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The Fourth Georg Henrik von Wright Lecture: Professor Peter Hacker, “The Roots of Value”, 5 June 2018, Helsinki


Venue: University of Helsinki, Main building/Small Hall (Pieni juhlasali\Lilla festsalen), Fabianinkatu 33, 4th floor, 5 June 2018, 16.15-18.00 (4.15-6 pm). 


Professor Hacker’s abstract:

“Building upon G. H. von Wright’s classification and analysis of the varieties of goodness, I shall sketch the natural framework for the possibility of moral value and of the virtues. This includes the broad character of the world we inhabit and some of the characteristic features of human beings. These constitute the biological and psychological framework in which values and value concepts unfold. I examine the constraints upon what can constitute a morality for creatures such as ourselves.”

Peter Hacker is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Kent and Emeritus Research Fellow of St. John’s College, Oxford. He is the author, e.g., of Insight and Illusion, Wittgenstein’s Place in Twentieth Century Analytic Philosophy, The Passions: A Study of Human Nature and four Analytical Commentaries on the Philosophical Investigations (two together with G.P. Baker). He has also co-authored several books on neuroscience and philosophy.

The Georg Henrik von Wright Lecture 

The Georg Henrik von Wright Lecture is funded by a donation to the University of Helsinki made by the von Wright family 2013. It is intended as a recurring event with the purpose of promoting research and debate relating to the philosophical work of the Finnish philosopher Georg Henrik von Wright (1916–2003).

Professor Hacker will aso appear at the public debate "Neuroscience and Philosophy of Mind" at Think Corner, Helsinki (Yliopistonkatu 4), Monday 4 June 2018, 17.00-18.30 (5-6.30 pm). Other participants are professor Kai Kaila, docent Thomas Wallgren and doctoral student Pii Telakivi. The debate is chaired by professor Ilkka Niiniluoto. 

Additional information of both evidents is provided by Bernt Österman, Curator of the von Wright and Wittgenstein Archives at the University of Helsinki (WWA). Bernt.Osterman at helsinki.fi

Public event at Think Corner / Tiedekulma

Professor PETER HACKER (Oxford and Kent), professor Kai Kaila MA, docent Thomas Wallgren, Pii Telakivi and professor Ilkka Niiniluoto, June 4th, 17.00-18.30 (5-6.30 pm).

The debate about the implications of the recent advances in neuroscience for our understanding of human nature has been called one of the great debates of our times.

The questions that are raised have great intellectual appeal. They are often also accompanied by a strong moral fervour as when it is asked:

Who thinks, me or my brain?
Can machines feel pain?
What is the difference between declaring a person dead, euthanasia and murder in the case of prolonged coma?

Peter Hacker has been at the very forefront in contemporary philosophical debates about these matters since the 1980s. He is known especially for his arguments to the effect that many claims that have gained currency in the debates about the brain, the mind and persons are neither true nor false. According to Hacker persons feel pain and people think. If we attribute pain to the brain or thinking to machines we make grammatical errors. The result is nonsense; mere noise that is not even a candidate for truth or falsehood.

Professor Hacker will introduce the discussion. There will be comments by Kai Kaila, academy professor in neurophysiology, by Pii Telakivi, PhD student at the University of Helsinki working on the philosophy of mind and by Thomas Wallgren, director of the von Wright and Wittgenstein Archives. Ilkka Niiniluoto, emeritus of theoretical philosophy and a specialist in the philosophy of science will chair the session.

The event is organised by The von Wright and Wittgenstein Archives of the University of Helsinki.

On Tuesday June 5th at 16.15 (4.15 pm) professor Hacker will give the Von Wright Lecture in the Small Hall, Main Building (Pieni juhlasali) of the University of Helsinki.

Questions about both events may be addressed to Bernt Österman, bernt.osterman (a) helsinki.fi