Philosophy Society Lecture Series (Monday - Week 8, TT22)

philosophy society

Gossip is pervasive and wide-ranging. It lubricates and wrecks social relationships. Many people openly confess to loving it yet acknowledge that gossiping, while often gratifying, is, if not morally wrong, at least not quite right. Gossip has not received much attention in moral philosophy.

In this talk, Professor Cecile Fabre, fellow at All Souls, will argue that notwithstanding the fact that gossip often has beneficial effects, it is often wrong, on Kantian grounds. To that end, she will first provide an account of the phenomenon of gossip and of its value. She will then argue that two fairly standard arguments against gossip do capture some morally problematic features of gossip (to do with breach of trust and deception) but are under inclusive. The deeper underlying worry about gossip, she will go on to claim, is that it amounts to a particular kind of failure to treat others - be they gossipees or gossipers - as persons.

Join us to learn more about the philosophy of gossip – and don't forget to head to the pub with us afterwards for a (non-gossipy?) social!

NB: This is the talk that was originally going to be in 7th week. 

This event is open to all members of Oxford University and do not require prior registration. For more information please visit our Facebook page, or contact