CVSP hosts first Colorado High School Ethics Bowl Tournament
Read more about the event here: http://www.dailycamera.com/boulder-county-schools/ci_30772657/peak-peak-charter-boulder-high-slated-first-colorado (2/6/17)
CVSP Undergraduate Research Conference on Normative Issues in Social Policy announced; Call for Papers Open To All CU Undergraduates
The Center for Values and Social Policy is pleased to announce the CVSP Undergraduate Research Conference on Normative Issues in Social Policy, Saturday, April 22, 2017 at the University of Colorado Boulder.
The conference features a keynote address by Helen Frowe,
Professor of Practical Philosophy, University of Stockholm
Director, Stockholm Centre for the Ethics of War and Peace, and a $250 Prize for Best Undergraduate Paper.
Debates about controversial social policies often have a purely factual, empirical component. These include questions such as how much a policy like universal health care would cost to implement and whether the practice of capital punishment reduces the rate of crime. But most discussions of controversial social policies also have a significant normative component. These include questions such as whether affirmative action is unjust, whether punishing young teenagers as adults is unfair, whether abortion violates the fetus's right to life, whether permitting the sale of human organs fails to treat people with the appropriate kind of respect, and so on. The focus of this conference will be on these kinds of normative questions as they relate to actual or proposed social policies.
The conference is open to all undergraduates who are currently enrolled at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Papers that were written for a class assignment as well as papers written exclusively for this conference are eligible. Papers should be approximately 3000 words long and should address at least one normative question relating to at least one kind of social policy. To submit a paper, send a Word or pdf version to firstname.lastname@example.org. If the paper was written for a course, it should indicate the name of the course. The paper should not include the author's name or any other identifying features. In addition, each submission should include a short abstract (approximately 150-200 words) that briefly describes what the paper is about. The deadline for submission is 5:00 p.m. on Friday, December 30, 2016. Questions should be directed to email@example.com. (10/31/16)
CVSP Now Accepting Applications for Visiting Fellows for AY 2017-18
For further information please see our ad here: http://philjobs.org/job/show/6334 (10/18/16)
Bonnie Steinbock Appointed as Center for Values and Social Policy Visiting Fellow for Fall 2016
Professor Emerita Bonnie Steinbock, who retired from SUNY Albany in 2014 after a long and distinguished career as one of the leading bioethicists of her generation, will be a Visiting Fellow at the Center for Values and Social Policy this fall from September 13 – October 13. She will give at least one talk, do some classroom presentations, and make herself available for a variety of additional interactions with faculty and students while she is here. Details on those events will follow. Among many other things, Professor Steinbock is the author of Life Before Birth: The Moral and Legal Status of Embryos and Fetuses, which Oxford University Press recently brought out in a second edition, and the editor of the Oxford Handbook of Bioethics. While in residence at the Center, she will be working on a project entitled: "Should Physician-Assisted Death Be Expanded to Include Psychiatric Conditions?" Here is a brief excerpt from her project description:
"The project concerns defensible restrictions on physician-assisted death (PAD), which includes both euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide (PAS). I discuss the broader category of PAD because I do not regard PAS as morally different from euthanasia, and also because I am looking beyond the United States, where euthanasia is everywhere illegal to Belgium and the Netherlands, where both are legal. The question of restrictions on PAD is not an issue for those who are completely opposed to it. Nor it is an issue for those who think that there should be no limits on PAD, at least for competent adults. It is a serious issue for those who accept PAD in principle, but are concerned about a slippery slope from acceptable to unacceptable uses. In this project, I will consider in greater depth the arguments for limiting PAD, focusing specifically on four issues: the requirement of terminal illness; the treatability/incurability of psychiatric illness; the effect of psychiatric conditions, such as severe depression, on competence to make medical decisions; and the expansion of PAD to 'existential suffering' or being tired of life."
