Ethics Seminar - Professor Predrag Cicovacki - Morality and Personality


Location: St Cross Room & Zoom Webinar

Date: Thursday 2 November 2023

Time: 17:00 to 18:00 (Optional Drinks reception afterwards)

RSVP:  In-person - Registration required – here

Online - Register here



Speaker: Professor Predrag Cicovacki (The College of the Holy Cross)

Abstract: I will explore the mutual relationship between morality and personality. While these two concepts are certainly related – who else needs morality but human persons, and how could someone be a person without being concerned with morality? – there are also tensions between them.

First, while morality (like law) aspires toward a universal application and validity, personality necessarily involves an element of uniqueness; what happens when what my unique personality prompts me to do is in conflict with the general norms of morality?

Second, personality is something dynamic and every personality must develop: while the focus on morality seems to be what a person does, the focus on personality seems to be on who or what a person wants to become. To explore these issues further, I will consider four possible models of their mutual relationship:

1. Their initial union, in which neither concept is fully developed;

2. Their initial separation, when the concept of morality becomes objectified into a moral law and dominates over the concept of personality [reflecting most of the Western history];

3. A reaction to 2., which led to a further development in favour of the relative independence of individuality [which mostly captures the human condition in the last 150 years];

4. A possible reintegration of morality and personality through which they could enhance each other and better serve a further development of humanity.



Abstract taken from The Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics