"The meaning of “terrorism” and the meaning of terrorism" by Prof Tony Coady

Past Event

22 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: Many people think that definitions of “terrorism”, “terrorist act” and so on are unnecessary or impossible, but a suitably modest definition is surely needed given the conflicting and confusing definitions that are commonly employed explicitly or implicitly in so much public and theoretical debate, and which bedevil attempts at legal definition in the area of counter terrorism. Here, we will discuss various definitions, including my own, and I will use the latter to explore recent philosophical accounts of the broad social and political significance of terrorism.

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).