John Locke Lectures (Tuesday - Week 1, HT23)

susan wolf

The Faculty is most delighted to welcome Susan Wolf as the first John Locke lecturer of 2023. Susan is the Edna J. Koury Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and will give a series of lectures originally planned for Trinity Term 2020, but delayed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The lectures will take place at 5pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in weeks 1 to 3 of Hilary Term 2023 (17, 18, 24, 25, 31 January and 1 February), at The HB Allen Centre, 25 Banbury Road, Oxford. 


Since at least the seventeenth century, philosophers have distinguished membership in the species homo sapiens from moral personhood, a category which they take to be of considerable ethical and practical significance. But there are other nonbiological features that are of ethical and practical significance as well, suggesting that there is an ethical, non-biological conception of humanity that is different from the standard philosophical understanding of moral personhood. After reflecting on the benefits and dangers of focusing attention on the idea of “the distinctively human,” the lecture explores the variety of features and capacities that distinguish “selves like us” from other animals, artificially intelligent machines, and possibly imaginary divine and extraterrestrial rational individuals.  


Lecture 1: On being distinctively human

Lecture 2: Aesthetic Responsibility

Lecture 3: Character and Agency

Lecture 4: Criticizing Blame

Lecture 5: Freedom for humans