Mittwoch, 16. Februar 2011, 18 Uhr c.t.

Campus Westend, Hörsaalzentrum HZ5

Dr. Sabina Lovibond, (Worcester College, Oxford University)

Practical Reason and Character-Formation


Sabina Lovibond is a Fellow and Tutor in Philosophyat Worcester College, Oxford (since 1984) and a member of the Faculty of Philosophy of Oxford University. Her publications include Realism and
Imagination in Ethaltics (Basil Blackwell and University of Minnesota Press, 1983); Ethics: A Feminist Reader (edited with Elizabeth Frazer and Jennifer Hornsby: Blackwell, 1992); Essays for David Wiggins: Identity, Truth and Value (edited with S. G. Williams: Blackwell, 1996; reissued in paperback, 2000, under the title Identity, Truth and Value: Essays for David Wiggins); Ethical Formation (Harvard University Press, 2002); Iris Murdoch, Gender and Philosophy (Routledge, forthcoming 2011); and a number of articles, mainly in ethics and feminist theory, such as ‘Feminism and Postmodernism’ in New Left Review 178 (1989).


Anglophone ethical theory in the second half of the twentieth century found much to admire in the Aristotelian conception of phronesis - a complex mode of sensitivity to objective practical reasons, developed through initiation into a pre-existing form of social life. However, over the same period any such conception had to face the challenge of powerful sceptical considerations issuing not only from the neo-Humian ‘non-cognitivist’ tradition, but also from theoretical anti-humanism in the continental) European style. This lecture takes its cue more from the latter type of scepticism about practical reason, and will acknowledge the essential incompleteness of the process of characterformation; but I will nevertheless suggest that a contemporary reading of ‘Platonic-Aristotelian’ ethics (to use the unitarian term favoured by H.-G. Gadamer) is as well placed as any current philosophy to show that adherence to the ethical standpoint need not be either naive or dogmatic.


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