Graduate opportunity: Masterclass with Onora O'Neill

Publisert 07.04.2017
The Holberg Prize is offering scholarships for five Nordic PhD students to participate in the 2017 Masterclass with Onora O'Neill on "Judgement and Interpretation". The event takes place during the Holberg Week, 6 June, in Bergen. Application deadline: 1 May.

Nordic PhD students can now apply to participate in an exclusive Masterclass with Holberg Laureate 2017, Onora O’Neill, in Bergen on June 6th, 2:00 p.m.– 4:00 p.m.. Transportation and accommodation will be covered, and the participants are also invited to take part in the official Holberg Week Program from June 6th-9th.

Baroness Onora O’Neill was Principal of Newnham College and is Honorary Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge. She receives the Holberg Prize 2017 for her influential work in ethics and political philosophy, and in particular, on the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. Professor O’Neill also plays an active role in public life as a crossbench member of the House of Lords, and she takes active part in public debate on questions ranging from bioethics, human rights and criminology.

Key questions: How much can we say about good and poor judgement or interpretation, whether in law or in literature, in politics or in everyday life? Is judgement a matter of applying accepted principles, or rules, or laws to actual cases? Or of selecting or finding (the right) principles, rules or laws for interpreting a given case? Or of acting in ways that embody a given principle, rule or law? When and why does judgement appeal to authority? Can judgement resolve the indeterminacy of principles, rules or laws? If it cannot, does this matter?

Preparation: Because the literature is large and diffuse, we suggest that you read very selectively and prepare a short critical analysis (one that you can present in 5-10 minutes) of an account of judgment or interpretation in a field in which you usually work. For example you might look at claims about balancing or proportionality in legal judgements, or at the role of appeals to authority and precedent in textual interpretation or judicial decisions, or at the respective role of principles and judgment in making ethical decisions, at the conception of judgement used in an area of applied ethics, or at the conception of aesthetic judgment. Alternatively, you might select an example—from life or from literature—of a judgment and offer an account of why it is an example of good or of poor judgment.  

Please submit a short account (a page, or a paragraph) about the type or instance of judgement or interpretation about which you will speak as part of your application, so that the other participants can start thinking about it. You may want to engage with one or another current debate that bears on your theme, such as discussions of particularism in ethics, jurisprudential debates about proportionality in interpreting the law, or the use of arguments from authority in interpreting Scripture, or the rejection of arguments from authority in (for example) literary criticism, or discussions of 'makers' judgements' in art. If you want to suggest any reading that seems relevant to your topic, please do so.

Some of Onora O'Neill's writing on Judgement of Interpretation is available here: Interpretation within the limits of reasonNormativity and practical judgement 07/04/17Practical principles and practical judgement in Bioethics 17/08/15

The discussion will take place in English.

Selected Background Reading:

  • Immanuel Kant. 2000. Critique of the Power of Judgement. Edited by Paul Guyer, translated by Paul Guyer and Eric Mathews. Cambridge University Press. (Look for comments on determining and reflecting (alternative translations: determinant, reflective)
  • Hans-Georg Gadamer. 2004. Truth and Method. Translated by Joel Weinsheimer and Donald G. Marshall. Bloomsbury Publishing.
  • Ronald Beiner. 2009. Political Judgment. Routledge.
  • Ludwig Wittgenstein. 2009. Philosophical  Investigations. Edited by P.M.S. Hacker and Joachim Schulte, translated by G.E.M. Anscombe, P.M.S Hacker and Joachim Schulte. Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Paul Ricoeur. 1986. The Symbolism of Evil. Translated by Emerson Buchanan. Beacon Press.
  • To be distributed: Onora O’Neill. 2016. Kant on Indeterminacy, Judgement and Interpretation (de Gruyter’s Lecture 2016, unpublished)

Apply for the Masterclass by sending a letter of motivation (max. 1 page) + CV to Deadline for applications: May 1st, 2017.

Use the same e-mail address if you have any questions.