The Simone Weil Lecture on Human Value is hosted by the ACU School of Philosophy. First held in 2000 as an initiative of Professor Raimond Gaita, it is a free public lecture held annually in Brisbane and Melbourne.

Each year, a distinguished international scholar is invited to give a public lecture and academic seminar at ACU. The lectures are inspired by Simone Weil’s ethical vision that is rooted in attentive compassion and obligation to others, her unstinting desire for the Good, and her non-negotiable commitment to justice.

2024 Simone Weil Lecture

Empathy and Interpersonal Relations

The 2024 lecture will be delivered on May 2nd at the Mercy Theatre by Professor Dermot Moran (Boston College).

About the speaker

Professor Dermot Moran is the inaugural holder of the Joseph Chair in Catholic Philosophy at Boston College. Professor Moran is the author of nine monographs (including translations into Spanish and Chinese), one co-authored book (also translated into Chinese), 15 edited books, 50 peer-refereed journal articles, more than 120 book chapters and encyclopedia entries. He is founding editor of The International Journal of Philosophical Studies (1993) and was co-editor (2007 - 2017) of the book series Contributions to Phenomenology (Springer). He was awarded the Royal Irish Academy Gold Medal in the Humanities in 2012, and an Honorary Doctoral Degree from the National and Kapodistrian University in Athens in 2015. He is Honorary Professor at Wuhan University, Nankai University, and Sun Yat Sen University, Guangzhou.

About the lecture

Many psychologists claim that the capacity to empathise with others is a necessary capacity for a healthy emotional and ethical life. But what exactly is empathy? In this lecture, professor Moran will explain the approach to empathy of German-Jewish philosopher and Carmelite Edith Stein and how it involves the recognition of persons as persons and compare Stein's approach to Simone Weil's understanding of persons and their value.

Where and when?

The Mercy Theatre
Thursday 2nd May, 2024
5.30pm arrival for a 6.30 pm start

ACU Melbourne Campus
Duke St
Fitzroy VIC 3065

Catering and refreshments will be served from 5.30pm.
(Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free dietary requirements considered.)

Register to attend the lecture

Past lectures

Lectures from more recent years, together with invited speakers, are listed below. Recorded lectures can be accessed via the topic link.

Year Lecturer Topic
2023 Associate Professor Matthew Sharpe Beyond banality: deception, Eichmann and evil
2022 Scott Stephens We do not breathe well: Tending the moral conditions of our common life

Listen via the ABC Radio National
2019 Professor Roger Crisp

Virtue in a changing climate:
How do we respond morally to global warming?

Listen via the ABC Radio National

2018 Professor Mark Alfano

Dark humour in dark times: The sustaining virtue of laughter

Listen via the ABC Radio National

2017 Professor Lenart Škof

Democracy as Human Value: On the Idea of Ethical Citizenship

Listen via the ABC Radio National

2016 Professor Robert Audi Transnational Ethics and the Refugee Crisis
2015 Professor Michael Morgan Tears the Civil Servant Cannot See: Ethics, Politics, and the Individual
2014 Professor Eleonore Stump Is Justice Enough? Aquinas on Justice and Care
2013 Associate Professor Jeffrey Bloechl Between Love and Law: Paul and Philosophy - Jeffrey Bloechl (Boston College)
2012 Prof Richard Kearney (Boston College) Narrating Pain: The Power of Catharsis
2011 Prof Kevin Hart FAHA On Forgiveness: Narrative and Lyrical
2010 Antony Duff To Whom Must We Answer? Responsibility, Community and Criminal Law
2009 Miranda Fricker Knowledge and Prejudice
2008 Professor Jonathon Glover Uprootedness, Narratives and National Conflict
2006 Professor Susan Mendus Terrorism and Religion
2005 Professor Susan Neiman Moral Clarity
2004 Stephen Mulhall The Conversation of Mankind
2003 Professor Simon Critchley "I want to die, I hate my life": Phaedra's Malaise
2002 Professor Ray Monk A Wonderful Life: Philosophy and Biography
2001 Professor Avishai Margalit A Moral Witness
2000 Professor Christine M. Korsgaard Human Action and Normative Standards

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