CVSP to co-sponsor Affirmative Action Panel Event
The Center is cosponsoring "Affirmative Action and Higher Education", a panel talk being held on August 16 in Eaton Humanities 150. (7/15/16)
RoME Congress, August 11-16
The 11th annual Rocky Mountain Ethics (RoME) Congress will be held August 11-16, 2016. For more information see the RoME website. (7/6/16)
"Power Dialog" discussion, Monday April 4
The Center is co-sponsoring Power Dialog, a discussion about clean energy in Colorado, Monday April 4th at 3 PM in the SEEC Auditorium. CVSP Faculty Fellow David Ciplet (ENVS) is one of the featured speakers. For more information visit www.powerdialog.net (3/16/16)
Chris Heathwood talks about well-being on Minerva
Professor Chris Heathwood discusses the philosophy of well-being on the Minerva podcast with its host, Joshi Gottlieb. (2/12/16)
Video of CVSP/School of Education Panel Event Available Online
Video of the CVSP/School of Education's recent panel discussion "Choosing, Refusing, and Opting Out: Parents' Rights in Public Education", featuring CVSP Faculty Fellows Adam Hosein (Philosophy) and Terri Wilson (Education), is now available here. (2/11/16)
David Pyrooz in the Daily Camera
CVSP Faculty Fellow David Pyrooz (Sociology) is featured in the top story in the local section of today's Daily Camera: http://www.dailycamera.com/cu-news/ci_29476642/no-surge-overall-u-s-crime-due-ferguson. (2/5/16)
Adam Hosein to speak at School of Education colloquium
Professor Adam Hosein will speak at the School of Education's panel discussion "Choosing, Refusing, and Opting Out: Parents' Rights in Public Education" on Wednesday, Jan. 27, from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Boulder Public Library. The School of Education is co-sponsoring this event with the Center for Values and Social Policy and the Office for Outreach & Engagement. The panel will address the legal precedents and philosophical issues involved in claims about parents' rights in public education, focusing on school choice, vaccinations, and opting out of state tests. (1/15/16)
Call for papers for ninth annual RoME conference
Submissions are open now for the ninth annual Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress (RoME), August 11-14, 2016. See the call for papers here. (1/13/16)
Applications for Visting Fellows now open
The Center is now taking applications for Visiting Fellows for the academic year 2016-2017. Information about the position and how to apply can be found here: http://philjobs.org/job/show/3961 (10/23/15)
John Corvino talk, "Why I Don't Like Religious Exemptions"
Professor John Corvino (Wayne State University) will present his talk "Why I Don't Like Religious Exemptions" Wednesday, October 21 from 6:00-7:30PM in MUEN E0046 (10/13/15)
Western Civilization Dialogue Series presents "On God's Authority", October 22
The Center for Values and Social Policy in conjunction with the Center for Western Civilization, Thought, and Policy presents a panel talk "On God's Authority: Conscientious Objection in the Age of Same-Sex Marriage" Thursday, October 22 7:00-8:30 PM in Eaton Humanities 1B50. Panel members are Ryan Anderson, Senior Research Fellow, Heritage Foundation; John Corvino, Professor of Philosophy, Wayne State University; Sherif Girgis, co-author of the book "What is Marriage?"; and Andrew Koppelman, Professor of Law and Political Science,
Northwestern University. (10/12/15)
Center Blog Launches
The Center has launched its new blog, "What's Wrong?" Follow the blog on Facebook here. [8/10/15]
Think! Talk: "Cowspiracy" Movie, 3/19
The Think! Talk series presents a screeing of the movie "Cowspiracy", March 19th 6:30-9:00 PM in MATH 100. A panel discussion will follow. [3/10/15]
2014 Morris Colloquium to honor Alison Jaggar
The 2014 Morris Colloquium, "In the Unjust Meantime" will be held August 6-7. This year's colloquium will celebrate the work of CU Boulder Philosophy Professor of Distinction Alison Jaggar. [4/18/14]
RoME VII CFP is up:
The Sixth Annual Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress
August 7-10, 2014
See the Conference Website for more information [2/4/14]
Applications Due Feb 15!
