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The 2011 Uehiro Lectures

The Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics is delighted to announce that Professor Philip Pettit (Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Politics and Human Values at Princeton University) will deliver the 2011 Annual Uehiro Lecture Series in three consecutive lectures as follows:

Title of lecture series: Making Good: The Challenge of Robustly Demanding Values

2.30–4.30 pm, Wednesday 1st June 2011 

Lecture 1 - Robust demands and the need for virtue

My loyalty or fidelity or honesty means that I can be relied upon to display a concern for your interests across a range of possible scenarios, not just in actual or probable circumstances. But the good constituted by this robust concern materializes as a result of my virtuous dispositions, not just as a result of what I do. And so virtue is a way of making good, not just an aid to doing good; it creates value in its own right.

5–7 pm, Thursday 2nd June 2011

Lecture 2 - Robust demands and the need for law

The common subjection to law means in any community that we give each other certain legal rights robustly, not just actually or probably. The freedom, respect and dignity that you thereby enjoy come about as a result of how we others are legally constrained; they do not materialize just as a result of what we do, or even, unlike virtue-based goods, as a result of what we are disposed to do. And so law is a distinct way of making good, not just an aid or prompt to doing good; it too creates value in its own right.

(Please note, to enable anyone also wanting to attend the lecture by Amartya Sen (Wolfson College, shortly after 6 pm.), Professor Pettit’s presentation will conclude at 5.45 pm., but will be followed by Q&A for people wishing to stay.)

5-7 pm, Friday 3rd June 2011

Lecture 3 - Virtues, laws and consequentialism

The debate between consequentialism and opposing doctrines turns on whether doing right always means doing good: that is, promoting expected value. How is that debate going to develop once we see that we are required to be virtuous, not just to act virtuously; and to be legally constrained, not just to act legally? Which side in the debate is going to be better able to accommodate the robust demands of virtue-based and law-based values?

The lectures will be held in the Gulbenkian Lecture Theatre, St Cross Building, Manor Road, Oxford OX1 3UL. All are welcome and no booking required.

Brief biography:

Philip Pettit is the Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Politics and Human Values at Princeton University, where he has taught political theory and philosophy since 2002. He was elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009, and honorary member of the Royal Irish Academy in 2010; he is also a fellow of the Australian academies in Humanities and Social Sciences. Pettit holds honorary professorships in Philosophy at Sydney University and Queen's University, Belfast. In 2010 he won a Guggenheim fellowship and is spending 2010-11 as a fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral and Social Sciences at Stanford University. Pettit is one of the world‘s leading authors in moral and political theory, and has also made important contributions to issues in the philosophy of mind and metaphysics. His work has also been an important influence on the policies of the current Spanish government.

  Philip Pettit

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