In Search of Lucidity

In Search of Lucidity saw Professor Robert Manne and Professor Raimond Gaita meet for an Ideas and Society event in the midst of the Bendigo Writers Festival. The conversation centered around A Sense for Humanity - a book is based on the life and works of Professor Gaita.

Watch the discussion

In Search of Lucidity

What the speakers said

Professor Manne and Professor Gaita are old friends who met during their university days. The pair bonded over a mutual passion against the Vietnam War and dedicated long nights to debating how it impacted their worlds.

Professor Gaita discussed how he came to study psychology. Both his parents suffered mental illness and he worked in psychiatric hospital during his last year of school. He went on to study psychology at university but was deeply critical of a school that dominated the field at the time - Behaviourism. He talked about the influences that steered him towards becoming a renowned philosopher.

Professor Manne and Professor Gaita discussed the Vietnam War and Professor Gaita drew parallels to the situation in Gaza at present - which he thinks was entirely unecessary.

The pair discuss Professor Gaita's books including Good and Evil and Romulus My Father, and how they came into existence. Professor Gaita for some time wrote a monthly column for Quadrant magazine, which Professor Manne edited at the time. The move created quite a bit of controversy, as did an essay Professor Gaita wrote about the Mabo case.

His childhood has played a central role in his development as a philosopher and Professor Gaita discussed the extent of the impact of his childhood pain.

More about our speakers

Robert Manne

Robert Manne is Emeritus Professor, a Vice-Chancellor's Fellow and Convenor of the Ideas and Society Program at La Trobe University. A leading public intellectual and commentator, he is the author/editor of over 20 books including Left, Right, Left: Political Essays 1977 - 2005; Making Trouble: Essays against the New Australian Complacency and three Quarterly Essays, most recently Bad News.

Raimond Gaita

Raimond 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.


This event took place at on Sunday 10 August at the Bendigo Bank Theatre during the Bendigo Writers Festival.