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Institute for Philosophy, Politics, and Law

In support of the Program for Philosophy, Politics, and Law, Harpur College of Arts and Sciences, and Binghamton University

Founded as an independent Institute in 2003 with generous seed funds from alumnus Owen C. Pell ’80, the purpose of the Institute for Philosophy, Politics, and Law is to enhance the intellectual life of students and faculty at Harpur College and Binghamton University and to contribute to larger public discussions of important ethical, legal and political issues of the day. PPL is one of the University’s largest undergraduate majors on campus, graduating 150 students per year, and includes a thriving combined degree M.A. program.

The activities of the Institute include a Visiting Scholar Program, colloquia and workshops, faculty and student lunches, and a Public Service Center.

Visiting Scholar Program

The Visiting Scholar Program brings Visiting Scholars to campus for a few days to an entire semester. Visiting Scholars are national and international scholars and professionals who can contribute to the life of the PPL Program and the University. Those who come for only a short period participate in classes, give lectures and hold seminars with members of the campus and wider community. Under certain circumstances, Visiting Scholars may teach for longer periods, ranging from a few weeks to a semester. This would most likely involve teaching or co-teaching a class. For example, Visiting Scholars might teach two-credit classes devoted to a specific theme. Topics will be more narrowly focused and benefit from the Visiting Scholars work experience and real-world scenarios. Because they only earn two credits, courses will be offered in less than a full semester.

PPL Visiting Scholar Public Lecture on Drug Criminalization 

This year's PPL Visiting Scholar, Doug Husak, will give a public lecture titled, "Why Our Punitive Drug Policy Persists" on Thursday, March 20th from 5:00-7:00 pm in UUW-324.

Professor Husak is a leading philosopher of law, and a prominent critic of the criminalization of recreation drug use.  All are warmly invited to attend.  For more informtion see poster, or contact Christopher Morgan-Knapp (

Colloquia and Workshops

The Institute’s PPL Workshop will include visiting speakers, workshops for students interested in law as a career, debates and discussions by faculty on timely campus issues, and lunches with students.

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Last Updated: 3/17/14