World renowned philosophers gather at Notre Dame

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Winter 1-7-2008

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame, Sydney Campus

Publication Place



The University of Notre Dame Australia’s Sydney Campus last week presented the International Conference, Truth and Faith in Ethics.

The event had one of the most outstanding line-ups of international ethicists ever to gather in Australia.

For three days more than three-hundred people came to Notre Dame to hear world renowned philosophers address a range of topics concerning truth and faith in ethics.

Profs John Finnis (Oxford), Nancy Sherman (Georgetown), Robert George (Princeton), John Haldane (St Andrews), Julia Annas (Arizona), Raimond Gaita (London and ACU), Anthony O’Hear (Buckingham), Jude Dougherty (Catholic University of America) joined speakers from Notre Dame (Sydney and Fremantle Campuses) and other Australian universities.

On the first evening, Cardinal Pell presided over an Opening Reception. Guest speaker was Prof Robert George, one of the most influential voices in political and ethical thought in the USA today.

On the second evening Profs Haldane and Gaita, Chaired by Phillip Adams, debated, ‘Is God necessary for morality?’ in front of a sell out crowd of 800 at the Seymour Centre, Chippendale. An hour later the entire event was broadcast by Radio National.

Deputy Vice Chancellor and Dean of Philosophy and Theology, Hayden Ramsay commented, “The debate attracted an enormous Sydney audience. The atmosphere was terrific and the quality of discussion superb. We felt sorry for those who were turned away due to the sell-out.”

Other highlights of the Conference included a student panel where Notre Dame students were given the floor to question 12 minds at the forefront of ethical debate globally.

“I wanted to bring the very best to Sydney. What astonished me were the numerous ‘private’ sessions in which US and UK thinkers spent time voluntarily with our students. The whole occasion was an enormous team-effort from Notre Dame Sydney,” said Professor Ramsay.

Media contact:

Moira Saunders 02 8204 4407