Raimond Gaita


One of Australia’s most highly regarded philosophers, distinct ethical voices, and influential public intellectuals.

Books include: Romulus, My Father which was made into a feature film of the same name featuring Eric Bana; A common Humanity: Thinking about Love & Truth & Justice; The Philosopher’s Dog; After Romulus.

Raimond Gaita was born in Germany in 1946. With his parents he migrated to Australia in 1950. Gaita is Professorial Fellow in the Melbourne Law School and The Faculty of Arts at the University of Melbourne and Emeritus Professor of Moral Philosophy at King’s College London. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

In 2009 the University of Antwerp awarded Gaita the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa “for his exceptional contribution to contemporary moral philosophy and for his singular contribution the role of the intellectual in today’s academic world”. In 2011, Routledge published Christopher Cordner (ed.) Philosophy, Ethics, and a Common Humanity: Essays in Honour of Raimond Gaita. In the same year Flinders University hosted a conference in his honour – A Sense for Humanity: the Ethical Thought of Raimond Gaita. The papers from the conference by international lawyers, poets, novelist, political theorists, literary theorists, social workers and philosophers, testifying to the wide range of his influence, were published under the same title in 2014.

Gaita’s books, which have widely translated, include: Good and Evil: An Absolute Conception, the award winning Romulus, My Father, which was nominated by the New Statesman as one of the best books of 1999, by the Australian Financial Review as one of the best book of the decade and was made into a feature film starring Eric Bana, Frank Potente and Kodi Smit-McPhee; A Common Humanity: Thinking About Love & Truth & Justice, which was nominated by The Economist’s as one of best books of 2000; The Philosopher’s Dog, short-listed for the New South Wales Premier’s Award and The Age Book of the Year will be republished in the Routledge Classics series in 2016; Breach of Trust: Truth, Morality and Politics and, as editor and contributor, Gaza: Morality Law and Politics; Muslims and Multiculturalism; with Alex Miller and Alex Skovron, Singing for All he’s Worth: Essays in honour of J.G. Rosenberg and with Gerry Simpson Who’s Afraid of International Law (forthcoming 2016)

His most recent book After Romulus, was short-listed for the New South Wales Premier’s Award. It is a collection of essays in which (as his publisher puts it) “he reflects on the writing of the Romulus, My Father, the making of the film, his relationship to the desolate beauty of the central Victorian landscape, the philosophies that underpinned his father’s relationship to the world and, most movingly, the presence and absence of his mother and his unassuaged longing for her”.

Because he believes that it is generally a good thing for philosophers to address an educated and hard-thinking lay audience as well as their colleagues, Gaita has contributed extensively to public discussion about reconciliation, collective responsibility, the role of moral considerations in politics, the Holocaust, genocide, crimes against humanity, education (the nature of teaching as a vocation, the role of love in learning) and the plight of the universities.

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