Spreading Suspicion

This year's Reith Lecturer is Onora O'Neill. She became Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge, in l992 and has chaired the Nuffield Council on Bioethics and the Human Genetics Advisory Commission. She is currently chair of the Nuffield Foundation and she has been President of the Aristotelian Society, and a member of the Animal Procedures (Scientific) Committee. In 1999 she was made a life peer as Baroness O'Neill of Bengarve, and sits as a crossbencher. She has written widely on political philosophy and ethics, international justice, bioethics and the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. In the first of her Reith Lectures, philosopher Onora O'Neill examines the nature of trust, its role in society, and asks if there is real evidence of a crisis of trust. Confucius told his disciple Tsze-kung that three things are needed for government: weapons, food and trust. If a ruler can't hold on to all three, he should give up the weapons first and the food next and trust should be guarded to the end. Confucius' philosophy, Baroness O'Neill argues, is still convincing and she argues why.

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