The 2012 Gifford Lectures
If you are in or near Aberdeen, hopefully you’ve heard by now that Sarah Coakley (University of Cambridge) is delivering this year’s Gifford Lectures at the University of Aberdeen. Founded in 1888, the lecture series is held at Scotland’s four ancient universities — Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and St. Andrews — and focus broadly on the theme of natural theology. (This is the first Gifford series in Aberdeen since 2009.)
Sarah Coakley’s lecture series began this week under the title Sacrifice Regained: Evolution, Cooperation and God. Here is an outline:
Tuesday, 17 April: “Stories of Evolution, Stories of Sacrifice”
Thursday, 19 April: “Cooperation, alias Altruism: Game Theory and Evolution Reconsidered”
Tuesday, 24 April: “Ethics, Cooperation and Human Motivation: Assessing the Project of Evolutionary Ethics”
Thursday, 26 April: “Ethics, Cooperation and the Gender Wars: Prospects for a New Asceticism”
Tuesday, 1 May: “Teleology Reviewed: A New ‘Ethico-Teleological’ Argument for God’s Existence”
Thursday, 3 May: “Reconceiving ‘Natural Theology’: Meaning, Sacrifice and God”
As you can see, Coakley is concerned with tracing the post-modern relationship of theology and science, with the theme of “cooperation” and game theory as one important point of connection. The series will eventually result in a book.
Lectures are public and all are warmly welcome. Those who can’t make it can find the full lectures and handouts (no doubt for a limited time only) on the University Web site.
The Gifford Lectures maintain a Web site with news and info, as well as an archive of past lectureships. The older ones are actually online there in their entirely — including Karl Barth’s 1936 Giffords (also here in Aberdeen), published as The Knowledge of God and the Service of God.