RoME VI CFP is up:
The Sixth Annual Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress
August 8-11, 2013
See the Conference Website for more information [12/4/12]
The Fifth Annual Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress
August 9-12, 2012
See the Conference Website for more information [5/14/12]
The Morris Colloquium: March 15-16, 2012
Topic: Immigration. Speakers: Kit Wellman, Michael Blake, Adam Hosein. More information on the Morris page. [3/8/12]
Think! Talk: Diana Hsieh, "Should You Try to Be Morally Perfect?"
Tuesday, March 6, 2012. 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. in the Old Main Chapel. Free and open to the public. More information here. [3/1/12]
Think! Talk: Brian Talbot, "Killing and Priming: Some Recent Research into Moral Evidence"
Tuesday, January 24, 2012. 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. in the Old Main Chapel. Free and open to the public. More information here. [1/18/12]
The Fourth Annual Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress
August 4-7, 2011
See the Conference Website for more information [8/6/11]
Think! Talk: Ajume Wingo, "The Paths for the Perplexed: The Perils of Leadership in Modern Africa"
Wednesday, April 27, 2011. 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. in the Old Main Chapel. Free and open to the public. More information here. [4/27/11]
The 2011 Morris Colloquium: March 10-11
Charles Mills -- the John Evans Professor of Moral and Intellectual Philosophy at Northwestern University -- will give us three talks. [3/3/11]
Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl
Ethics Bowlcoming to CU: December 4, 2010.
The Third Annual Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress: August 5-8, 2010. See the conference website for the program and other conference information. [8/3/10]
Think! Talk: Brian Talbot, "Virtues and Video Games: How Should You Feel About Simulated Evil Acts?" Tuesday, April 13, 2010. 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. in the Old Main Chapel. Free and open to the public. More information here.
Think! Talk: Wes Morriston, "Divinely Mandated Genocide in the Bible: Is God Bad? Or Is the Bible Wrong about God?" Tuesday, March 16, 2010. 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. in the Old Main Chapel. Free and open to the public. More information here.
Think! Talk: Michael Tooley, "What Is Wrong with the World, and Who Is to Blame?" Tuesday, February 2, 2010. 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. in the Old Main Chapel. Free and open to the public. More information here.
Call for Papers: Third Annual RoME Congress. The Center for Values and Social Policy is pleased to invite paper proposals for the third annual RoME Congress to be held August 5-8, 2010 at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Papers from all areas of ethics and political theory are invited. To encourage the participation of junior scholars, the University of Colorado will be awarding a Young Ethicist Prize of $500 for most meritorious submission by a younger scholar. Click here for a pdf of the Call for Papers. [1/7/10]
Ethics Bowl: Click here for information about the upcoming Rocky Mountain Regional Ethics Bowl, including registration.
New Director: Ajume Wingo has taken over as Director of the Center for Values and Social Policy. Welcome, Ajume!
Think! Come to our free public lecture series.
RoME 2009: Click here for information about 2009's Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress.
Subscribe to this calendar.
All Talks on Friday from 12:00-12:50 in the Center (HLMS 269), unless noted.
Jan 27: Monique Wonderly (Princeton University)
"Attachment and Felt Necessity: Engaging with Value in Love and Addiction"
3:15-5:00, UMC 247
Philosophers have employed two different varieties of felt necessity to explain central aspects of agency in addiction and love, respectively. In addiction, the relevant felt need is often described in terms of an appetite, whereas love is characterized by necessities arising from a particular kind of caring. On my view, the extant literature offers an instructive, but incomplete picture of the roles of felt necessity in addiction and love. I argue that a third form of felt necessity -- attachment necessity -- often better captures central aspects of agency in love and addiction. Recognizing the role of attachment necessity will not only illuminate how felt necessity can impact the value of certain relationships, but it will also allow us to discern important features of addiction and love that remain obscured on extant approaches.
February 3: Thierry Ngosso (University of St Gallen)
"Where Should Corporate Responsibility Stop?"
In this talk I discuss where corporate responsibility should stop. I argue that corporate responsibility should stop at obligations arising from each firm's effective power provided that they are also compatible with those necessary for that firm to achieve its normative function. My argument combines a certain interpretation of the 'can implies ought' principle with a functional differentiation proviso. This approach appears more appealing than potential general frameworks on the delimitation of corporate responsibility.
