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Ninth McCosh Lecture delivered by Baroness Onora O’Neill

Distinguished philosopher Baroness Onora O’Neill has delivered the ninth McCosh Lecture at Queen’s University’s Great Hall.

Baroness Onora O’Neill is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Cambridge and a former President of the British Academy. 

Taking as her subject “What Ought We Do?”, Baroness O’Neill argued that the discourse of human rights had tended to deflect attention away from matters of obligation and duty – a trend she hoped to correct.

Professor Richard English, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Internationalization and Engagement, chaired the Lecture, and commented: “Queen’s is proud to host these major Annual Lectures named after one of the University's most significant figures.

“Onora O'Neill, one of the world’s foremost intellectuals, delivered a brilliant Lecture, ranging widely over philosophical and legal aspects of human rights and duties. The quality of the ensuing debate reinforced the University’s role as a major setting for open academic and public discussion.”

The McCosh Lecture, organised by the University’s Religious Studies Research Forum working in partnership with the British Academy, is named in honour of James McCosh who was appointed to the Chair of  Logic and Metaphysics at Queen’s University in 1850. 

The Religious Studies Research Forum, chaired by Professor David Livingstone, Professor of Geography and Intellectual History, is an interdisciplinary grouping of scholars from across the University interested in exploring themes and issues relating to religion in culture and society. In addition to sponsoring the annual McCosh lecture, the Forum also organises the ‘Religion and Global Challenges’ seminars in the University.