Shaun Gallagher to deliver the James Martineau Lecture 2024 (Hybrid)

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‘An Adventure in Ethics: The Virtue of the Virtual Self’: 2024 James Martineau Lecture, 14 March – Aurora Theatre, Hobart.

The 2024 James Martineau Lecture, March 14th at the Aurora Theatre, IMAS, Hobart (A hybrid event)
‘An Adventure in Ethics: The Virtue of the Virtual Self’ – Shaun Gallagher (Memphis)

In a series of lectures on Ethical Know-How, Francisco Varela explains that he is venturing ‘into the territory of ethical thought … Ethics is a new terrain for me, and what I have to say here must be taken in the sphere of adventure more than anything else’. On this adventure Varela is very much influenced by Hubert Dreyfus and his analysis of expertise. Similar to the way that Dreyfus attempts to formulate an ethical theory derived from his analysis of expertise, Varela attempts to do this based on his enactive principles. I’ll argue that, despite being inspired by Dreyfus’ account of expert practice and embodied coping, and retaining the term ‘ethical expertise’, Varela offered important correctives to the specific limitations that can be found in Dreyfus’s view. I’ll also argue that we can resolve some tensions in Varela’s account, and extend it to include a skillful form of deliberation that can play an important role in setting up environments or even rules of society, which through the enactive reciprocity of relations between agentive organism and environment, can facilitate our actions and make us who we are.