The subject of the lecture:

‘The Urgency of Ethical Challenges Facing the World’

Introduction by The Hon. Barry Jones AC, Accountability Round Table:
Raimond Gaita (1946- ) is an outstanding, but controversial, moral philosopher who agonises over the state of the world. Born in Germany, son of Romulus Gaita, a Romanian metal worker, and Christine Dorr, a German teacher, his family migrated to Australia in 1950, and he grew up in central Victoria. Educated in Ballarat and Melbourne, he held chairs in moral philosophy at the Australian Catholic University and King’s College, London. His memoir Romulus, My Father (1998) won many awards and became an internationally admired film (2007). Justice and Hope (2023) is an important collection of his writings.

An English philosopher wrote of him:
“Those who are already familiar with Raimond Gaita’s work will not easily forget the seriousness with which he confronts his readers with stark examples of evil, and then with luminous examples of love and goodness – a confrontation that both elicits and challenges the real responses that give expression to our moral thinking, and a seriousness that exposes the shallowness of much moral theory and its remoteness from lived experience.

Professor Gaita: The most important moral challenges facing humanity, I believe, are the climate crisis, war in which nuclear weapons may be used, and the increasing fragility of democratic forms of government.

I wrote the following in the preface to Justice and Hope; Essays Lectures and Other Writings published last year:

“We have now far more reason to fear for the world than we had when I expressed that fear almost twenty years ago in an essay “Justice and Hope”. That is why I have dedicated the book that carries the name of that essay to my grandchildren, which, implicitly, is to all young people”

Within the book I wrote:

“More and more, I fear, knowledge of affliction and cruelty will test their understanding of what it means to share a common humanity with all the peoples of the earth, and to a degree almost too awful to imagine, their faith that the world is a good world despite the suffering and the evil in it. What can sustain that faith? I believe there are few questions more urgently in need of sober realism in their formulation and in the answers offered to them”.

Those questions continue to haunt me. The epigraph of Justice and Hope (2023) is a quote from Albert Camus: “I chose justice to remain faithful to the world.”

In this lecture, I will try to explain why of the many forms of justice, this is the deepest.

Melbourne Law School (MLS) and Accountability Round Table (ART) hope you can join us for this special lecture with Prof. Raimond Gaita.

Wednesday 8 May 2024, 6.30 pm

The Melbourne Law School, Lecture Theatre G08, 185 Pelham Street, Carlton


The ART is a non-partisan group of citizens with diverse backgrounds (journalists, lawyers, academics, former politicians, and judges) and extensive experience in parliament, government, and the courts. It is dedicated to improving standards of accountability, transparency, ethical behaviour, and democratic practice in government across Australia.

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