skip to primary navigationskip to content

The Limits of Duty

Limits of duty burghers Calais14th June 2013

Sidgwick Hall
Newnham College
University of Cambridge


There is much contemporary research into and public interest in the duties we have to others as moral agents and also to, for example, future generations, global poor, animals, compatriots, immigrants and to ourselves. Much of this current research, however, relies on essential but under-theorised assumptions regarding the limits of duty and those actions that go beyond these limits. Research into the structure and justification of these limits and those acts that transcend them remains relatively unexplored. This workshop will bring this critical area of inquiry to the fore and investigate these central questions directly.

The purpose of this workshop is primarily to foster engagement with issues of supererogation, (over) demandingness, and the value and foundation of duty, and other issues surrounding the limits of duty broadly construed. Podcast recordings of talks from the conference can be found here.


[audio feed]   Keynote: David Owens (University of Reading)
     The nature of duty and its limits
[audio feed]   Robbie Arrell (Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, University of Melbourne)
     Will you Still Love Me Tomorrow? Specifying the Limits of the Robustness of Associative Duties across Change
[audio feed]   Claire Benn (University of Cambridge)
     Supererogatory Spandrels
[audio feed]   Brian McElwee (University of St. Andrews)
     Demandingness objections in ethics
[audio feed]   Alice Pinheiro Walla (Trinity College, Dublin)
     Kant’s moral theory and demandingness

The workshop programme (including abstracts) is now available.

If you would like to join our mailing list, please go to

If you have any questions, please contact Claire Benn or Amanda Cawston (workshop organisers) at

This event is generously sponsored by the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Cambridge and the Aristotelian Society.