February 10: Noel Saenz (Illinois)
"Sets and Grounding"
When it comes to grounding, talk of sets is standard. Someone asks 'what is grounding?' Many respond 'it is that relation of dependence that obtains between a set (or its existence) and its members (or their existence).' In this paper, I argue in favor of a principle of grounding that, in conjunction with a plausible claim about sets, tells against their existence. One implication of this is that reflecting on the nature of grounding motivates thinking that something that illustrates grounding well is, by the lights of grounding itself, impossible. Another is that contrary to what many think, we should not be so permissive when it comes to what grounded things exist. Grounding things can be, and in the case of sets is, more costly than we think.
February 17: Thierry Ngosso (University of St Gallen)
"Should Firms Be Morally Neutral?"
Neutralist Liberals claim that it is both inappropriate and useless to require firms to be morally neutral like states. It is inappropriate because, unlike states, firms are voluntary and perfectionist organizations. It is useless because reasonable accommodations are sufficient to protect the freedom of conscience of employees inside firms. I object to these claims and argue for firm neutrality. First, the opposition between the firm and the state is not substantial regarding the neutrality principle. In this respect, firms are closer to states than to churches. Second, even if reasonable accommodations incorporate a certain idea of neutrality, they do not exhaust its normative requirements inside firms.
February 24: Graham Oddie (Colorado)
"What's So Good About Being Happy?"
Time change: 1:00-2:00pm, Hellems 269
Happiness and well-being have both played rich roles in the history of value theory and of ethics, and they also feature prominently in popular culture and in psychology. Both have been held to be of fundamental intrinsic value. Despite the crucial roles that these two concepts play there is no general consensus about what they are or what their relationship is. I take my cue from a broadly Meinongian theory of emotions. This theory yields a natural, indeed rather obvious, account of the nature of happiness and of its relation to well-being. The account of the nature of happiness that I sketch also yields an appealing answer the question that is the title of this talk (appealing, because true). However, the answer might come as something of a surprise to some. Happiness is not itself intrinsically good thing and, even if consequentialism were correct, we would have no moral obligation to pursue it, promote it, or maximize it.
March 3: Krister Bykvist (Stockholm University, Institute for Futures Studies)
Time change: 12:00-1:30, Hellems 269
"Well-Being and Changing Attitudes"
The fact that our attitudes change poses well-known challenges for attitude-sensitive well-being theories. Take Kierkegaard's famous conundrum, for example. If I were to get married, I would prefer being unmarried; if I were to remain being unmarried, I would prefer being married. Which life is better for me? More generally, how can we find a stable standard of well-being, if the standard is in part defined in terms of unstable attitudes? In my talk, I will present a framework that will help us clear up the problems posed by changing attitudes. In particular, it will help us see what is at stake, which principles that can or cannot be combined, and what might be the best solution.
March 10: Eden Lin (Ohio State)
"Attitudinal and Phenomenological Theories of Pleasure"
Abstract: On phenomenological theories of pleasure, what makes an experience a pleasure is something about what it is like or the way it feels: pleasures are pleasures in virtue of possessing a certain kind of phenomenology. On attitudinal theories, what makes an experience a pleasure is something about its relationship to the favorable attitudes of the subject who is having that experience: a particular experience is a pleasure in virtue of being, say, liked or desired by the subject who is having it, or in virtue of consisting of that subject's liking or desiring something else. I advance the debate between these theories in two ways. First, I argue that the main objection to phenomenological theories, the heterogeneity problem, is not compelling. While others have argued for this before, I identify an especially serious version of this problem that resists existing solutions, and I explain why even this version of the problem does not undermine phenomenological theories. Second, I argue that a grand reconciliation can be effected between the two types of theory: it can be true both that pleasures are pleasures in virtue of how they feel and that they are pleasures in virtue of how they are related to their subjects' favorable attitudes, so long as the attitudes that are constitutively related to pleasures are ones that feel a certain way. Hybrid views of this sort have significant advantages over pure attitudinal or phenomenological views.
