College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Lecture 1 - Who Needs Heroes?

The first lecture in Professor Susan Neiman's Gifford Lectures

Event details

Date: Monday 2 May 2022, 5.30pm to 6.30pm

Venue: Lecture Theatre A, 40 George Square

Lecture abstract

This lecture will introduce the main themes, discuss the history of modern writing about heroes and the 20th century turn to making the victim the main subject of history.  It will examine various kinds of skepticism about heroes and begin to give criteria for judging someone to be heroic.  The last five lectures will exemplify the kind of analysis that grounds a judgment of heroism by portraying five heroes.  Such fine-grained analysis is needed in order to answer one standard charge often raised against the concept of heroism:  “One person’s freedom fighter is another person’s terrorist.”  The lectures will show that while there are no necessary and sufficient criteria to determine a hero, it is possible to make reasoned arguments about them

Lecture video