SOAS University of London

Centre for the Study of Pakistan

Placing Trust Well

Baroness Onora O'Neill
Professor Onora O'Neill (Baroness O'Neill of Bengarve CBE FBA Hon FRS F Med Sci)

Date: 29 January 2014Time: 6:00 PM

Finishes: 29 January 2014Time: 8:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: Khalili Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: Lecture


Many public, journalistic and academic discussions of trust focus on empirical evidence of attitudes of trust and mistrust, but say little about trustworthiness.  From a practical point of view this is perverse.  We don’t need to assess how trusting others are.  We do need to judge whether others say what they mean and will do what they say, i.e. whether their claims and commitments are trustworthy.  Any serious and practical approach to trust, and in particular to what is often called (I think and hope to show that this is a misleading phrase) 'restoring trust' or ‘rebuilding trust’, needs to focus first on supporting trustworthiness in ways that are not counterproductive, and secondly on ways of providing intelligible and assessable evidence of that trustworthiness.

Speaker's Biography

Onora O'Neill has taught at various universities in the US and the UK. She was Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge from 1992 to 2006, President of the British Academy from 2005-09, and chaired the Nuffield Foundation from1998-2010. She currently chairs the Equality and Human Rights Commission and is on the board of the Medical Research Council. She has been a member of the House of Lords since 1999, and is an independent, non-party peer. She served on House of Lords Select Committees on Stem Cell Research, BBC Charter Review, Genomic Medicine, Nanotechnology and Food and Behavioural Change. 

She writes on ethics and political philosophy, with particular interests in conceptions of justice, in the philosophy of Immanuel Kant and in bioethics, and has published mainly in philosophical journals. Her books include Faces of Hunger: An Essay on Poverty, Development and Justice (1986), Constructions of Reason: Explorations of Kant's Practical Philosophy (1989), Towards Justice and Virtue (1996) and Bounds of Justice (2000), Autonomy and Trust in Bioethics (2002) and A Question of Trust (the 2002 Reith Lectures) and Rethinking Informed Consent in Bioethics (jointly with Neil Manson, 2007). She currently works on practical judgement and normativity; conceptions of public reason and of autonomy; trust and accountability; the ethics of communication (including media ethics), and on Kant’s philosophy.


Free and open to all

Organiser: Muslims, Trust and Cultural Dialogue, Centre for the Study of Pakistan

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