March 16: Helena de Bres (Wellesley)
"Narrative and Meaning in Life"
12:30-1:30 PM, HLMS 269
Abstract: Many theorists have argued that the meaningfulness of a life is related in some way to the narrative or story that can be told about that life. Relationists claim that a life gains in meaning when a particular set of "narrative relations" obtain between the events that constitute it. Recountists claim that it is the telling of a story about those relations, not the relations themselves, that confers meaning. After identifying problems with existing versions of both of these positions, this paper introduces a new and more satisfying variant of Recountism, centered on the old-fashioned idea that a meaningful life is, in part, an intelligible one. I argue that personal narration does play a role in a meaningful life and that my "Fitting Story" account provides the best explanation of how and why that is so.
March 17: David DeGrazia (George Washington University)
"A Framework of Principles for Animal Research Ethics"
Abstract: My purpose is to present a defensible framework for the ethics of laboratory animal research. I hope, in doing so, to accommodate reasonable pluralism about animals' moral status, avoid begging questions about whether animal models work, and indicate the inadequacy of current policies and the preeminent "3 Rs" framework. I will present and defend three principles pertaining to social benefit and four principles that address animal welfare. If the arguments are successful, the framework offers the possibility of agreement among open-minded members of the biomedical and animal-protection communities.
March 24: David Boonin (Colorado)
"Thomson's Violinist and the Ethics of Abortion Restrictions"
Abstract: In her 1971 article, "A Defense of Abortion", Judith Jarvis Thomson argued that abortion is morally permissible even if the fetus is a person. The analysis at the heart of Thomson's article generated a large secondary literature, virtually all of which followed Thomson in focusing exclusively on the question of whether abortion is morally permissible. In this paper, I apply Thomson's analysis of what follows (and what doesn't follow) from the claim that someone is a person to two further questions: a question about the moral status of laws prohibiting abortion and a question about the moral status of laws that permit abortion but restrict its availability in various ways. First, I present an argument, based on Thomson's analysis, for the claim that abortion should be legal. I argue that in several respects this argument for the claim that abortion should be legal is stronger than Thomson's own argument for the claim that abortion is morally permissible. Second, I argue that Thomson's analysis can also be used to ground a successful response to popular arguments in favor of various legal restrictions on abortion. I focus, in particular, on laws that impose a mandatory waiting period on women who seek abortions and on laws that require minors to obtain parental consent before they can have an abortion. But I also suggest that the analysis can be generalized to ground moral objections to most, if not all, legal restrictions on abortion.
April 7: Alastair Norcross (Colorado)
"More Mistakes in Moral Mathematics"
Abstract: Many significant harms, such as the mass suffering of animals on factory farms, global warming, or the presence of unqualified dangerous madmen in the White House, can only be prevented, or at least lessened, by the collective action of thousands, or in some cases millions, of individual agents. In the face of this, it can seem as if individuals are powerless to make a difference, and thus that they lack reasons, at least from the consequentialist perspective, to refrain from eating meat, to reduce their individual warming-related emissions, or to vote in presidential elections. This has become known as the "causal impotence" problem. The standard response, as exemplified by a paper of mine from 2004, and one of Shelly Kagan's from 2011, is to appeal to expected utility calculations. Recently, this response has been attacked, mostly on the grounds that the relevant causal mechanisms are more complex than Shelly or I are said to assume. In this paper, I argue that the attacks are unsuccessful, both at undermining the specific expected utility calculations we urge, or even at showing that significantly different expected utility calculations wouldn’t justify the relevant behavior.
Monday, April 10: Tom Dougherty (Cambridge)
12:00-12:50, HLMS 269
"The Normative Scope of Consent"
Abstract: By giving consent, we permit a range of actions. But which range? I will discuss whether we need to intend to permit a particular action in order to permit it, and whether we need to express this intention.
April 21: Maggie Taylor (Colorado, PhD student)
"Won’t Someone Think of the Children?: Reorienting the Moral Debate on Vaccination"
Abstract: The prevailing moral account in support of compulsory vaccination for children relies on the harm that unvaccinated children pose to other members of their communities. In contrast, those who oppose compulsory vaccination for children tend to argue that parents are within their rights to determine what is in the best interest of their own children, and that, where parents hold the belief that vaccination is not in their children’s best interest, that belief should be sufficient to guard against intervention by the state or other parties who might compel vaccination.
