Tuesday, April 21, 2009

UIS Emeritus Professor of Philosophy authors sixth book

Dr. Peter Wenz, University of Illinois at Springfield Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, is the author of a new book titled Beyond Red and Blue: How Twelve Political Philosophies Shape American Debates. The book is his sixth and has been published by MIT Press.

A book-signing will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 23 at Barnes and Noble in Springfield.

Beyond Red and Blue examines the beliefs of many different groups including social conservatives, utilitarians, theocrats, feminists, and libertarians on issues such as physician-assisted suicide, abortion, torture, affirmative action, the war on drugs, eminent domain, and pornography.

Publishers Weekly said of the book: “The competing voices in the American political arena are given their due in this nuanced tour of some of the most chewed-over issues of the day. Wenz posits that there are 12 major political philosophies (e.g., libertarianism, contractarianism, feminism and multiculturalism) that, taken in part or in whole, encompass the opinions of most Americans.”

“Whether your political comfort zone is on the right, on the left, or somewhere in the middle, Beyond Red and Blue is going to make you squirm,” said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, whose comments appear on the book’s jacket. “Drawing from life experiences and familiar headlines, Peter Wenz finds twelve lines of political DNA in America. Don’t expect Wenz to button up every chapter with sound-bite certainty. His conclusions may make you cheer or curse, but they are sure to make you think,” Durbin said.

Wenz is also the author of Environmental Justice (SUNY Press 1988), Abortion Rights as Religious Freedom (Temple University Press 1992), Nature’s Keeper (Temple University Press 1996), Environmental Ethics Today (Oxford University Press 2001), and Political Philosophies in Moral Conflict (McGraw-Hill 2007).

Environmental Justice has been translated and published in both Chinese and Korean, and Environmental Ethics Today has been translated and published in Chinese. In addition, more than 40 articles and book chapters by Wenz have been published.

Wenz retired from UIS in December 2004 after spending 28 years as a member of the Philosophy Department. Before the department had a major or even a minor, Wenz worked with faculty in other disciplines to create courses that would be useful to their students. He also had a one-third joint appointment to do research and writing in what was originally called the Center for Legal Studies, now called the Institute for Legal, Legislative, and Policy Studies.

During his long career at SSU/UIS, Wenz took leaves to teach one year at Southbank University in London (1980-81) and at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland (1986-87). During a semester sabbatical in 2003, he taught a course at Oxford University in England. Since retiring from UIS, he has taught a semester in 2007 at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Wenz has a B.A. in Philosophy from the State University of New York, Binghamton, New York, and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

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