Inaugurated in 2019, the Munich Lectures in Ethics are the flagship event of the Munich Center for Ethics and quickly becoming one of the major international events in the humanities at LMU. Although the Munich Lectures in Ethics are held as a biannual series, the individual lectures are standalone events covering a broad range of topics in ethics and practical philosophy. Over the course of three days, outstanding international scholars such as Philipp Kitcher (speaker of 2019), Onora O’Neill (2021 speaker) and Susan Wolf (confirmed for 2023), share new work on a topical issue. After their last lecture, they are joined by distinguished commentators from the top of their field, who will offer a critical contribution each. The individual lectures as well as the comments and replies are subsequently published by Oxford University Press.
The 2021 Munich Lectures in Ethics will be held virtually from May 25 to May 27.
Over the course of these three days, main speaker Baroness Onora O’Neill, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Cambridge University, will give three lectures on the topic „Why Human Rights Are Not Enough“.
On May 27, she will be joined by the distinguished commentators Professor Laura Valentini (LMU), Professor Jeremy Waldron (NYU) and Professor Stefan Gosepath (FU Berlin), who will present their comments on her work. The lectures and comments will subsequently be published by Oxford University Press.
Since antiquity European discussions of justice, and more broadly of ethics, have mainly addressed the question ‘What ought we do?’ and focused on a wide range of duties of differing types. However, from the early 20th century this traditional emphasis on duties was quite widely questioned and set aside. Since mid-century many approaches to ethical questions have addressed the narrower question ‘What is each person entitled to?’ and have focused on respect for human rights and the limited range of duties they require. In this year’s Munich Lectures, Prof. O’Neill will speak about how the shift from treating duties as fundamental to treating rights as fundamental has led to a narrowing of ethical discussion. Human rights matter, but also raise difficult issues which arise because the interpretation and application of human rights rely on ethical and epistemic requirements that do not lie within the canonical lists. Theories of human rights cannot stand alone because they do not offer a complete view of requirements of justice, let alone of wider ethical issues.