This talk identifies a common problem with both views: they neglect the interests of the particular child who will (or will not) be vaccinated in favor of the interests of others. I will defend a positive account in favor of compulsory vaccination grounded in parental duties, which include duties to protect and promote the physical well-being of one's children. This account will maintain that the duty to ensure the physical security of one’s children is not discharged by philosophical or religious beliefs a parent may hold in opposition to vaccination.
April 24 David Plunkett (Dartmouth)
"What Are/Should We Be Doing In Normative Inquiry?"
Abstract: In this paper, we focus on bringing out the nature and interest of two important dimensions of complexity in normative inquiry. These dimensions concern (1) which goals to pursue in normative inquiry and (2) which topics to investigate in normative inquiry. We argue that choices within these dimensions are neither trivial nor arbitrary: choices within these dimensions can be given interesting rationales, and can have important consequences for how it makes sense to proceed in one's normative inquiry. Our aim in this paper is not to settle how these choices should be made. Rather, our aim is to map some of the key considerations that matter for thinking about these choices, and how these considerations interact with each other in interesting, often complicated ways. In so doing, we highlight the import of what Alexis Burgess and David Plunkett have dubbed conceptual ethics: roughly, normative or evaluative assessment of words and concepts, including, crucially, the assessment of which concepts a given agent should use in a given context, and which words she should use to express those concepts. These issues in conceptual ethics, we argue, are especially important in this context given the diverse ways in which philosophers use key normative terms (e.g., 'morality', 'justice', and 'knowledge'), and given the ways they often tacitly switch between different uses. We also underscore the import of the fact that there are a variety of kinds of normativity that one might be interested in, for a range of different reasons. Part of our aim is to underscore the import of these varieties of normativity, and put forward what we think are some important distinctions between them. We conclude the paper with some broad suggestions for moving forward in normative inquiry in a more productive, methodologically reflective way, and avoiding some of the key pitfalls that we think often occur in the absence of such methodological reflection.
April 28: Mark Meaney (Leeds School of Business)
May 5 (currently open)
All Talks on Friday from 12:00-12:50 in the Center (HLMS 269), unless noted.
Aug 29: Professor Neil Sinhababu (University of Singapore)
"The Epistemic Argument for Hedonism"
3:15 - 5:00, UMC 384
Sept 2: Francis Beckwith (Baylor University)
"Taking Rites Seriously: Liberalism, Religion, and Cultural Conflict"
Sept 9: David Boonin (University of Colorado Boulder)
"Sex, Lies and Harm: Dougherty on Deceptive Seduction"
Monday Sept 12: Professor Dare (University of Auckland)
"Permissible Profiling: Predictive Risk Modelling and Child Maltreatment"
Abstract: New Zealand researchers have developed a predictive risk modeling (PRM) tool using an algorithm with significant capacity to ascertain and stratify children's risk of experiencing maltreatment in the future. The potential benefits of the tool are considerable and are of obvious moral value. However the application of predictive risk modeling to child maltreatment also has very clear ethical risks and costs, including those generated by predictable false positives, by the possible stigmatization of already vulnerable populations, by the probable use of data without consent, by predictable resource allocation issues the tool will raise, and by difficulties in designing and implementing effective interventions. This paper gives an overview of the issues and asks whether these ethical costs can be ameliorated or completely addressed, and whether those that cannot be addressed are outweighed by the benefits that might be delivered by the tool.
Sept 16: Professor Hallie Liberto (University of Connecticut)
"Crimes of Non-Consent"
Abstract: Some sexual behavior is criminal because of a failure of consent. In these cases, courts try to determine whether the victim did not give consent in the legal sense and, also, whether the perpetrator of the crime could have reasonably known that the victim did not consent, or could have been reasonably expected to know that the victim did not consent. I am going to distinguish three different ways in which a law can map onto the truth about consent: it can get the existing, moral and legal facts of the matter right; it can engage in the full normative construction of the facts that it maps onto; or it can engage merely in the legal construction of the facts that it maps onto. I argue that both the first and second of these correspondences are desirable, and only the third is problematic. These distinctions help answer (and, in some cases, help articulate) some of the objections to consent policies and laws that have recently been implemented by states, universities, and the Canadian government.
