2023 Lectures: Thomas Hurka

Knowledge and Achievement: Their Value, Nature, and Public Policy Role

We were honoured to welcome Professor Thomas Hurka to Oxford to deliver the 2023 Annual Uehiro Lectures in Practical Ethics. All three lectures in the series, "Knowledge and Achievement: Their Value, Nature, and Public Policy Role", were well-attended and followed by insightful discussions.

The lectures took place on Monday 4 March, Wednesday 6 March and Friday 8 March 2024.

We wish to thank Professor Hurka for his thought-provoking lectures.

About the Speaker

Photograph of Thomas Hurka

Professor Thomas Hurka is currently Chancellor Henry N. R. Jackman Distinguished Professor of Philosophical Studies at the University of Toronto. He gained a B.Phil. and D.Phil. in Philosophy at University of Oxford University, after a B.A. at the University of Toronto.

Hurka has published on a number of topics, however his main area of research and teaching is moral and political philosophy, especially normative ethical theory. His writings focus on perfectionist moral theories: authored books include Perfectionism (OUP)  and Virtue, Vice, and Value (OUP). He has also discussed the justification of punishment, population ethics, nationalism, friendship, and the morality of war. 

In 2011, Professor Hurka published a non-academic book The Best Things in Life (OUP), about the many things – pleasure, knowledge, achievement, virtue, personal love – that can make life desirable. Later, in 2014, he published British Ethical Theorists From Sidgwick to Ewing (OUP), the first full historical study of an important strand in the development of modern moral philosophy. The book follows a series of British ethical theorists from the late nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century, who shared key assumptions that made them a unified and distinctive school.

Lecture resources



Lecture 1: Knowledge and Achievement as Organic Goods
Watch on YouTube https://youtu.be/wEyMqUtaRVg


Lecture 2: Degrees of Value in Knowledge and Achievement
Watch on YouTube https://youtu.be/cGIHedyRRuw


Lecture 3: Knowledge and Achievement as Public Policy Goals
Watch on YouTube https://youtu.be/WbY-KgCEIeI


Audio recording of the lectures can be found on our Uehiro Lectures Podcast Album: podcasts.ox.ac.uk


Link to a blog write up by Dr Joseph Moore (15 March 2024): blog.practicalethics.ox.ac.uk

OUP Book Series

Details of Professor Hurka's book for the Series will follow in due course.

Link to the Uehiro Series in Practical Ethics on the OUP website: http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/category/academic/series/philosophy/uspe.do