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Seminar 26: Dennis Schmidt on “What Do We Owe the Dead?”


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Thursday 22 September 2016

6:00 PM to 7:30 PM

Metcalfe Auditorium, Macquarie Building, State Library of New South Wales

Cost: Adults $15, Friends and Concessions $10.



Some of our deepest ethical commitments and insights are found in how it is that we think about, care for, and have a sense of responsibility to the dead. One sees this in literature, from Homer’s Iliad through Sophocles’ Antigone to Abraham Lincoln’s celebrated “Gettysburg Address”, up to the present age and even into films such as Black Hawk Down among many others. We have a profound sense of the need to care for the dead, even at the risk of our own lives. The purpose of this seminar is to examine some of the best known presentations of this ethical sense and to ask what it might mean and how we are to understand it.



    Chair                                 Alex Ling

    6:05 pm                           Welcome by Dimitris Vardoulakis

                                               (director of the Sydney Seminar)

    6:10 to 6:50                     Dennis Schmidt

                                               What Do We Owe the Dead?  

    6:50 to 7:05                     Response by David Malouf

    7:05 to 7:30                     Question and Answer


Dennis Schmidt was Liberal Arts Research Professor of Philosophy, Comparative Literature, and German at Penn State University before being appointed Professor of Philosophy at Western Sydney University in 2015. He is the author of numerous books, including Between Word and Image: Heidegger, Gadamer, and Klee (2016), Idiome der Wahrheit (2012), Lyrical and Ethical Subjects (2005), and On Germans and Other Greeks (2001).

David Malouf is the acclaimed author of novels including Ransom, The Great World (winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ prize and the Prix Femina Etranger), Remembering Babylon (winner of the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award), An Imaginary Life, Conversations at Curlow Creek, Dream Stuff, Every Move You Make and 12 Edmondstone Street. His Collected Stories won the 2008 Australia-Asia Literary Award. His most recent books are A First Place and The Writing Life.