Sept 23: Professor Emeritus Paul T. Menzel (Pacific Lutheran University)
"The Fundamental Challenge for Advance Directives"
Abstract: Advance directives have been widely embraced as morally legitimate means through which people exercise self-determination and personal autonomy in medical care. Their most fundamental problem, "then-self vs. now-self," however, continues to be an extremely difficult challenge: why should the earlier self have authority over the current incompetent self who no longer values autonomy and does not care about the previous directive? Several related defenses have been offered to address the problem, among them self-ownership, the reality of an enduring narrative self, and the moral need to treat previously competent patients differently from never-competent patients. Menzel argues that something more is needed to make these intuitively compelling defenses work: a richer understanding of patients' current interests, and clarification of what constitutes a "change of mind." Individual cases are used to illustrate the problem and its potential resolution.
Sept 30: Professor Aya Gruber (CU Law School)
"Murder, Minority Victims, and Mercy"
Abstract: Should George Zimmerman have been acquitted of Trayvon Martin's murder? Should enraged husbands receive a pass for killing their cheating wives? Should the law treat a homosexual advance as adequate provocation for killing? Criminal law scholars generally answer these questions with a resounding "No". Theorists argue that criminal laws should not reflect bigoted perceptions of African Americans, women, and gays by permitting judges and jurors to treat those who kill racial and gender minorities with undue mercy. According to this view, murder defenses like provocation should be restricted to ensure that those who kill minority victims receive the harshest sanctions available. Equality is thus achieved by ratcheting up punishment. There is a similar bias in the death penalty, where those who kill racial minorities are treated more leniently than those who kill whites and are often spared execution. But the typical liberal response here is to call for abolition rather than more frequent executions. Equality is thus achieved by ratcheting down punishment. This article asserts that the divergence between the accepted scholarly positions on the provocation defense and capital punishment can be explained by provocation critics' choice to concentrate on spectacular individual instances of leniency toward those who kill gender minorities and death penalty theorists' tendency to view the entire institution of capital punishment as racist and retrograde. The article then provides the institutional sketch of noncapital murder law currently missing from provocation analysis by discussing sentencing practices, the demographic composition of murder defendants, and the provocation defense's potential role as a safety valve. It concludes that inserting institutional analysis into the critical assessment of provocation might undermine the prevailing scholarly dogma supporting pro-prosecution reform.
Oct 7: Professor Bonnie Steinbock
"Physician-Assisted Death and Severe, Treatment-Resistant Depression"
Abstract: In recent years, Belgium and the Netherlands have allowed some cases of euthanasia or assisted suicide (EAS) to be provided to patients with severe, treatment-resistant depression. The paper looks at the reasons for regarding this as evidence of a very slippery and dangerous slope, or alternatively as a reasonable and compassionate development.
Oct 14: Professor Iskra Fileva (University of Colorado Boulder)
"Two Senses of 'why': Traits and Reasons in the Explanation of Action"
In ordinary practice, character traits are often cited in an attempt to explain why an action was done. Thus, we say, "Young Abraham Lincoln walked through a storm to give the correct change to a customer because he is honest" or "James Tyrone refuses to pay for his wife's medical treatment because he is miserly". But how exactly do traits explain actions? In what sense of "why" does Lincoln's honesty or the stinginess of Eugene O'Neill's Tyrone tell us why Lincoln or Tyrone acted as each did?
We do not have a satisfactory answer to this question, and surprisingly few proposals are on offer. While there is voluminous literature on action explanation, philosophers interested in the explanation of action have tended to focus exclusively on reasons explanations. Traits, on the other hand, especially morally-laden traits, are discussed almost exclusively in relation to action evaluation. But traits, as evidenced by ordinary discourse, are relevant to the explanation, not just to the evaluation, of actions. In this talk, I examine the precise role traits play in the explanation of action, and I discuss the connections between traits and reasons explanations.
