Associate Professor, Director Graduate Studies in Philosophy
Department of Philosophy
Oregon State University
Hovland Hall 102C
Corvallis, OR 97331-3902
Lani Roberts (Ph.D., B.A., Philosophy, University of Oregon) has been teaching in this department since spring of 1989. As a social philosopher she is interested in ethical theory generally and, specifically, understanding our human propensity to harm one another, individually as well as in social groups. Moral philosophy, for Roberts, has the aim of helping "people realize what they are doing when they injure others" (Josiah Royce). Her courses include ethical theory at the undergraduate and graduate level, Ethics of Diversity and Feminist Philosophies. Her courses reflect her belief in the pragmatic applicability of philosophy to every day life. She coordinates the Applied Ethics Certificate and is a founding member of Faculty and Staff for Peace and Justice at OSU, and member of AFAPC (Association of Faculty for the Advancement of People of Color).
Roberts' research interests primarily involve examination of the shared epistemology and theoretical structures of the "isms" as well as problems in feminist theory. She is also interested in understanding the role of individual moral complicity in the maintenance of social injustices.
She is the author of "Duty, Virtue and the Victim's Voice " in Duties to Others, edited by colleague Courtney Campbell. "One Oppression or Many?" and "Barriers to Feeling and Actualizing Compassion, " are both published in The Journal of Philosophy in the Contemporary World. Roberts was recently named co-editor of this journal. More recent writings include chapters in two books, one on the rationale and structure of classes in the Difference, Power and Discrimination baccalaureate core at OSU,“Course Rationale, Criteria, and Design,” in Teaching for Change: the Difference, Power and Discrimination Model,and, with Ed Edmo,“Celilo Falls: Parallel Lives Along N’Che Wana,” in Seeing Color: Indigenous People and Racialized Ethnic Minorities in Oregon.
Roberts has been a Master Teacher in the College of Liberal Arts, is the 1997 recipient of the College's Meehan Award for Excellence in Teaching and twice has been names a Mortar Board Top Prof. She was awarded Oregon State University's Dar Reese Excellence in Advising Award in 2001 and the Martin Luther King Jr. Exemplary Service Award in 2003 and 2006.
Maintaining the connection between philosophy in theory and in practice, Roberts actively participates in the campus and local communities, including service on the advisory board of the Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center. Roberts also provides consultation services to government organizations and corporations on diversity issues. As an Oregon Council for the Humanities' Chautauqua speaker, she presented three talks around the state of Oregon: "Diversity: From the Idea to the Practice," "Ethics 101," and "The Idea of Justice." Currently she is a Conversation Facilitator for Oregon Humanities, on "Moral Self-Deception" and with colleague Courtney Campbell, on "Varieties of Friendships."
Her goals include, professionally, being a responsibly provocative philosopher, and personally,practicing what she teaches.
Listen to an interview with Dr. Roberts on how the philosophical intertwines with the personal. The interview was conducted by Dick Gordon on January 5, 2007; the program is The Story, produced by American Public Media and WUNC in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Also, here is a link to a podcast interview with Professor Joseph Orosco on the value of diversity: