Featured Talks

The opening address to the 2013 AAP New Zealand Conference will be given by Prof Stephen Davies (Auckland) on Sunday, 8 December (6pm, Owen G Glenn Building, level 0, Lecture Theatre 5). Stephen will be introduced by Prof Rosalind Hursthouse. The address will be followed by the conference reception.

Prof Stephen Davies
The adorned and adorning species

When we ask what makes our species, Homo sapiens, distinctively human, we might think of language, art, or religion, but we're unlikely to suggest that our propensity for adornment is near the top of the list. We prefer to think of ourselves as the clever, high-minded species, rather than as the one that paints its face or decks out its hair with feathers. Nevertheless, I'll argue that we can be rightly characterised as the ornamented and ornamenting species. Our inclination to be embellishers is both deeply ingrained in and distinctive to our human nature, no less so and no less importantly than other icons of human life and thought.

On Tuesday, 10 December (7pm, General Library, basement, Theatre B10), Dr Karen Jones (Melbourne) will give this year's Robert C. Solomon Lecture at The University of Auckland to which conference guests are warmly invited. Karen will be introduced by the Philosophy Department's HoD Tim Dare. The lecture will be followed by a small reception.

Dr Karen Jones
In praise of (selective) untrustworthiness

Trustworthiness does not rate a mention on classical lists of the virtues. Loyalty, trustworthiness’s close relative and a ground on which trustworthiness can be demanded, is on many classical lists, but it is nowadays treated with suspicion as a virtue that makes sense only in stratified societies where it functions to keep the serf in his place and the wife in hers. In this talk, I argue that trustworthiness is rightly omitted from the list of virtues. I do this by exploring the mixed roles of trustworthiness norms in social practices. These norms function as backstop against failures of commitment to rightly endorsed principles of action. In addition, they lie behind the normativity of many conventions and of some shared intentions. However, they are also a mechanism whereby any regularity in the behaviour of others can come to be seen as something owed to those who go ahead and count on them. In this way, they can reinforce relations of dominance and subordination. The talk concludes with an investigation into who owes trustworthiness to whom, and under what conditions. It offers a defense of selective "trust busting."