Colloquia Series – Dr. Sukaina Hirji: “Moral Worth Under Oppression”

Friday October 7, 2022
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM

The Department of Philosophy is pleased to invite you to our 2022/2023 colloquium series.

Our first colloquium lecture will take place on October 7, 2022, featuring guest speaker Dr. Sukaina Hirji, Assistant Professor of
Philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania, on “Moral Worth Under Oppression.”


Moral philosophers tend to agree that even when an agent performs the morally right action, they are not always praiseworthy for doing so. If someone does the right thing, but does it for an ulterior motive, or purely by accident, they do not deserve credit for doing the right thing: their action does not speak well of them. Sometimes, philosophers use the term “moral worth” to describe actions that are praiseworthy or reflect well on the agent who performs them. I’m interested in the moral worth of actions under oppression. I argue that oppressed agents are often in situations where, even when they do the right thing, they are not straightforwardly praiseworthy for their action. This is not because of any failure on the part of the agent, but because of the nature of the actions available to them. I argue that this has consequences for the moral worth of the actions performed by the dominant group as well.

Speaker Biography:

Dr. Sukaina Hirji works in Ancient Greek philosophy, and in contemporary moral and feminist philosophy. Some of her work is at the intersection of these two areas. Dr. Hirji’s work seeks to illuminate the often subtle ways in which material conditions and oppressive structures can limit our ability to fully be what we are, to fully express the parts of ourselves central to our identity.

You can find more about her work on her website: