Providence and Common Wealth

Address to the Melbourne Unitarian Church, January 23, 2005

Metaphysics and Political Economy

Service to an address by Sister Brigid Arthur, Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project, November 21, 2004

Opening Words

(derived from Mat 25:41-45) '...for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' Then they also will answer, 'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?' Then he will answer them, 'Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.'


The Future of the Human Species: Genetic Engineering, Cybernetics, Artificial Intelligence and Animal Uplifting


This presentation is concerned technological self-transformation of the species and the influence of cultural mores and social systems on this possibility. What is included can be categorized into four broad technological groups; genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, prosthetics and animal uplifting – more on that last word later. These are areas of life with have seen extraordinary changes over the last fifty years and in all probability the next fifty will witness even greater changes.

A Man of Great Spirit: The Life and Politics of Dr. Jim Cairns

While many of you gathered here today would already be quite familiar with a brief biography of the late Dr. Jim Cairns who died last October, it is important for those who are not to engage in a minimal description - a difficult task, as will soon be evident - before moving on to a discussion of his beliefs which are strongly differentiated into two parts, his political theory and parliamentary career and in later years, his psychological theory and cultural activism.

East Timor: Moral Obligations and Systematic Betrayal

Address to the Melbourne Unitarian Church, November 17, 2003


Accounts of Subjectivity: Hollway and Habermas


The purpose of this essay is to evaluate the adequacy of Hollway's account of subjectivity that links the unconscious with discourse through comparison with Habermas' account. Hollway claims that: '[S]ubjectivity can be theorized as a special case of signification . . . whereby the metonymic axis encapsulates the normative products of discourse/language and the metaphoric axis encapsulates the specific history of desire as it successively invades significations and invests them with the interests of the ego.' (1989: 84) This definition is from 'Subjectivtity and Method in Psychology' where Hollway draws upon Lacan and Klein to develop a feminist critique of psychology and gender. The focus of this essay however, is to assess of her definition of subjectivity.

The Unitarian Rationalist Tradition: What We Can and Cannot Know


It is obviously not possible in this single presentation to provide anything more than the most introductory overview to the topic of the use of reason by Unitarian thinkers. Nonetheless in doing so, some groundwork will be provided to introduce the notion of 'formal pragmatics' - an advanced analytic method for determining what constitutes a rational or irrational word or deed. Finally, and working on the presumption that people will be a little mentally exhausted of theory by this point, some suggestions can be made for the practical orientation of Unitarians that is appropriate to the tradition and to a Church institution.

An Introduction to Moral Principles and Situational Ethics

From a presentation to the Melbourne Unitarian Church Philosophy Discussion Group, September 8, 2002


Whilst the definition of morals derives from the Latin 'moralis', meaning 'custom', contemporary useage describes it as the judgement by which the goodness/evilness of a human action may be ascertained.

Note 'human action' - it is not possible to describe the actions of non-reasoning animals as moral. Animals are described as 'amoral', as distinct from human actions which are 'moral' or 'immoral'.

Liberal Islam

From: Lev Lafayette (
Subject: Liberal Islam
Original Format
Newsgroups: soc.religion.unitarian-univ
Date: 2002-07-11 19:18:05 PST

East Timor: From Resistance to Independence

It is only necessary here to provide a capsule history of East Timor as nearly all present will be aware of most of contemporary history. Briefly
then, it is recorded that the Belu Tetun paid tribute to China before 1566, when Portuguese Domincans arrived. The Belu Tetun, "people of the
plains" had established a kingdom over most of the isle under the liurais or kings.


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