Hale Ethics Series, 2013-14
Sponsored by the Hale Chair in Applied Ethics
Thursday, September 26th, 4-5:30, Stan McKenzie Commons (Liberal Arts, Room #1251, ground floor)
"Motivating Hume's Natural Virtues"
Philip Reed (Philosophy, Canisius College)
What motivation does Hume think we have for performing naturally virtuous actions? Hume claims that the answer is a passion or inclination present in human nature. Based on this straightforward answer, many commentators propose that Hume thinks that we are not or should not be motivated to perform naturally virtuous actions from moral sentiments. I argue on the contrary that Hume fully incorporates the moral sentiments into his understanding of how human beings act when it comes to the natural virtues and that such motivation does not weaken the virtuous status of the action.
Thursday, October 10th, 4-5:30, Stan McKenzie Commons (Liberal Arts, Room #1251, ground floor)
Bruce Landesman (Philosophy, University of Utah)
The authors of the Declaration of Independence found it self-evident that all men are created equal. Equality has clearly played an important role in American and Western political thought. Equality, however, is a complex concept with different meanings. There is equality of rights, equal citizenship, equality under the law, equality of opportunity, economic equality, and more. What did the authors mean by equality? What do or should we mean by equality today? The aim of this talk is to explain the most basic idea of human equality and explore its implications for political policy and practice.
Thursday, November 14th, 4-5:30, Bamboo Room, Campus Center, Room #2650
Of Friendship and Factions
Margaret Watkins (Philosophy, St. Vincent College)
Unlike other early modern essayists, such as Michel de Montaigne and Francis Bacon, David Hume did not write a single essay dedicated to friendship. From the beginning, however, Hume's essays show an interest in friendship as essential to the most pleasant and the most important aspects of human life. Hume judges institutions and practices in part by their tendencies to promote or damage friendships. And without naiveté about the darker side of human relationships, he devotes serious consideration to which activities and character traits promote friendship in its better manifestations. The results challenge us to reconsider our preconceptions about the place of friendship in modern life. I will examine what the Essays: Moral, Political, and Literary have to teach us about friendship, with special attention to friendship between the sexes and the influence of friendship on political factionalism.
Thursday, November 21st, 4-5:30, Imagining Science Auditorium (76-1125)
“From Crooked Wood to Moral Agency: On Anthropology and Ethics in Kant”
Jennifer Mensch (Philosophy, Penn State)
Immanuel Kant has long been famous for his deontological or “duty-based” approach to ethics. Even as critics have complained about Kant’s excessive formalism regarding the formulation of moral maxims—maxims which seem to many thinkers incapable of capturing the rich texture of moral life—Kant’s emphasis on the role played by free will continues to attract moral theorists and remains a mainstay in bioethical discussions of patient autonomy and rights. Worries over moral contextualism aside, in recent years there has been an entirely different set of concerns raised against Kant’s ethical program. These stem from the increasing attention being paid by scholars to the connection between Kant’s anthropological writings—that is, material taken from both his lecture courses and his published essays on race—and his social and political philosophy. This work has led to charges ranging from racism and hypocrisy to, at minimum, inconsistency on Kant’s part. In today’s talk we’ll take a look at these charges by way of laying out Kant’s approach to both natural history and what he calls “the history of freedom,” before turning to some of Kant’s later work to think about ways we might be able to reconcile these two sides of Kant.
Thursday, March 20th, 01-2000
Morality and Evolution
Geoff Sayre-McCord (Philosophy, University of North Carolina)
These presentations are free
and open to all.
If you need interpreting services, contact Cassandra
Shellman as early as you can at 585.475.2057 or via e-mail.
Presentations for previous years