What if it turns out that even the most painful and seemingly “stuck” of our bioethical/political controversies – abortion – has not only one fairly reasonable “solution” but three (or more)? Moreover, each of these solutions really only invites us to embrace certain kinds of practical skills and understandings that we have had all along, to some extent, but have rarely developed or given much credit in ethics. The upshot is not just that there is some hope for the abortion issue after all, but also that we seriously need to reconsider some of our familiar assumptions about ethics in general. Alternative approaches to ethics might open up much more constructive approaches to many issues and enrich our collective dialogue and decision-making.
Click to view. 1 hour 14 min.
Weston's textbook, A 21st Century Ethical Toolbox, is closely aligned with a distinctively American tradition in philosophy known as Pragmatism. In this session we will explore some of the main features of a pragmatic approach to ethics – making them a step more explicit than they are in the book, and considering several main arguments for and also against them. Together we can then apply them, briefly, to some troubled contemporary issues. I would also like to address any other questions you may have about the text. This is your opportunity to ask them! No Video Available.
Traditional medical ethics looks upon the prospect of ‘dying with dignity’ as a right and a privilege. But what does ‘dignity’ mean for a person facing death, e.g., diagnosed as terminally ill, while experiencing pain and anxiety? The concept is complex and problematic; instead I offer an alternative model: ‘Dying Gracefully’. The aesthetic term, ‘gracefully’ suggests the use of music, art, and literature, in facing one’s mortality; it mirrors the value of the arts in our
everyday lives, that is, the role they play in our lifelong project of living well (in our preparation for dying well). Perhaps John Mellencamp said it best, “Life is short even in its longest days.”
Click to view. 1 hour 15 min.
Combining philosophical discussion with illustrations from her own artwork, Peg Brand argues that no one religion or political ideology has a monopoly on family values, since hard work, open-mindedness, patience, and perseverance are taught to children by all caring and reasonable adults. Artworks in her “Family Values” series attest to the multigenerational sharing of these values; as Aristotle noted, we teach through repetition and practice. Somehow, children grow into virtuous adults. But how? Visual images of college students—athletes, soldiers, philosophers—in her “Virtue” series help us to further understand this mysterious growth of character. Finally, she will explore the question of why Aristotle would be shocked to see women, in the 21st Century, embodying ideals of reason and virtue.
Click to view. 1 hour 12 min.
Within a shared commitment to the value of truth, there may be reason to think that epistemic disagreement is possible without one party to the disagreement being at fault. Epistemic disagreement could be disagreement about (1) whether or to what degree a person’s belief is justified, or (2) whether a particular justified belief should count as an instance of knowledge. Reasonable epistemic disagreement might arise (1) from pluralism within our ways of valuing truth or (2) from differences in how we weight the available evidence for a particular proposition. This paper asks, “When, and under what conditions, would epistemic disagreement be reasonable?” Asking and answering this question tells us something important about both the nature of epistemic disagreement and the nature of justification.
Click to view. 1 hour 12 min.
Public/feminist philosopher Elizabeth Minnich carries on the work of her teacher, Hannah Arendt, by trying to understand how and why decent people are not only known to have participated in but are essential to the possibility of what Minnich calls extensive evil (horrific, sustained, violative, deadly acts such as genocide), which she distinguishes from intensive evil (also horrific, but neither sustained nor widespread). She asks, too, why some always do choose to resist, and how we might understand not so much the individual heroism of intensive good, but shared, sustainable, unremarkable extensive good. Her inquiry returns, then, to consider how democratic, inclusive education might strengthen our abilities to live well enough that many, and not just a heroic few, will say no in time to stop potentially extensive evil from taking hold.
No Video Available.
The question of how a supremely good God can permit evil is a classic problem for theists. Most believers hold that at least part of the answer to this question is that God has given human beings free will, and that this is such a significant good that were God to intervene so as to prevent much of the world’s suffering, he would thereby also prevent much of the good possible only through free will. This line of thinking has come to be known in some circles as “The Free Will Defense” (FWD). But if free will is as great a good as the FWD implies, why, then, do we seem to have so little of it? I argue that the nature and range of conditions that can inhibit free will is larger than what one would expect if free will is really as highly valued by God as the FWD requires.
Many scholars and politicians agree that a modern democracy needs a civil society. In this presentation, Jensen will sketch a model of a liberal democracy and civil society that speaks both to the kind of citizens well-functioning democratic political institutions require and the kind of institutions supportive of such citizens. Jensen argues that a socio-political arrangement in which civil society successfully generates the requisite citizen traits is, in part, a matter of luck, insofar as (i) only certain kinds of groups in civil society will generate the required traits, and (ii) we cannot control which groups do so without compromising our liberal commitments to freedom of conscience and association. However, Jensen proposes some regulatory control over civil society can be justified on liberal principles and a liberal democracy has tools for encouraging the development of the required traits without violating citizens’ freedoms.
