"Philosophical theory and the justification of terrorism" by Prof Tony Coady

Past Event

29 May 2012, 4:00pm - 5:30pm

Lecture Theatre, Oxford Martin School
34 Broad Street (corner of Holywell and Catte Streets), Oxford, OX1 3BD


This seminar is hosted by the Institute for Science and Ethics

Abstract: Given the tactical approach to the meaning of terrorism set out in seminar one, what can we say of the moral assessment of resort to terrorist tactics? There is a widespread belief that terrorism can never be morally justified, though this is perhaps most strongly held about the practice of others and somewhat muted in expression about our own. But this belief is not widespread amongst philosophers; they have offered a variety of justifications for some terrorist acts. Their attempts will be examined and criticised.

Speaker: Professor Tony Coady, Professorial Fellow, Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, University of Melbourne

Biography: Tony Coady is one of Australia's best-known philosophers. He has an outstanding international reputation for his writings on epistemology and on political violence and political ethics. Coady's best known work, Testimony: a Philosophical Study (OUP, 1992), relates to the epistemological problems posed by testimony. In addition to his academic work, he is a regular contributor to public debate on topics having to do with ethical and philosophical dimensions of current affairs. A Professor of Philosophy at the University of Melbourne, he has served as the founding director of the Centre for Philosophy and Public Issues and the deputy director of the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics (CAPPE) and head of its University of Melbourne division. In 2005, he gave the Uehiro Lectures on practical ethics at Oxford University which were subsequently published in 2008 by Oxford University Press under the title Messy Morality: the Challenge of Politics. His most recent publication is Morality and Political Violence (CUP, 2008).