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James Chesher Lecture

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About the Lecture

In his novel The Sunday Philosophy Club, Alexander McCall Smith features Isabel, a woman of independent means who, in her leisure time, edits a journal of applied ethics, but is otherwise engaged in, and reflective about, life and times in contemporary Edinburgh. One morning, while having breakfast and reading of yet another scandal involving someone in public office, Isabel says to her companion and housekeeper, Grace:

"Shocking . . .I can't remember when exactly it was that it became all right to lie in public life. Can you remember?" Grace could. "President Nixon started it. He lied and lied. And then it came across the Atlantic and our people started to lie too. That's how it started. Now it's standard practice." Isabel had to agree. People had lost their moral compass, it seemed, and this was just a further example."

In his novel The Sunday Philosophy Club, Alexander McCall Smith features Isabel, a woman of independent means who, in her leisure time, edits a journal of applied ethics, but is otherwise engaged in, and reflective about, life and times in contemporary Edinburgh. One morning, while having breakfast and reading of yet another scandal involving someone in public office, Isabel says to her companion and housekeeper, Grace:

"Shocking . . .I can't remember when exactly it was that it became all right to lie in public life. Can you remember?" Grace could. "President Nixon started it. He lied and lied. And then it came across the Atlantic and our people started to lie too. That's how it started. Now it's standard practice." Isabel had to agree. People had lost their moral compass, it seemed, and this was just a further example."

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