    • Guy J.P. Nordenson, Architecture
    • Jeff Nunokawa, English
    • Serguei A. Oushakine, Anthropology
    • Stephen Pacala, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
    • Dan-El Padilla Peralta, Classics
    • Deborah A. Prentice, Provost
    • Gideon A. Rosen, Philosophy
    • Esther H. Schor, English
    • Paul E. Starr, Sociology
    • Frederick F Wherry, Sociology
    • David S. Wilcove, Schl of Public & Int'l Affairs
  • Lecturer

    • Manail Anis
    • Steven A. Kelts
    • Erika A. Kiss
  • Visiting Professor

    • Pratap Bhanu Mehta
    • Wojciech Sadurski
  • Visiting Associate Professor

    • David Tubbs

For a full list of faculty members and fellows please visit the department or program website.


CHV 202 - Introduction to Moral Philosophy (also PHI 202) Not offered this year EM

CHV 212 - The Psychology of Moral Behavior (also PSY 212) Not offered this year EM

CHV 214 - The Other Side of Rome (also CLA 214) Not offered this year EM

CHV 261 - Christian Ethics and Modern Society (also REL 261) Fall CDEM

CHV 301 - Ethics and Public Policy (also POL 308/SPI 370) Fall EM

CHV 302 - Sociological Theory (also SOC 302) Spring SA

CHV 306 - Democratic Theory (also PHI 360/POL 306) Not offered this year EM

CHV 307 - The Just Society (also POL 307) Not offered this year EM

CHV 309 - Political Philosophy (also HUM 309/PHI 309) Not offered this year EM

CHV 310 - Practical Ethics (also PHI 385) Fall EM

The course will challenge students to examine their life from an ethical perspective. Should altruism guide our life? What is effective altruism? Should we share our wealth with people who will otherwise die from poverty-related causes? How should we live and act in an era in which human activity is changing the planet's climate? What ethical considerations are raised by eating meat and other animal products? We will also consider the Supreme Court's decision on abortion. Students will be encouraged to question their ethical beliefs and explore how reason and argument can play a role in everyday ethical decision-making. P. Singer

CHV 311 - Systematic Ethics (also PHI 307) Spring EM

CHV 313 - Global Justice (also POL 313) Not offered this year EM

CHV 315 - Philosophy of Mind (also CGS 315/PHI 315) Spring EC

CHV 319 - Normative Ethics (also PHI 319) Not offered this year EM

CHV 330 - Greek Law and Legal Practice (also CLA 330/HLS 340) Fall EM

CHV 335 - Greek Ethical Theory (also HLS 338/PHI 335) Not offered this year EM

CHV 345 - Ethics and Economics (also ECO 385) Spring EM

CHV 360 - Ethics in Context: Uses and Abuses of Deception and Disclosure (also ANT 360) EM

CHV 364 - Sociology of Medicine (also SOC 364) Not offered this year SA

CHV 380 - Explaining Values (also PHI 380) Not offered this year EM

CHV 383 - Freedom and Responsibility (also PHI 383) Fall EM

CHV 403 - Architecture and Democracy (also ARC 405/ECS 402/POL 403) Spring EM

CHV 410 - Seminar in Political Theory (also POL 410) Not offered this year EM

CHV 416 - Moral Conflicts in Public and Private Life (also POL 416) Not offered this year EM

CHV 470 - Comparative Constitutional Law (also POL 479/SPI 421) Spring SA