Click to view. 1 hour 32 min
When participating in ethical and political debate, a helpful virtue is proper-persuadability. Without this virtue moral and political progress can be stalled. Properly-persuadable people take committed but revisable stands on an issue. They strongly hold a belief but are willing to change their minds if they are presented with convincing reasons. Complicating the ability to be properly-persuadable is cognitive authority. Social power dynamics regarding who is taken to be 'in the know' can make it difficult for many people to listen non-arrogantly. Other times power differences make it difficult for people to present their opinions. Attendees at this presentation will participate in activities designed to illuminate whether they are properly-persuadable and where they sit in various cognitive economies.
Click to view. 1 hour 45 min
The popular conception of academic cheating as an act of moral depravity has not been effective at reducing misconduct on our college and university campuses. The truth is, even “good people” (whether students, faculty, staff or administration) sometimes make bad ethical decisions, especially when the environment doesn’t encourage integrity and the situation invites misconduct. In this talk, Dr. Tricia Bertram Gallant redefines academic integrity as a form of professional integrity, reviews the factors that move all of us away from performing our roles with integrity, and calls to action those students, faculty, staff, and administrators who long for new ways to act with, develop, and encourage, professional integrity. This event is free and open to the public.
Click to view. 1 hour 45 min.
The problem of the criterion is, more or less, that problem of saying whether we should start our epistemological theorizing with particular knowledge claims or with principles about what sorts of beliefs count as knowledge, or somewhere in between. After describing the contours of the problem, I defend a fairly strong form of particularism and show how that particular particularism can assist the epistemological enterprise.
Click to view. 1 hour 27 min.
A time-honored technique of ethical reflection, perfected 1500 years ago by early Biblical interpreters: We tell a famous story with a familiar “moral of the story.” Each person present re-tells it, re-imagining the characters’ inner moral process. As we compare the many different “morals of the story,” we learn about our personal and cultural values. We can use a similar technique to study famous philosophical teachings, and to retell our personal stories as we change over time. Philosophers have developed a toolkit of concepts to explain how this process works, including hermeneutics, intersubjectivity, historicity, logic of discovery, and more. Together, we will sample the process and analyze it conceptually, in order to deepen our moral and intellectual self-awareness.
Click to view. 1 hour 38 min.
Although biological science has moved on, no longer endorsing the idea of race, this “most dangerous myth” persists. Reexamining the concept of race from a philosophical perspective, this paper focuses on the difference between a merely intuitive kind and a (science-based) natural kind. After considering a range of possible as well as actual considerations advanced to characterize what are presumed to be racial groups, it is argued that the concept of race plays no legitimate explanatory role in biology. One strategy of argument used is to invent a new racial group, rustoids, that fits all apparent criteria for a race, even though no one would mistake it for a natural kind of sub-species of homo sapiens. It is suggested that race is an unnatural kind, a human invention that’s a theoretically incoherent creature of prejudice. The paper ends on a cautionary note: just because race is fiction, that doesn’t mean there are no real racial problems; and no appropriately judicial blindness to race should blind us to the reality of racism.
Click to view. 1 hour 24 min.
Drawing upon her background and experience as an ethicist, a philosophy teacher, a department chair, an honors college director, and a provost and executive vice-president of Indiana University, Dr. Hanson’s presentation will consider some of the ethical values, ethical problems, and ethical opportunities that emerge in academic administration.
Click to view. 1 hour 18 min.
Intelligent Design theory, which argues that certain features of the natural universe are best explained by the action of an intelligent designer of some sort, has been a subject of intense academic and political attention. It has gained a number of supporters and detractors both within the philosophical community and within the public at large. As the title of his talk suggests, Wallis argues that Intelligent Design is not a useful approach to the study of nature. This promises to be a very entertaining talk, and we look forward to a lively discussion and question-and-answer session.
Click to view. 1 hour 28 min.
Some 2500 years ago Plato asked Euthyphro what has become a seminal question of both ethics and theology, is something good because God decrees it good, or does God decree something good because it is good? These two philosophy professors go head-to-head, soul-to-soul, on the question of whether and to what extent ethics makes sense in the absense of religion.
Click to view. 1 hour 15 min.
