World-renowned philosopher earns Royal Society of Canada award
September 14, 2021
Queen’s researcher Will Kymlicka, Canada Research Chair in Political Philosophy, has earned the Royal Society of Canada’s (RSC) Pierre Chauveau Medal for his distinguished contribution to knowledge in the humanities.
Dr. Kymlicka is amongst the top three influential political philosophers in the English-speaking world and has helped pioneer two major fields of research: the normative foundations of minority group rights within liberal democracies and the place of animals within political theory.
“Like other Western democracies, Canada is a ‘liberal democracy,’ which means we put a strong focus on the rights of individual citizens,” says Dr. Kymlicka. “The Canadian constitution also recognizes some group rights, but these have often been seen as anomalous, and perhaps even dangerous to liberal values. My work has tried to understand how we can make room in liberal philosophy for the rights of groups, and in particular the rights of minorities.”
Dr. Kymlicka is currently researching we govern the lives of animals in our society.
“This is not only an urgent moral question on its own terms, but also central to the climate crisis, biodiversity and public health. We’ve established an animal politics research group here at Queen’s, focusing on how to ensure animals are represented in democratic politics,” he says. “I think this will be a central issue for the future of political philosophy, and for the fate of the world as a whole.”
Dr. Kymlicka’s high-caliber work and exceptional accomplishments have been recognized by the Killam Prize, the Premier’s Discovery Award, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, Fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada and the British Academy, honorary degrees from Belgium and Sweden, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Gold Medal.
“It’s a special honour to receive this medal from the Royal Society, which has played such a central role in both the intellectual and public life of the country, and to join the very distinguished list of previous awardees,” Dr. Kymlicka says. “I’m grateful for the incredible support I’ve received from colleagues here at Queen’s over the years.”
The Pierre Chauveau Medal was established in 1951 to honour the memory of Pierre J.O. Chauveau (1820-1890), FRSC, writer, orator, educator, Canadian statesman and the RSC's second president (1883-1884). He was the first premier of Quebec (1867-1872) and Speaker of the Senate (1874).
For more information, visit the RSC website.