How Much Is Enough? Money and the Good Life

26 02 2014


On Friday 28 February 2014, the McDonald Centre will host a conference on How Much is Enough? In addition to the authors themselves, speakers will include Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, John Lloyd of the Financial Times, and Martin Kettle of the Guardian.

The conference will take place at Christ Church in the Blue Boar Lecture Theatre, and will run from 0900 to 1600. Admission is free on a first-come, first-served basis.

NEW Seminar Programme

In 1930 John Maynard Keynes predicted that, over the next century, income would rise steadily, people’s basic needs would be met, and no one would have to work more than fifteen hours a week. Why was he so wrong?

In How Much is Enough? The Love of Money and the Case for the Good Life (Penguin, 2012 and 2013), Robert and Edward Skidelsky argue that wealth is not—or should not be—an end in itself, but rather a means to the good life. Observing how far modern life has strayed from that ideal, and rejecting the claim that there is any single measure of human well-being—whether GDP or ‘happiness’—they analyse the good life into seven elements, argue that a healthy liberal society should promote them, and propose a set of policies to realise them.

Where’s the Virtue in the Humanities?

20 02 2014

Virtue and HumanitiesWhether in banks or on the battlefield, in the NHS or in national newspapers, the need for virtuous leadership is now patent. An education in the humanities is, in fact, an education in virtues that are at once intellectual and civic, underscoring its importance for non-economic public flourishing. Such moral formation would be much more effective, however, were it openly professed and discussed. But the predominant liberal ideal, aspiring to neutrality on the Good Life, tends to suppress such profession. How, then, can Liberal Humanities own up to – and promote – its public service as a matrix of civic virtue?

Tuesday 25th February 2014 | 13:00 – 14:00 (lunch from 12:45) 
Seminar Room, Radcliffe Humanities, Woodstock Road

Presenter:  Nigel Biggar, Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology, and Director of the McDonald Centre for Theology, Ethics, and Public Life, University of Oxford

Respondents:  Dr. Donald Drakeman (author of The Value of the Humanities)
Steven Biel, Executive Director of the Humanities Centre at Harvard University

Chair:  Jonathan Bate, Provost of Worcester College and Professor of English Literature at University of Oxford (author of The Public Value of the Humanities)

This seminar is part of “Humanities and the Public Good“, a special series of events bringing together leading scholars in the arts and sciences and influential figures beyond academia, to consider the role of the Humanities in addressing contemporary challenges.

Free and open to all, just turn up.
Visit for more information.

Paxman Begins WW1 Anniversary Lectures

23 01 2014

On Tuesday 21st of January, Jeremy Paxman gave the first of a series of lectures at Christ Church exploring the First World War. The Blue Boar Lecture Theatre and overflow seating were full to capacity long before the start of the lecture and many people were disappointed not to be able to get in.

Jeremy Paxman with Professor Nigel Bigger

Jeremy Paxman with Professor Nigel Bigger

2014 marks the one hundredth anniversary of the First World War, whose war dead still cascade down the north wall of the entrance to Christ Church Cathedral, and which continues to haunt the imagination of contemporary Britons, shaping our views of armed force, of authority, and of patriotism.

Read More…

Oh, What a Lovely War?

20 01 2014

Oh, What a Lovely War?Lecture Series, Hilary Term 2014

Jeremy Paxman, Great Britain’s Great War

Margaret MacMillan, Accident or Choice? The Outbreak of the First World War

Gary Sheffield, Victorious Donkeys? British Generals and Generalship of
the First World War Reconsidered

Nigel Biggar, 1914–1918: Was Britain Right to Fight?

Matthew Grimley, The War and English Religion

Holger Afflerbach, “If you do not want to see God’s hand in everything,
even in the most unbearable, you are lost.” Experiencing the First World War
Alongside Kaiser Wilhelm II

Michael Gove on Britain’s Involvement in the First World War

8 01 2014
Michael Gove

Michael Gove

Last week Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education, published a controversial article in The Daily Mail, decrying left-wing denigration of Britain’s involvement in the First World War. In it he praised Nigel Biggar’s “superb essay” in the September issue of Standpoint magazine. You may find Mr. Gove’s article here. And Nigel Biggar’s essay here.

Accepting Applications for Two Post-doctoral Fellowships

11 12 2013

The Faculty of Theology and Religion in the University of Oxford wishes to appoint the following:

Applications must be submitted by the University’s online application system no later than 12.00 noon on Thursday 16 January 2014.

Damian McBride: A Cautionary Tale

7 12 2013
What values did Damian McBride receive at Peterhouse, Cambridge?

What values did Damian McBride receive at Peterhouse, Cambridge?

STANDPOINT.  December 2013

In his latest STANDPOINT article, Nigel Biggar questions the “exaggerated regard for the freedom of the individual” in modern liberal society.  Biggar observes that radical moral individualism, when combined with multiculturalist ideology, tends to make institutions “morally tongue-tied.”  He insists that institutions, including British universities, must be able to own, to articulate, and to promote “common moral norms upon which their healthy functioning depends.”


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