Abstract by author: Mae West once said: "I generally avoid temptation, unless I can't resist it." Oscar Wilde seems to have been even worse off when it comes to temptations as he said: "I can resist everything except temptation". Although very different from the kind of temptations that West and Wilde might have had in mind, universities are not exempt from temptations. In the first part of the lecture I will identify trends that can tempt the university and academic departments to deviate from their shared responsibility to cultivate the philosophical mind of students and scholars. It will be argued that a distinction between external and internal goods can assist both the university and academic disciplines in dealing with this temptation. In the second part of the lecture the focus shifts to a trend that affects Philosophy more specifically. This trend is the unprecedented growth of and demand for Applied Ethics. This recent trend has opened up vast new possibilities for Philosophy as a discipline, but it has not done so without a new set of temptations. Strategies for dealing with this trend and its temptations will be critically explored.
Text only of inaugural address by Prof. Deon Rossouw, Department of Philosophy on 19 July 2006.