British Philosopher and Author A.C. Grayling Featured Speaker in Gilbert Ryle Lecture Series at Trent University


Members of the community welcome to attend annual Philosophy Department event running from September 20 to 23

Wednesday, September 15, 2010, Peterborough

Esteemed British philosopher and author A.C. Grayling, a professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck College and the University of London, and a supernumerary fellow of St. Anne's College, Oxford, is this year’s featured presenter for the annual Gilbert Ryle Lecture Series hosted by Trent University’s Philosophy Department from Monday, September 20 through Thursday, September 23, 2010.

“I am thrilled that Anthony Grayling – philosopher, leading public intellectual, and defender of human rights – is speaking at Trent,” said Dr. Moira Howes, chair of the Philosophy Department. “Grayling brings remarkable clarity to troubling issues of liberty and security. His arguments that civil liberties in Western democracies are seriously threatened serve as a chilling awakening for the uninitiated and a motivating reminder for the complacent. He defends civil liberties with elegance and vigour and anyone interested in human liberty should think about his views. Grayling’s lectures on “Forms of Liberty” are sure to enlighten, inform, and inspire action.”

During his time at Trent, Dr. Grayling will deliver four free, public lectures. The first, to be held on Monday, September 20 at 7 p.m. in the Science Complex Lecture Hall, Room 137, is entitled From Reformation to Reform: A Narrative of Concepts. This lecture, which provides an overview of the evolution of conceptions of liberty in the modern period from the 16th century, provides background to next three lectures in the series, which include:

Republican Liberty (Tuesday, September 21 at 7 p.m. in the Peter Gzowksi College Lecture Hall, Room 114), exploring the idea of free community as integral to both classical and early modern ideas of the right setting for the moral life; Rights as Defences and the Idea of Autonomy (Wednesday, September 22 at 7 p.m. in the Science Complex Lecture Hall, Room 137), a discussion of the way ideas of human rights and civil liberties serve as bulwarks for the moral autonomy of individuals; and Mill and Acton versus Security (Thursday, September 23 at 7 p.m. in the Peter Gzowksi College Lecture Hall, Room 114), demonstrating how the  emphasis in Mill and Acton on liberty is central to contemporary debates about individual and civil liberties, and are at odds with the imperatives of today's 'security state' ethos in the face of organised crime, terrorism and economic migration.

A.C. Grayling is author and editor of many books on philosophy and contemporary issues of pressing importance. Recent books include: Thinking of Answers, Ideas That Matter, To Set Prometheus Free, and Liberty in the Age of Terror. As one of the world’s leading intellectuals, Dr. Grayling regularly writes and broadcasts in the public media. His media contributions can be found in Literary Review, The Observer, The Economist, and the Times Literary Supplement. He broadcasts on BBC Radios 3, 4 and the World Service. Dr. Grayling has also worked to support world human rights with June Fourth, a human rights group for China, and with the UN. He is a fellow of the World Economic Forum and a member of its C-100 group on relations between the West and the Islamic world. He is also a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He has also served as a judge for the Booker Prize.

The Ryle Lecture Series
The Ryle Lectures were established by the Philosophy Department at Trent University in 1977 in memory of the late Professor Gilbert Ryle of Oxford University. They are made possible by a grant from the Franklin J. Matchette Foundation and by funds from an endowment established by members, alumni and friends of the Department. Each year the Ryle Lecture Series brings a distinguished philosopher to the University for lectures and informal meetings. Recent lecturers include Paul Boghossian, Nancy Fraser and Simon Blackburn.


For more information, please contact:
Kathy Fife, Philosophy Department, Trent University, (705) 748-1011 x 7166