Maurice Goldsmith Lecture 2016

Maurice Goldsmith Lecture 2016

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Event type: Public Lectures

15 July 2016 from 5.30 pm - 7.30 pm 15th Jul 2016 5:30pm 15th Jul 2016 7:30pm

Hunter Council Chamber, Kelburn Campus, Victoria University of Wellington

This year's Maurice Goldsmith Lecture will be presented by Professor Susan Wolf, entitled Aesthetic Responsibility.

The Maurice Goldsmith Lecture is an endowed public lecture hosted by the philosophy programme every one to two years.  It is always a lecture in either political philosophy or ethics and values.

Title: Aesthetic Responsibility

Speaker: Professor Susan Wolf, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill


It is often suggested that the fact that we are morally responsible is an important mark of our distinctive humanity. But focusing exclusively on the attitudes and judgments we form toward people on the basis of their moral qualities leads to overly narrow conceptions both of responsibility and of humanity. As a corrective, this paper considers the attitudes and judgments we make of artists on the basis of their artworks, suggesting that there is such a thing as aesthetic responsibility that is both similar to and different from moral responsibility.

Susan Wolf is the Edna J. Koury Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Her area of research interests is in ethics, moral philosophy and psychology, political philosophy, action theory and aesthetics.

Susan completed a Bachelor of Arts at Yale University, majoring in philosophy and mathematics.  She received her PhD in philosophy from Princeton University, which at the time was the most prestigious philosophy department the world.  Susan was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of the Arts and Sciences in She received a Mellon Distinguished Achievement Award in the Humanities in 2002.

She is the author of The Variety of Values: Essays on Morality, Meaning & Love (Oxford, 2015), Meaning in Life and Why It Matters (Princeton, 2010), Freedom Within Reason (Oxford, 1990), and is co-editor, with Christopher Grau, of Understanding Love: Philosophy, Film, and Fiction (Oxford, 2014).