Anscombe Bioethics
Vatican Double Helix Staircase
Bioethics Centre

The Moral Philosophy of Elizabeth Anscombe.

Home | Programme | CFP | Venue | Visiting Oxford | Book

Programme and Speaker's Biographies     please note, this is a draft programme.

Speaker’s Biographies

Christopher Coope
Christopher Coope studied at Oxford where he had many tutorials with Elizabeth Anscombe. They discussed Wittgenstein. He was also able to attend lectures on moral philosophy by Philippa Foot. Subsequently he taught philosophy at the University of Leeds. He is the author of “Was Mill a Utilitarian?”, suggesting the answer No, and “Modern Virtue Ethics”, claiming that the subject went to the bad almost as soon as its name was invented. His article “The Doctor of Philosophy will See You Now” argues that applied ethics is on the whole little more than applied ignorance. “The Bad News of the Gospel”, considers Elizabeth Anscombe’s view of faith and reason. “Dodgy Passport, Fruitless Journey” raises the question whether any interesting sense can be made of the notion of spirituality. His book, Worth and Welfare in the Controversy over Abortion, has a limited aim: it attempts to remove certain obstacles which prevent people from appreciating the perfectly natural objection to the practice.

Fr Kevin L Flannery SJ
Fr Kevin L Flannery is from Cleveland, Ohio, and entered the Society of Jesus in 1977. He holds both an MA and a DPhil in philosophy from the University of Oxford. In 1992 he began teaching at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, serving as Dean of the Philosophy Faculty from 1999 until September of 2005; he continues now as Ordinary Professor of the History of Ancient Philosophy. His publications include Acts Amid Precepts: The Aristotelian logical structure of Thomas Aquinas’s moral theory (Catholic University of America Press/T & T Clark, 2001) and Christian and Moral Action (Institute for the Psychological Sciences Press, distributed by Catholic University of America Press, 2012). Action and Character according to Aristotle: The logic of the moral life is due to be published by Catholic University of America Press in the fall of 2013. His article “Being truthful with (or lying to) others about oneself” in the collection Aquinas and the Nicomachean Ethics (Cambridge University Press, edited by Tobias Hoffmann, Jörn Müller, and Matthias Perkams) is also due out in the fall.

Mary Geach
Mary Geach discussed with Elizabeth Anscombe (who was her mother) a draft of the first paper which Anscombe gave on the topic of contraception (in Toronto some time before Humanae Vitae was promulgated). Mary Geach went on later to study philosophy and psychology at Somerville, after Anscombe had left this her Oxford college and had taken up her chair in Cambridge. Geach followed Anscombe to Cambridge, and obtained her PhD there. The topic of her dissertation was the soul. She subsequently taught ethics in various academic institutions. She has given papers on Anscombe’s philosophy, and on various other topics at various conferences. She is a noted participant in the public debate about embryo adoption, a practice to which she is opposed. She is Anscombe’s literary heir, and she and her husband Luke Gormally have published three volumes of her posthumous papers, Human Life, Action and Ethics (2006); Faith in a Hard Ground (2008) and From Plato to Wittgenstein (2011), to which volumes Dr. Geach wrote the introductions.

Fr David Goodill OP
Fr David Goodill OP is currently vice-regent of Blackfriars Hall and Studium, Oxford, where he also teaches philosophy and moral theology. Originally from Altrincham, Cheshire, Fr Goodill has degrees in philosophy from the Universities of Cambridge and Manchester, and a license in theology from the Catholic University of Leuven. He has taught moral theology for eight years at St Mary’s College, Oscott, and was Hall Bursar of Blackfriars Hall and Studium. In addition to his teaching and administrative responsibilities Fr Goodill has worked on parishes in London, Greneda and Leicester, and was school chaplain at St Dominic’s Priory school in Stone. His academic interests include the works of Josef Pieper and the moral theology of Servais Pinckaers OP. Fr Goodill is also currently the Priory bursar of Blackfriars, Oxford.

