Anscombe and Aquinas: Perspectives on Virtue

Anscombe and Aquinas: Perspectives on Virtue

A joint research seminar

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Time: 2pm-4.30pm

Venue: Blackfriars, Oxford (OX1 3LY)

The Anscombe Bioethics Centre and the Aquinas Institute of Blackfriars, Oxford are holding a joint research seminar on 'Anscombe and Aquinas: Perspectives on Virtue'. This seminar seeks to explore the relationship between action theory and virtue ethics, particularly through the philosophical thought of Thomas Aquinas and Elizabeth Anscombe. Contemporary questions relating to the nature of action and virtue will be addressed, such as whether there are types of actions that are intrinsically good and whether virtues are causally efficacious traits. All are welcome.

There will be two papers given at this seminar, each followed by discussion:

  • Janice Chik (Visiting Scholar, Aquinas Institute): ‘Action Descriptions and the Specification of Goodness: Contemporary Development of bonum ex integra causa

  • Michael Wee (Education and Research Officer, Anscombe Bioethics Centre): ‘Are Virtues Mental Causes? Addressing the Situationism Debate’

Registration is free:

For all enquiries: / 01865 610 212

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Seminar on Act Omissions and Two-Way Powers, Oxford (The Mereology of Potentiality Research Programme)

Looking forward to giving a seminar paper next week at Corpus Christi College, Oxford: ‘Are Act Omissions the Exercise of Two-Way Powers?’ With thanks to Dr. Anna Marmodoro for inviting me and convening this meeting in the Faculty of Philosophy.

John and Daria Barry Fellowship at University of Pennsylvania

I’m excited to announce that I’ll be moving to University of Pennsylvania for a one-year position as the John and Daria Barry Fellow in the Program for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society (PRRUCS). I will be conducting original philosophical research with recourse to the newly-established Anscombe Archives at Penn Library’s Kislack Center for Special Collections.

The University of Pennsylvania’s Program for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society (PRRUCS) and College of Liberal and Professional Studies (LPS) are very pleased to announce the apppointment of the John and Daria Barry Foundation Fellow and the James N. Perry Scholar of Philosophy, Politics, and Society.  

Dr. Janice Tzuling Chik, presently an assistant professor of Philosophy at Ave Maria University, has been appointed to serve as the John and Daria Barry Foundation Fellow for Academic Year 2019-2020.  Dr. John Peter DiIulio (C’12), presently the Thomas W. Smith Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Princeton University, has been appointed to serve as the James N. Perry Scholar for the next three academic years.  

Dr. Chik earned her Ph.D in Philosophy at the University of Saint Andrews and was a Visiting Research Scholar at Oxford University.  Dr. DiIulio earned his Ph.D  in Political Science at Princeton University, where he has been a Fellow of both the James Madison Program in American Ideals & Institutions and the University Center for Human Values.  Dr. Chik is presently working on a book with the (tentative) title “The Unity of Action: A Metaphysics of Agency.”  Dr. DiIulio is presently working on a book with the (tentative) title “Liberal Sentiments: A Unified Ethical, Moral, and Political Theory of John Stuart Mill.”  

Last year, through the support and generosity of Mr. James N. Perry (C’82), a member of the Penn School of Arts and Sciences Board of Overseers, and Dr. Matthew O’Brien of the Collegium Institute, and through a collaboration between the Penn Department of Philosophy and PRRUCS, the archive of G.E.M. (Elizabeth) Anscombe was transferred to the Penn Library's Kislak Center for Special Collections, where it will be housed and studied through June 2022.  

Anscombe (1919-2001), an analytic philosopher who is widely regarded as one of the most important philosophers of the twentieth century, was part of the famous Oxford University scholarly circle that included Phillipa Foot, Mary Midgley, and Iris Murdoch, and served as an Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at Penn (1968-1980). 

Along with PRRUCS-supported Philosophy Department Scholars, over the next several years the Barry Fellow and the Perry Scholar will dedicate substantial portions of their time to research, writing, events, and symposia related to the Collegium Institute Anscombe Archive at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Perry Scholar will also teach several LPS courses.

New book: Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Contemporary Science


This promises to be a solid new contribution for those interested in Aristotelian metaphysics, hylomorphism, substance causation, and other related topics. It’s also a bit of shameless self-promotion, since I have a chapter of my own featured (’Action, Animacy, and Substance Causation’).

The contributors include: John Haldane, Xavi Lanao, Nicholas Teh, Edward Feser, Robert Koons, Alexander Pruss, William Simpson, Tuomas Tahko, Christopher Austin, Anna Marmodoro, David Oderberg, Janice Chik, William Jaworski, and Daniel De Haan.

Available for pre-order here.

Here’s the abstract, from the editors: ‘The last two decades have seen two significant trends emerging within the philosophy of science: the rapid development and focus on the philosophy of the specialised sciences, and a resurgence of Aristotelian metaphysics, much of which is concerned with the possibility of emergence, as well as the ontological status and indispensability of dispositions and powers in science. Despite these recent trends, few Aristotelian metaphysicians have engaged directly with the philosophy of the specialised sciences. Additionally, the relationship between fundamental Aristotelian concepts―such as “hylomorphism”, “substance”, and “faculties"―and contemporary science has yet to receive a critical and systematic treatment. Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Contemporary Science aims to fill this gap in the literature by bringing together essays on the relationship between Aristotelianism and science that cut across interdisciplinary boundaries. The chapters in this volume are divided into two main sections covering the philosophy of physics and the philosophy of the life sciences. Featuring original contributions from distinguished and early-career scholars, this book will be of interest to specialists in analytical metaphysics and the philosophy of science.’