Science tells us that everything has a cause. So, if everything is caused, no one is free, and no one is responsible for what they do. Really? What would that mean for our traditional understanding of moral responsibility, blameworthiness, and merit? Beginning with the question, what does moral responsibility do for us, Dr. Manuel Vargas offers a new account of responsibility and considers what it might mean for our worries about causal, scientific explanations of human behavior.
Click to view. 1 hour 47 min.
Who cares? In this interactive and engaging discussion, Dr. Stephen Bloch-Schulman will explain why, as an ethicist, what you care about doesn't matter. Drawing from the work of Hannah Arendt, Dr. Bloch-Schulman will explore how we experience obedience and responsibility-taking through audience involvement and discussion. Come ready to roll up your sleeves and become involved in genuine philosophical inquiry!
Click to view. 1 hour 42 min.
The two winners of the 2008-09 Student Ethics Essay Contest presented their prize winning essays for public discussion.
Click to view (46min)
Why do we need ethics in engineering and science? John Gisla raises some revealing cases of engineering mishaps to illustrate how greater attention to ethics, espeically to fiduciary duty and to professional integrity, could prevent such behaviour.
Click to view Part I (1h09m)
Click to view Part II (1h26m)
Wesley J. Smith argued that personhood theory destroys the concept of universal human rights and illustrated the discriminatory practices rejecting the equality of life ethic would permit, ranging from infanticide to medical futility.
Click to view (1h58m)
Rick Schubert addresses the commercialization of education; the shift from the old fiduciary model of teaching (under which teachers ought to serve students’ best interests) to the new commercial model (under which students are customers, who're always right, and teachers are service providers, who ought to give students whatever they want). He appeals to Confucian moral theory in arguing for three conclusions: (1) that the fiduciary model is correct, (2) that the commercial model is responsible for the recent decline in academic integrity in our country, and (3) that it is in students' prudential interests to support a shift back to the fiduciary model.
Click to view (2h)
Drawing on considerable historical research, Juhasz explored the parallels between today's companies and Standard Oil, the most powerful corporation of the early 20th century, whose stranglehold on the economy and government was broken only by the vision and persistence of activists and like-minded politicians. We are in a similar position today, she argued, with the 2008 elections offering a unique opportunity for ordinary Americans to come together, reclaim their voices, and shore up our nation's crumbling democratic and ethical foundation.
Click to view (1h31m)
A workshop for specific faculty and their students, focusing on specific strategies and practices related to the ethics and integrity issues that emerge in doing student research. Note: This event is a faculty and staff workshop offered in partnership with the Center for Practical and Professional Ethics and the Office of Research and Contract Administration.
Video not available.
The three winners of the 2007-08 Student Ethics Essay Contest presented their prize winning essays for public discussion. This video is offered in two parts.
Click to view (Part 1: 1h02m)
Click to view (Part 2: 1h03m)
A panel of experts discuss the ethical issues which arise in lobbying in the California legislative context. This event is co-sponsored with the Center for California Studies.
Click to view (1h26min)
Focusing on high-profile criminal probes and prosecutions of some of America’s most renowned companies -- including aerospace giant Boeing Co.-- Mr. Pasztor offered insights based on his wide-ranging work as an investigative reporter for The Wall Street Journal. He explored actual examples of multi-billion dollar contracts tainted by flagrant violations and scandals, as well as shortcomings in responses by corporate executives and government watchdogs. Participants were challenged to consider the question: Is legal always ethical?
Click to view (1h12m)
Drawing on his 14 years as an ethics and compliance advisor in the military, Federal Government, and private enterprise, Stephen Epstein will offer his insights and observations about ethical failure. This experience has led Mr. Epstein to formulate a uniquely pragmatic and concise taxonomy of wrong-doing which illuminates some of the salient factors and offers a guide toward reducing or minimizing ethical failure in government. This video is offered in two parts.
Click to view (Part 1: 59m)
Click to view (Part 2: 45m)
A faculty and staff seminar for discussion of some of the more common compliance requirements of research grants, highlighting current problem areas such as conflicts of interest, financial disclosure, and export controls. This event is co-sponsored with the Office of Research Administration and Contracts Administration. This video is offered in two parts.
Click to view (Part 1: 57m)
Click to view (Part 2: 19m)
Ann Wright, a 29 year US Army veteran who retired as a Colonel and a 16 year US diplomat spoke on the role ethics in diplomat and military decision making and the responsibilities of ethical behaviour for commanding officers and ambassadors. Ms. Wright was one of three US diplomats who resigned in March, 2003 in opposition to the war on Iraq. This video is offered in two parts.
Click to view (Part 1: 58m)
Click to view (Part 2: 38m)
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