Luke Gormally
Luke Gormally, born 1939 near Manchester. Philosophical studies under Jesuits (Heythrop Pontifical Athenaeum) and theological studies under Benedictines and Dominicans (Prinknash Abbey). First Research Officer of The Linacre Centre for Healthcare Ethics (1977-80), then Director of the Centre (1981-2000), and finally Senior Research Fellow (2001-2007), when simultaneously Research Professor, Ave Maria School of Law, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Married to Dr Mary Geach (daughter and literary executor of Elizabeth Anscombe); two adult children of the marriage. Engaged in recent years in archiving Anscombe’s papers and editing hitherto uncollected and unpublished papers of hers; three volumes published to date; Human Life, Action and Ethics (2006); Faith in a Hard Ground(2008) and From Plato to Wittgenstein (2011). Have edited and contributed to six other volumes and published about 60 papers mostly in the field of bioethics.

Edward Harcourt
Edward Harcourt is University Lecturer (CUF) in Philosophy at Oxford University and a Fellow of Keble College. He has published a number of articles on subjects including the moral emotions, neo-Aristotelianism and child development, the ethical dimensions of psychoanalysis, meta-ethics, Nietzsche's ethics, literature and philosophy, and Wittgenstein.

David Albert Jones
David Albert Jones is Director of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre and Research Fellow in Bioethics at Blackfriars Hall, Oxford. He read Natural Sciences and Philosophy at Cambridge, where he met Elizabeth Anscombe, and Theology at Oxford. He was made director of the Linacre Centre for Healthcare Ethics in 2001, and was subsequently appointed Professor of Bioethics and Director of the Centre for Bioethics and Emerging Technologies, at St Mary’s University College, Twickenham, where he remains a Visiting Professor. His book The Soul of the Embryo: An enquiry into the status of the human embryo in the Christian tradition (Continuum, 2004) was short-listed for the Michael Ramsey Prize. His other publications include Approaching the End: a theological exploration of death and dying (Oxford University Press, 2007) and Chimera’s Children: Ethical, Philosophical and Religious Perspectives on Human-Nonhuman Experimentation (Continuum, 2012).

Anselm Winfried Müller
Anselm Winfried Müller received his initial academic formation (1962 – 1965) at the University of Fribourg / Switzerland, studying for the PhD with I M Bochenski, and writing his philosophical dissertation on Ontology in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus (published in 1967). At the University of Oxford, he did research under the supervision first of A J P Kenny and later of G E M Anscombe, and held a lectureship at Balliol College (1965 – 1969). After temporary and visiting appointments he became Assistant Professor (1974 – 1979) and after habilitation (1978, thesis on Aristotle’s practical philosophy) Professor of Philosophy (1979 – 2007) at the University of Trier in Germany. He is a member of the Wittgenstein Trust, has held a Visiting Senior Research Fellowship (1998/99) at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and is now a regular Visiting Professor at the University of Chicago. His research and publications are chiefly in the areas of philosophy of mind and action, moral philosophy, bio-ethics, theory of rationality, and political philosophy.

Matthew B O’Brien
Matthew B O’Brien is a securities analyst with an investment advisory firm in Philadelphia, where he is also co-founder and chairman of the board of directors of the Collegium Institute, a new scholarly foundation that supports students and faculty at the University of Pennsylvania. Previously he served as a post-doctoral research fellow in the Matthew J Ryan Center, Department of Political Science, at Villanova University and also taught a lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at Rutgers University. He received an MA and PhD in philosophy from the University of Texas at Austin, and was a visiting post-graduate student in philosophy at Corpus Christi College in Oxford. Before arriving at UT Austin he studied classics in the post-baccalaureate program at the University of Pennsylvania and received an AB in philosophy and certificate in medieval studies from Princeton University.

Thomas Pink
Thomas Pink is Professor of Philosophy at King's College London. He works on metaphysics, ethics, philosophy of law and political philosophy and on late medieval and early modern philosophy. His publications include books on free will and the theory of action and articles on ethics, political philosophy and on early modern theories of natural law. He is the editor of a collection of Francisco Suarez's moral, legal and political writings for Liberty Fund, and of The Questions Concerning Liberty, Necessity and Chance for the Clarendon Edition of the works of Thomas Hobbes. His The Ethics of Action is forthcoming from Oxford University Press.

Duncan Richter
Duncan Richter grew up in Cheshire, and studied at Oxford University and Swansea University before moving to the United States to do his dissertation with Cora Diamond at the University of Virginia. He now teaches at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia. He is the author of Anscombe’s Moral Philosophy (Lexington Books, 2011), The A to Z of Wittgenstein’s Philosophy (Scarecrow Press, 2010), Why be Good?: A Historical Introduction to Ethics (Oxford University Press, 2008), Wittgenstein at His Word (Continuum, 2004), and Ethics After Anscombe: Post “Modern Moral Philosophy” (Kluwer, 2000).

