The Clare Hall Tanner Lectures

The Tanner Lectures were established by the American scholar, industrialist and philanthropist, Obert Clark Tanner in 1978. The purpose of the Tanner lectures is to advance and reflect upon the scholarly and scientific learning related to human values. In creating the lectureships, Professor Tanner said, I hope these lectures will contribute to the intellectual and moral life of mankind. I see them simply as a search for a better understanding of human behaviour and human values. This understanding may be pursued for its own intrinsic worth, but it may also eventually have practical consequences for the quality of personal and social life.

Appointment as a Tanner Lecturer is a recognition of uncommon achievement and outstanding abilities in the domain of human values. The lectureships are international and intercultural and transcend ethnic, national, religious and ideological distinctions.

Previous Lectures

Click on the year to access a report of the lecture.

2014 Science, Secrecy and the Private Self

Professor Peter Galison
Joseph Pellegrino University Professor, Harvard University

2013 The Great Crimes:
The Quest for Justice Among Individuals and Groups

Philippe Sands QC
Barrister and Professor of Law and Director of the Centre on International Courts and Tribunals at UCL

2012 The Viennese Interior: Architecture & Inwardness

Professor Joseph Leo Koerner
Harvard University

2011  The Psychology and Economics of Authority

Professor Ernst Fehr
Director of the Department of Economics at the University of Zurich

2010  Care-full Markets: Miracle or Mirage?

Professor Susan J. Smith, FBA, FRSE, AcSS

2009  Art and Religion in the Modern West Some Perspectives

Professor Sir Christopher Frayling

2008  What's Left of Culture and Society?

Professor Lisa Jardine CBE

2007  Medicine, Neuroscience, Ethics and Society

Professor Judy Illes / Lord Winston

2006  Germany reunited: a lesson in political transformation

Professor Kurt Hans Biedenkopf
President of the State of Saxony from 1990 to 2002

2005  Peace after War: Our Experience

Carl Bildt
Former Prime Minster of Sweden

2004  The meanings of things

Neil Macgregor
Director, British Museum

2003  Beyond the Social Contract: Toward Global Justice

Martha Nussbaum


Seamus Heaney

2001 The State and the Shaping of Identity

Antony Appiah
Professor of Afro-American Studies and Philosophy at the University of Harvard

2000  Tanner Symposium

             Cutlure and Calendar
           Lawrence Sullivan, Mary Miller, Liba Taub, Silke Ackermann

             Science and the Measurement of Time
           Steven Chu, Michael Hastings, Craig Heller, Malcolm Longair,
           Joseph Taylor, Joseph Vining

             The Performance of Time
           William Bolcom, Peter Jeffery, Samuel Barrett

             The Loss of Time
           Toni Morrison

1999  Happiness

Jonathan Lear

1998   The Idol of Stability

Stephen Toulmin
Professor, University of Southern California, (formerly at Oxford University)

1997   Why Animals Dont Have Language

Dorothy Cheney
Primatologist and Professor, University of Pennsylvania

1996   I. Jazz: A Historical Perspective, II. Duke Ellington, III. Charles Mingus

Gunther Schuller
Jazz historian, performer, arranger and editor

1995   Space-time and Cosmology

Sir Roger Penrose
Professor of Mathematics, Oxford University

1993   Problems of Christianization in Rome and the Post-Roman West

Peter Brown
Professor of History, Princeton University

1992   The Sources of Normativity

Christine Korsgaard
Professor of Philosophy, Harvard University

1991   On Doing Science in the Modern World

Dr David Baltimore
President of Rockefeller University

1990   Environmental Challenges of the ippos: our responsibilities towards future generations

Dr Gro Brundtland
Prime Minister of Norway

1989   Interpretation and Over-interpretation: World, History, Texts

Umberto Eco
Writer and Professor, University of Bologna

1988   Islam in European Thought: The Nineteenth Century and After

Dr Albert Hourani

1987   The Penalty of Imprisonment

Louis Blom-Cooper
QC, London, formerly Chairman of the Howard League for Penal Reform

1986   Technology, Bureaucracy and Healing

Dr Roger Bulger
Professor, University of Texas

1985  Architecture: Modernist and Post-modernist

Aldo van Eyck
Architect, Netherlands

1984   The Standard of Living

Amartya Sen
Professor of Political Economy, Oxford University

1983   Challenges of Neo-Darwinism

Steven Jay Gould
Palaeontologist and evolutionary biologist, Professor, Harvard University

1982   Haydn and Eighteenth Century Patronage in Austria and Hungary

H. C. Robbins Landon
Professor of Music, Cardiff University

1981   A Voluntary Society

Dr Kingman Brewster
President of Yale University, and formerly US Ambassador in London

1980   The Arts as a Source of Truth

John A. Passmore
Professor, Australian National University

1979   Arms Control and Peace Research

Raymond Aron
Professor, College de France and Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris

1978   Morality, Politics and the Press

Dr Conor Cruise O'Brien
Editor of the Observer

Updated  Dec.11.2013