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John M Kelly Memorial Lecture

Baroness Onora O’Neill: ‘'Philosophical views on judgement”

UCD Sutherland School of Law is delighted to welcome renowned philosopher Baroness Onora O’Neill to deliver the next John M. Kelly Memorial Lecture.

Date: 29 March 2023

Title: "Philosophical views on judgement"

Time: 6pm Registration (Tea/Coffee), Lecture starts at 6.30pm sharp

Venue: A&L Goodbody Theatre (L023), UCD Sutherland School of Law

Register: (opens in a new window)At this link 

Note: All are welcome to attend this event but due to limited capacity, pre-registration is required.

Baroness O’Neill of Bengarve CH CBE FBA Hon FRS FMedSci MRIA

Onora O’Neill comes from Northern Ireland and was educated in London before attending university in Oxford and Harvard, where she completed a PhD under the supervision of John Rawls.  She has taught at various universities in the US and the UK, and was Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge from 1992 to 2006.  She combines writing on political philosophy and ethics with a wide range of public activities. She chaired the Nuffield Foundation from 1998-2010 and was President of the British Academy from 2005-9. She has been a crossbench member of the House of Lords since 1999. She has served on House of Lords  Select Committees on Stem Cell Research, BBC Charter Review, Genomic Medicine, Nanotechnology and Food, Behavioural Change and Political Polling and Digital Media. 

She has published Acting on Principle (second edition 2013), 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), Bounds of Justice (2000), Autonomy and Trust in Bioethics (2002), A Question of Trust (the 2002 Reith Lectures), Rethinking Informed Consent in Bioethics (jointly with Neil Manson, 2007),  Constructing Authorities: Reason, Politics and Interpretation in Kant's Philosophy, (2016);  Justice Across Boundaries: Whose Obligations? (2017), From Principles to Practice (2018) and A Philosopher Looks at Digital Communication (2022) as well as numerous articles in philosophical journals and on public affairs.  She currently works on practical judgement and normativity; conceptions of public reason and of autonomy; trust and accountability; the ethics of communication, and on Kant’s philosophy.    

She has been awarded the Kant Prize, the Holberg Prize and the Berggruen Prize.

(opens in a new window)Register now to attend this lecture by Baroness O'Neill. 

Abstract for: "Philosophical Views on Judgement" 

Some recent and distinguished work on judgement has argued that it is typically flawed not because it is invariably biased, but because even where there is no detectable bias judgement is too variable so is unreliable. This looks like a serious criticism. If indeterminacy is a flaw, it may affect and mar judgements not only when part of legal and other formal proceedings, but when made by every sort of expert and by each of us in innumerable contexts. I shall argue that indeterminacy is indeed a feature both of practical and of theoretical judgement of all sorts, but that it is indispensable because judgement typically has to take account of a plurality of features of situations. Since circumstances alter cases, there can be no algorithms for judgement. Onora O’Neill March 2023

John M. Kelly Memorial Lecture

The lecture series honours the memory of the late John M. Kelly (1931 – 1991) and has been hosted by the UCD School of Law for more than 20 years.

John M. Kelly was born in Dublin and educated at Glenstal Abbey, UCD, Heidelberg University, Oxford University and the King’s Inns. He studied a number of law courses and qualified as a barrister. He was a fellow and a lecturer at Trinity College Oxford from 1961-65; Professor of Roman Law and Jurisprudence at UCD from 1965; and also edited The Irish Jurist from 1966-73.

As an expert in constitutional law, he had various law publications including: Fundamental Rights in Irish Law, Constituting Roman Litigation, Studies in Civil Jurisprudence of the Roman Republic and The Irish Constitution. John Kelly was elected to Seanad Eireann in 1969 and subsequently served as TD for Dublin South from 1973 - 1989, when he retired from politics. He served as a Junior Minister in the 70s and subsequently as Attorney General, acting Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Trade and Tourism.

John M. Kelly died suddenly on January 24, 1991 aged 59 years.

UCD Sutherland School of Law

University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.