[SydPhil] ACU Philosophy seminar: Steve Clarke

Stephen Matthews Stephen.Matthews at acu.edu.au
Fri May 11 17:10:17 AEST 2018

Dear all,

Steve Clarke (CSU/Oxford) will speak to us next week. Details as follows:

Friday May 18, 2.30pm - 4 pm

Huckleberry Finn’s Conscience: Ending the Evasion


Mark Twain’s novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (AHF) has been much discussed by philosophers who seek to draw moral lessons from it. Two of them stand out, in terms of influence: Jonathan Bennett and Nomy Arpaly. I’ll argue that the lessons that Bennett and Arpaly extract from AHF are not supported by a careful reading of AHF. This becomes apparent when we consider the final part of the book, referred to by literary scholars as ‘the evasion’. I extract a new lesson from AHF. On my interpretation, Huck is well positioned to question his presuppositions that racism and slavery are morally acceptable, which he has acquired as a part of his upbringing. But because, inter alia, he decides to forego conscious moral deliberation, he fails to question these presuppositions. AHF illustrates how we can miss opportunities to overcome the influences of wrongful moral assumptions that we acquire from our society when we forego conscious moral deliberation.

Steve will speak at ACU’s Melbourne campus (location below) and the presentation will be video-conferenced to other campuses:

Brisbane: 202.1.07;
Ballarat: 100.1.04;
North Sydney: 532.12.24 (Level 12, 8-12 Napier Street, Tenison Woods House)
Strathfield: 640.1.16

Location for Melbourne: Room 460.2.80 (250 Victoria Parade)
Non-ACU attendees please contact the convenor (stephen.matthews at acu.edu.au) if you plan to attend North Sydney. I'll be in Melbourne for this talk.


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