BHA: Bentham lecture 2012: Perverting Trust


Bentham lecture 2012: Perverting Trust

Date Tues 20th November

Time Doors open at 6.30pm for a 6:45pm start – 8.30pm (followed by a drinks reception)

Venue Anatomy G29 J Z Young LT, UCL, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT

Speaker(s) Baroness O'Neill

Chair Peter Cave

Introduction by Andrew Copson

Ticket prices Free

Partners The Bentham Lecture is organised by the Humanist Philosophers' Group with support from the British Humanist Association and the Philosophy Department at University College London.

Volunteers and staff Filming Audio
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5:30pm   Set up
6:30pm   Speakers arrival (green room?)
7:00pm   Doors
7:30pm   Introduction
7:45pm – 8:30pm Lecture etc
8:30pm – 9:00pm  Q&A
9:30pm   Close and pack up

Requirements Tech (table and roaming mics, screen, projector, laptop, lectern, top table)
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The Bentham Lecturer for 2012 is Baroness Onora O’Neill. She has held distinguished positions, having been Principal of Newnham College Cambridge, Professor of Philosophy, University of Cambridge and President of the British Academy. Baroness O'Neill chaired the Nuffield Foundation from 1998-2010 and has been a member of the House of Lords since 1999, as an independent, non-party peer. She has served on Select Committees on Stem Cell Research, BBC Charter Review, Genomic Medicine, Nanotechnology and Food and Behavioural Change.

O'Neill has particular interests in the ethics of Immanuel Kant, in bioethics and justice. Her books include Faces of Hunger: An Essay on Poverty, Development and Justice (1986), Constructions of Reason: Explorations of Kant's Practical Philosophy (1989), Towards Justice and Virtue (1996) and Bounds of Justice (2000), Autonomy and Trust in Bioethics (2002), A Question of Trust (the 2002 Reith Lectures) and Rethinking Informed Consent in Bioethics (jointly with Neil Manson, 2007). She is currently working on trust and accountability in public life, and the ethics of


O'Neill has written widely on political philosophy and ethics, international justice, bioethics and the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. Her books include:

Rethinking Informed Consent in Bioethics (2007) (with Neil Manson)
Autonomy and Trust in Bioethics (2002) (The 2001 Gifford Lectures)
A Question of Trust: The BBC Reith Lectures 2002 (Cambridge University Press, 2002)
Bounds of Justice (2000)
Towards Justice and Virtue (1996)
Constructions of Reason: Exploration of Kant's Practical Philosophy (1989)
Faces of Hunger: An Essay on Poverty, Development and Justice (1986)
Acting on Principle (1975)

Philosophical views

Across various works, O'Neill has defended and applied a constructivist interpretation of Kantian ethics heavily influenced by John Rawls, emphasizing the importance of trust, consent and respect for autonomy in a just society. She has written extensively about trust, noting "that people often choose to rely on the very people whom they claimed not to trust" and suggesting that we "need to free professionals and the public service to serve the public…to work towards more intelligent forms of accountability…[and] to rethink a media culture in which spreading suspicion has become a routine activity".[2]

Honors and distinctions

She has been president of the Aristotelian Society (1988 to 1989), a member of the Animal Procedures Committee (1990 to 1994), chair of Nuffield Council on Bioethics (1996 to 1998), a member and then acting chair of the Human Genetics Advisory Commission (1996 to 1999) and a member of the select committee on BBC Charter Review. She is presently chair of the Nuffield Foundation (since 1997), a trustee of Sense About Science (since 2002), a trustee of the Ditchley Foundation, and a trustee of the Gates Cambridge Trust. She also served as President of the British Academy between 2005 and 2009. She is on the Advisory Board of Incentives for Global Health, the NGO formed to develop theHealth Impact Fund proposal.

She was made a Life peer as Baroness O’Neill of Bengarve, of The Braid in the County of Antrim in 1999, and in 2007 was elected an honorary FRS.[3] She is also a Foreign Hon. Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1993) and the Austrian Academy of Sciences (2002), a Foreign Member of the American Philosophical Society(2003), and Hon. Member Royal Irish Academy (2003), a Foreign Member of the Leopoldina (2004) and the Norwegian Academy of Sciences (2006)[4] and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences.[5] She is an elected fellow of the Hastings Center, an independent bioethics research institution. [6]. In 2004 she was awarded an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Letters) from the University of Bath. She is a Distinguished Senior Fellow of the School of Advanced Study, University of London, an honour awarded in 2009.