The Gavin David Young Lectures in Philosophy

The Gavin David Young Lectures bring a distinguished philosopher to the University of Adelaide to deliver a public lecture for the promotion, advancement, teaching and diffusion of the study of philosophy. The next lecture will be delivered by Professor Jeanette Kennett on November 23, 2022.

The lecture owes its existence to a bequest made by Jessie Frances Raven in memory of her father, the late Gavin David Young. The first lecture in this distinguished series was delivered in 1956 by Gilbert Ryle, and subsequent lecturers have included W V O Quine, Donald Davidson, David Lewis, Daniel Dennett, Hilary Putnam, and Frank Jackson, among other distinguished philosophers.

From 2022 the lecture will take place not less than biennially. After being presented, each lecture is revised and the text subsequently published open access as an issue of The Gavin David Young Lectures in Philosophy.

The lectures are administered and published by the Department of Philosophy on behalf of the University of Adelaide. We acknowledge the support of the School of Humanities in the Faculty of Arts, Business, Law, and Economics.


Gavin David Young

Gavin David Young arrived in South Australia in 1848 not long after the founding of the colony. He became prominent in business circles including mining (as Director of the Wallaroo and Moonta Companies), banking, and shipping. His role in the Yorke Penninsula copper miners strike of 1864 is documented in Peter Bell (1998) ‘The power of respectful remonstrance: the Wallaroo and Moonta miners’ strike of 1864’, Journal of the Historical Society of South Australia 26: 55–68.

The 13th Gavin David Young Lecture in Philosophy will be presented by Professor Jeanette Kennett from Macquarie University.

Poverty and Blame

In contemporary Western societies, poverty is often framed as a choice, or as the outcome of poor choices, for which the individual may fairly be held accountable and blamed. People dependent on income support may be depicted as lazy, manipulative, weak or impulsive, and as taking advantage of honest taxpayers. Their every spending decision is considered ripe for scrutiny and criticism. Assumptions about poor choice-making and poor character, implicit and explicit, inform policies directed at people living in poverty, including mutual obligation requirements and forced control of expenditure via cashless debit cards. These measures are experienced as punitive and as undermining the agency and autonomy of the individual to whom they are applied.

How can philosophical work on blame, responsibility, and punishment help to analyze and evaluate the moral impacts of poverty and the policies and discourse surrounding it? And how might an understanding of the impact poverty has on the choice-making and capacities of those affected by it force us to re-evaluate those theories?

The lecture will take place on Wednesday 23rd November 2022 on the North Terrace Campus in the Napier Building, room 102. The lecture will commence at 5:30pm.

About the Lecturer

Professor Jeanette Kennett, FAHA FASSA, is a professor in Philosophy at Macquarie University, Sydney. Her work addresses debates in moral psychology, ethics of friendship, and neuroethics. She joined Macquarie in 2009 as a CoRE joint appointment between the Philosophy Department and the Macquarie Centre for Cognitive Science. Previously she had been Principal Research Fellow in The Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the Australian National University and Charles Sturt University, and at Monash University. She is the author of Agency and Responsibility: a Common-sense Moral Psychology as well as dozens of articles and book chapters. More information about Jeanette can be found at

The Gavin David Young Lectures in Philosophy (ISSN 2653-5378) is a peer-reviewed online open access journal devoted to publishing articles based on the titular lectures. Publication is by invitation only; we do not accept unsolicited manuscripts. Antony Eagle is the current editor of the published lectures.

The first issue in the rejuvenated series is to be published on this website in 2023.

Year Topic Previous lecturers
1956 Thinking Gilbert Ryle
1959 Terms and Objects
Quine’s lectures were subsequently published in Willard Van Orman Quine (1960) Word and Object, Cambridge MA: The MIT Press.
Willard Van Orman Quine
1963 The Pressuppositions of Immortality Antony Flew
1965 Towards a Philosophy for Our Age of Science Herbert Feigl

Agency and Causality
Davidson’s lectures were based on drafts of material subsequently published in Donald Davidson (1980) Essays on Actions and Events, Oxford: Oxford University Press

Donald Davidson
1971 The Paradoxes of Time Travel
An abridged version of Lewis’ lecture was published as David Lewis (1976) ‘The Paradoxes of Time Travel’, American Philosophical Quarterly 13(2): 145–52. The full lectures are to be published in David Lewis (2022) Philosophical Manuscripts, Frederique Janssen-Lauret and Fraser Macbride, eds., Oxford: Oxford University Press.
David Lewis
1979 Science and Rationality: Analytics vs Pragmatic Perspectives
The manuscript of Hempel’s lectures are in Series 3, Subseries 5 of the Carl Gustav Hempel Papers, 1903-1997, ASP.1999.01, Archives of Scientific Philosophy, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System.
Carl G Hempel
1984 Conscious Experience and Intentionality
Dennett’s lectures were subsequently published in Daniel Dennett (1987) The Intentional Stance, Cambridge MA: The MIT Press
Daniel C Dennett
1987 Our Place in the Universe
Smart’s lectures were subsequently published as J J C Smart (1989) Our Place in the Universe, Oxford: Blackwell.
J J C Smart
1998 Mind and Body
Audio recordings of Putnam’s lectures; another version of ‘Non-Scientific Knowledge
Hilary Putnam
2012 Philosophy for Representationalists
Frank Jackson