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The 2024 Jacobsen Lecture will be given by Professor Kieran Setiya (MIT)

The Myth of Self-Interest

That morality and self-interest conflict is a dogma of modern moral philosophy. This talk will argue that the dogma is confused, not because morality coincides with self-interest but because the putative concept of self-interest in moral philosophy originates in confusion—a critique of ancient ethics in the early modern period according to which subjective theories of well-being (in term of pleasure or desire) must be good theories of something. The upshot of the argument is radical: that the language of “self-interest” in modern moral philosophy has no meaning.

Kieran Setiya teaches philosophy at MIT, working mainly in ethics, epistemology, and the philosophy of mind. He is the author of Practical Knowledge, Reasons without Rationalism, and Knowing Right From Wrong.

The Jacobsen Lecture

The Jacobsen Lecture was established in the 1980s following a donation to the University from Mr J. A. B. Jacobsen. Along with the Lecture, Mr Jacobsen also funded the creation of a research fellowship and an essay prize which are all on the subject of philosophy. The Jacobsen trust funds are based at the Institute of Philosophy within the School of Advanced Study. The funds are overseen by the Jacobsen Committee which is comprised of academics from Philosophy Departments across the University of London Colleges. 

Attendance is free of change but registration is required. Please register using the button above.