Mr Duncan Robinson, former Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, delivered the 2007 Isaiah Berlin Lecture. In this edited extract he describes some of the challenges that museums face today.
The whole article can be downloaded as a PDF file.
Published in British Academy Review, Issue 11 (July 2008).
Isaiah Berlin Lecture, delivered by Professor Lord Parekh FBA, on 2 April 2008.
The nature of the relation between reason and identity lies at the heart of moral and political philosophy. In the dominant view that goes back to Plato, reason is seen as an impersonal and transcendental faculty. It is abstracted from the individuality and social affiliations of the moral agent, and expected to deliver universally valid judgements about the good life and the right course of action. This view ignores the vital role of identity in human life, and the way it influences the range of reasons the moral agent considers relevant and finds persuasive. While a well considered theory of reason needs to take full account of individual identity, it runs the risk of placing identity outside the ambit of rational scrutiny and severely limiting the role of reason in moral and political life. This lecture explores ways of resolving the tension between reason and identity.
Jérôme Adda and Francesca Cornaglia discuss a more precise way of measuring the impact
of smoking bans on passive smoking, and report some surprising conclusions. (Dr Cornaglia gave a presentation on this topic at the British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship Symposium in April 2008.)
In the last issue [No. 10, 2007], Professor John Kay FBA reported on a British Academy review of the impact that copyright has on research in the humanities and social sciences. Here he brings us up to date with an important collaboration with the Publishers Association which is designed to clarify the legal complexities for authors and publishers.