Roger Teichmann
Roger Teichmann is Lecturer in Philosophy at St Hilda's College, Oxford. He works particularly on the philosophy of Elizabeth Anscombe, and more generally on ethics, mind and language. His publications include a Festschrift for Anscombe, Logic, Cause and Action (CUP 2000), The Philosophy of Elizabeth Anscombe (OUP 2008) and Nature, Reason and the Good Life (OUP 2011). He is currently writing a book the topic of which is Wittgenstein on thought and action.

José M Torralba
José M Torralba is Assistant Professor at the Department of Philosophy and Researcher of the projects “Natural law and practical reason” and “Emotional culture and identity” at the ICS-Institute for Culture and Society, Universidad de Navarra (Spain). He was visiting scholar at the University of Chicago (2010-2012). He specializes in action theory and moral philosophy, both in the continental and analytic traditions. He is the author of Acción intencional y razonamiento práctico según G E M Anscombe (Eunsa, Pamplona, 2005) and Libertad, objeto práctico y acción. La facultad del juicio en la filosofía moral de Kant (Olms, Hildesheim, 2009); he is also the co-editor of Natural Law: Historical, Systematic and Juridical Approaches (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle, 2008). He is currently involved in the project of translating into Spanish Intention and the Collected Philosophical Papers by G E M Anscombe. He is also interested in the possibility of liberal education in today’s university.

Candace Vogler
Candace Vogler is the David B and Clara E Stern Professor of Philosophy at the University of Chicago. She is the author of two books, Reasonably Vicious (Harvard, 2002), and John Stuart Mill's Deliberative Landscape (Routledge, 2001), and several articles. Her primary research and teaching interests are in moral philosophy, with special emphasis on questions about the rational foundations of morality. Her current project centres on taking up one of the challenges Elizabeth Anscombe issued to the field in 1958—the challenge of theorizing moral prohibition. Vogler hopes to develop the philosophic equipment needed for this task by drawing heavily from Aquinas and contemporary neo-Aristotelian work. Vogler did her doctoral work at the University of Pittsburgh.

Draft Programme 


3.00-6.00pm Graduate Seminar at Blackfriars with Craig Iffland (Notre Dame), Micah Lott (Boston College), Matthew Anderson (Oxford) and David Zapero (Sorbonne)
This seminar is co-hosted with Blackfriars Hall, Oxford and is sponsored by the Society for Applied Philosophy.


8.45-9.15 Registration

9.15-9.30 Formal Opening

9.30-10.00 Mr Christopher Coope: ‘On so-called mystical value’

10.00-10.30 Dr Roger Teichmann: ‘On being in good faith’

10.30-11.00 Discussion

11.00-11.30 Coffee break

11.30-12.00 Dr Matthew O’Brien: ‘On Obligation’

12.00-12.30 Prof Thomas Pink: ‘On Obligation’

12.30-1.00 Discussion

1.00-2.00 Lunch

2.00-2.30 Professor Duncan Richter: ‘On the conception of the

architectonic good’

2.30-3.00 Dr Jose Maria Torralba: ‘On morally neutral actions’

3.00-3.30 Discussion

3.30-4.00 Tea

5.00-6.00 Anscombe Memorial Lecture (venue: Mablethorpe Hall, St Hughes College, Oxford)

Professor Anselm Müller: ‘On the spiritual nature of man’

6.15-7.00 Reception

7.30-9.30 Banquet


9.30-10.00 Rev Professor Kevin Flannery SJ: ‘On lying’

10.00 -10.30 Professor Candace Vogler: ‘On promising’

10.30-11.00 Discussion

11.00-11.30 Coffee break.

11.30-12.00 Professor Luke Gormally: ‘On homicide’

12.00-12.30 Rev David Goodill OP: ‘On the just war’

12.30-1.00 Discussion.

1.00-2.00 Lunch

2.00-2.30 Dr Mary Geach: ‘On sexual ethics’

2.30-3.00 Professor David Albert Jones: ‘On the early human embryo’

3.00-3.30 Discussion

3.30-4.00 Tea

4.00-4.30 Dr Edward Harcourt: ‘On the moral formation of the child’

4.30-5.30 Discussion and closure.