News at the University of New Brunswick

Inaugural MacGill lecture to challenge perceptions on dealing with child abuse

Author: Communications

Posted on Nov 17, 2010

Category: myUNB , UNB Saint John , UNB Fredericton

The department of philosophy at the University of New Brunswick Fredericton campus is pleased to announce the first annual Neil W. MacGill lecture in honour of the late faculty member.

Neil Whyte MacGill played an influential role during his time at UNB.  With degrees from Cambridge, Edinburgh and Oxford, MacGill came to Fredericton in 1961 to teach philosophy.  He served as department chair for 10 years, held a position on the university’s board of governors for 13, and held a seat on the UNB senate for three decades, before retiring in 2000.

He was a gifted administrator, dedicated teacher and exemplary colleague, but is best remembered for his devotion to student life on campus.  He served as don of Neill House from 1961 to 1966 and Resident Fellow of Bridges House from 1966 until his retirement.  During that time, MacGill reached out to generations of resident students.  He hosted weekly forums, meetings that were legendary both in terms of the famous guests that students found themselves dining with on many occasions, and in terms of MacGill’s own culinary prowess.  His legacy lives on at UNB thanks to a bequest which now funds a number of substantial student prizes.

The inaugural Neil W. MacGill lecture takes place Monday, Nov. 22, at 3:30 p.m., in Tilley Hall, Room 102, on the Fredericton campus.  The annual lecture was created to honour MacGill’s long-standing commitment and dedication to students, and to challenge critical thinking on philosophical issues.

Dr. William Sweet, professor of philosophy at St. Francis Xavier University and director of the St.FX Centre for Philosophy, will be the guest speaker.

He has authored or co-authored four books, has edited thirty-five others, and has published more than 130 articles in refereed journals.  His areas of scholarly interest cover the fields of ethics and political philosophy, late 19th and early 20th century Anglo-American and French philosophy, philosophy of religion, and philosophy of culture.

In this thought-provoking lecture, Dr. Sweet will discuss the arguments – both practical and theoretical – for and against parental licensing, as it relates to preventing child abuse.  Child abuse is worldwide issue, and according to the World Health Organization, affects approximately 40 million children each year.  One proposed solution is to license potential parents, in the same way we license those who engage in other potentially risky or harmful activities.

For more information, contact the department of philosophy at 453-4762.