Over the past thirty years Raimond Gaita has developed an original, powerful and sometimes controversial conception of the nature of morality and ethical thought. Gaita has made an outstanding contribution to contemporary analytic moral philosophy, not least for his distinctive vision of the nature of moral philosophy as an academic discipline. However the influence of his ethical thought extends through his various writings, including his acclaimed biography of his father, Romulus, My Father, well beyond academic philosophy to many researchers working in other disciplines and to many more members of the hard-thinking educated public.
On the occasion of Gaita’s retirement from the positions of Professor of Moral Philosophy at King’s College London and Foundation Professor of Philosophy at the Australian Catholic University, this conference will explore the broad influence of Gaita’s work, including in (but not restricted to) such fields as philosophy, politics, social work, psychology law and literature, as well as in public ethical debate more generally.Confirmed conference speakers include Stephen Buckle, John Coetzee, Christopher Cordner, Nick Drake, Miranda Fricker, Michael Heyward, Geoffrey Levey, Anne Manne, Robert Manne, Alex Miller, Brigitta Olubas, Helen Pringle, Dorothy Scott, Gerry Simpson, Craig Taylor, Bernadette Tobin, and Steven Tudor.
"A Sense for Humanity" is convened by Dr Craig Taylor, and proudly supported by the Flinders Institute for Research in the Humanities.
- GaitaConferenceProgramme160811.pdf (PDF 33KB)
- GaitaConferenceSpeakers150811.pdf (PDF 43KB)
- GaitaConferenceAbstracts150811.pdf (PDF 61KB)
- Public events
There are four free public events associated with the conference. Registration is essential for these events.
Film Screening: Romulus, My Father, followed by a Q&A with Raimond Gaita and screenwriter Nick Drake. Wednesday, 17 August, 7.00 p.m. Hetzel Lecture Theatre, Institute Building, cnr North Terrace and Kintore Avenue, Adelaide. Register.
Book Launch: Professor Gaita's most recent book, After Romulus. To be launched by Professor J.M. Coetzee. Hosted by Text Publishing. Thursday, 18 August, 3.30 - 4.30 p.m. Hetzel Lecture Theatre, Institute Building, cnr North Terrace and Kintore Avenue, Adelaide. More details: [missing FMS file] . Register.
Round table discussion of Gaita's memoir Romulus, My Father, with J.M. Coetzee, Anne Manne, Nick Drake and Michael Heyward. Thursday, 18 August, 5.00 - 6.30 p.m. Hetzel Lecture Theatre, Institute Building, cnr North Terrace and Kintore Avenue, Adelaide. Register.
Public Lecture by Professor Raimond Gaita: "To Civilize the City". Supported by the Faculty of Education, Humanities and Law, Flinders University; the Adelaide Festival of Ideas; and the Ethics Centre of South Australia. Friday, 19 August, 6.00 - 7.30 p.m. The Science Exchange, 55 Exchange Place Adelaide. More details. Register.
- Conference dinner
A three-course conference dinner will be held at Ayres House Restaurant (288 North Terrace, Adelaide) at 7.00 p.m. on Thursday, 18 August. The cost of the dinner ($91.50, including drinks) can be paid via the conference registration form (below).
Conference registration (full): $200.00 (AUD)
Conference registration (concession): $60.00 (AUD)
Conference registration (day rate): $100.00 (AUD)
- Conference registration
GaitaConfReg.pdf (PDF 55KB)
A limited number of rooms at the Majestic Roof Garden Hotel (55 Frome Street, Adelaide) have been reserved for conference participants at the special rate of $135.00 per night (room only). Quote "Flinders University Gaita Conference" when booking to receive the special rate.
Friday, 19 August
6.00 p.m. start
The Science Exchange
"In the early 1980s a philosopher at the University Melbourne said to me that the task of the university is to civilise the city. Though he believed that civilising duty to fall primarily on the humanities, I doubt that he thought it fell only on them. He said this to me at a time when academics still believed that the concept of a university entitled them to say that no institution could rightly call itself a university if it did not have a department of philosophy, or classics, or physics.
The concept of a university, as a distinct tertiary institution, is now defunct. In most of the institutions that are called universities a narrow conception of what counts as research discourages, I believe, critical reflectiveness (necessary if, for example, one is seriously to question the assumptions of one’s discipline) and devalues, indeed implicitly disparages, teaching and engagement with cultural institutions outside of the university unless that engagement is narrowly professional - the provision of expertise of one kind or another. Thus while philosophers – to take them as an example – might be encouraged to sit on various kinds of ethics committees and to write for refereed journals of ‘practical philosophy’ they are now discouraged from giving public lectures, speaking at writer's festivals, publishing in non-refereed journals and even from writing books. At the same time, writer’s festivals and public lecture series are proliferating at an astonishing rate, but, it seems to me, with an increased tendency to dilettantism.
In the first part of the lecture I will try to justify this description of how things stand with universities and many of our cultural institutions. In the second part I will try to show, why that description, fully elaborated, will suggest, to those who accept it, what we should do".
Registration for this event is essential; to register, please visit the Flinders University Events web page.
This public lecture is supported by the Faculty of Education, Humanities and Law, Flinders University; the Adelaide Festival of Ideas; and the Ethics Centre of South Australia.