Due to the ongoing pandemic, The Aristotelian Society will be holding its meetings online via Zoom until further notice.
To join the presentation and discussion period for each talk you will need to follow this link.
If you have any problems or concerns about the software, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. You do not need to have a Zoom account or to download anything in advance but we have found that the software works better on Google Chrome or Firefox, rather than other browsers. Please log into the “waiting room” at least 5 minutes in advance of each talk.
As the first talk for the 2021-22 Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, this year’s Presidential Address marks the official inauguration of Professor Robert Stern (University of Sheffield) as the 114th President of the Aristotelian Society. The Society’s President is elected on the basis of lifelong, exemplary work in philosophy. Please visit our Council page for further information regarding the Society’s past presidents.
The 114th Presidential Address will be chaired by Bill Brewer (KCL), the 113th President of the Aristotelian Society.
This paper deals with the issue of self-determination and agency in moral action. On the one hand, it seems that the moral agent should use their practical reason to identify what it is right for them to do, and act accordingly; on the other hand, this seems to leave little room for the agent to decide for themselves how to act, where this is often said to be a marker of freedom and how the will is exercised. In response to this difficulty, Ruth Chang has argued recently that at least some reasons themselves need to be seen as being created through an act of will. Looking at the work of Iris Murdoch, it is argued that this response is problematic. At the same time, it is also argued that Murdoch can provide a fruitful way of dealing with this problem through her account of the imagination. This gives a role to the will of the agent not in creating reasons, but in uncovering what is morally required of us in the first place, thereby locating the will within practical reasoning itself, and showing how the authority of the good can be made compatible with human freedom.
Robert Stern is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sheffield, where he has been since 1989. Prior to that he did his BA and PhD at Cambridge, and held a research fellowship at St John’s College Cambridge. His main research interests are in the history of philosophy – particularly Kant and Hegel, and also Kierkegaard, and more recently K. E. Løgstrup, Iris Murdoch, Emmanuel Levinas and Martin Luther. He connects these historical inquires with more systematic questions in metaphysics, epistemology and ethics, particularly topics such as realism vs idealism, the use of transcendental arguments, and the nature of moral obligation. His books include three works on Hegel; a collection of papers on Kant; a discussion of transcendental arguments; an investigation into Kant, Hegel and Kierkegaard on obligation; and a study of Løgstrup. He has been a Fellow of the British Academy since 2019, and has served on the Executive Committee of the Aristotelian Society and as President of the British Philosophical Association, and is currently chair of the Philosophy sub-panel for REF2021.
Due to the Covid-19 situation, The Aristotelian Society will be holding its meetings online via Zoom until further notice. To join the presentation and discussion period for each talk you will need to follow this link. If you have any problems or concerns about the software, please contact email@example.com. You do not need to have a Zoom account or to download anything in advance but we have found that the software works better on Google Chrome or Firefox, rather than other browsers. Please log into the “waiting room” at least 5 minutes in advance of each talk.
The Society’s philosophy talks take place every fortnight on Mondays throughout the academic year. Each talk starts at 17.30 and lasts for approximately an hour. The remainder of the time is dedicated to discussion, which ends at 19.15.
All of the Society’s philosophy talks are catered with fairtrade teas, coffees, and biscuits.
In line with the Society’s mission to make philosophy readily available to the general public, all talks are free and membership is not required.
Following over a century of tradition, draft papers for all the talks are available in advance. Please note that draft papers can only be cited with the authors permission (see below for final publication and subscription details). The draft paper for a talk is available approximately one week prior to its schedule delivery.
For the past 141 years, the Proceedings has featured widely respected papers delivered by a range of prominent philosophers, such as Alfred North Whitehead, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Bertrand Russell, A.J. Ayer, P.F. Strawson, Karl Popper, Elizabeth Anscombe, Bernard Williams, Hubert Dreyfus, Alexander Nehamas, and Onora O’Neill. Final drafts of the papers – including discussion notes and exemplary graduate papers – are published in the Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society.
The venue at Senate House is wheelchair accessible and there are disabled toilet facilities on the ground floor. If you require a disabled parking space, or a hearing loop, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org in advance, so that we can reserve these for you. Service animals are also welcome.