Oct 21: Professor Alison Jaggar (University of Colorado Boulder)
"Agency, Complicity, and the Responsibility to Resist Global Injustice" by Corwin Aragon and Alison Jaggar
Abstract: Philosophers working on global ethics pay increasing attention to wrongs that result from systemic injustices. They look beyond the actions of individual "bad apples," the failings of corrupt states, and the practices of supposedly "illiberal" cultures to provide increasingly comprehensive accounts of the global structural processes that produce and perpetuate many injustices. Structural analyses reveal connections among wrongs that at first sight appear unrelated to each other and show how the actions of individuals can contribute to injustice at local, national, regional, and even global levels. However, although these accounts illuminate the empirical situation, the ethical picture remains blurred. How, if at all, are individual citizens morally responsible for injustices rooted in the global order? This paper builds on Iris Marion Young's work to offer an answer based on people's complicity with unjust social-structural processes.
Nov 4: Professor Chris Heathwood (University of Colorado Boulder)
"Unconscious Pleasures and Attitudinal Theories of Pleasure"
This talk is part of larger project that aims to explain the nature of hedonic phenomena -- sensory pleasure, attitudinal pleasure, enjoyment, happiness, and their unpleasant opposites -- in terms of desire. My aim in this talk is to respond to a new and interesting objection, due to Ben Bramble, against attitudinal theories of sensory pleasure and pain: the objection from unconscious pleasures and pains. According to the objection, attitudinal theories are unable to accommodate the fact that sometimes we experience pleasures or pains of which we are, at the time, unaware. In response, I distinguish two kinds of unawareness and argue that the subjects in the examples that support the objection are unaware of their sensations only in a weak sense, and this weak sort of unawareness of a sensation does not preclude its being an object of one's attitudes.
Dec 2: Alexander Zambrano
"Organ Procurement and Posthumous Rights"
Under a policy of organ conscription, the State takes organs automatically from the bodies of the dead, regardless of whether people consented or wanted to donate. Some bioethicists believe that a conscription policy would be an improvement over the current system because it would yield more usable organs and hence save more lives. These same bioethicists also claim that the interests of living patients who need organs to continue living outweigh whatever interests the dead may have in keeping their organs. I disagree. In this talk, I develop an account of posthumous rights and argue that a conscription policy would violate at least some people's posthumous bodily rights. I then argue that if people have posthumous rights about their body that are violated by a conscription policy, then the interests of the dead in having their rights protected do outweigh the interests of the living.
Dec 9: Professor Sarah Song (University of California, Berkeley)
"What, If Anything, Justifies The State's Power Over Immigration?"
What, if anything, justifies the state's power over immigration? I examine three answers advanced by contemporary political theorists and philosophers writing about immigration, all of which appeal to the idea of collective self-determination but are ultimately based on 1) the value of distinctive cultures and national identities, 2) the right to private property, and 3) the value of freedom of association. I discuss the limits of these justifications and offer an alternative view in which the subject of self-determination is not a nation, joint-owners of state institutions, or members of voluntary associations but a people engaged in a shared political project.
All Talks on Friday from 12:00-12:50 in the Center (HLMS 269), unless noted.
Jan 29: Cheryl Abbate
"Extension in Animal Rights Theory: How a New Account of Respect Can Make Sense of Collective Harms"
Feb 5: Eric Lee
"Consent and 3rd Party Coercion"
Feb 12: Professor Michael L. Radelet (Sociology)
"History of the Death Penalty in Colorado"
Feb 12: Professor Ken Shockley (SUNY Buffalo)
"Framing Harm In a Time of Climate Change: Climate, Development, and the Environment"
3:00-4:30, HLMS 251
Feb 19: Caleb Pickard and Alexander Zambrano
"Don't Block It 'Til Ya Eyed It?: A Defense of Ad Blocking and Consumer Inattention"
Feb 26: Professor Robert Pasnau
"Belief in a Fallen World"
Mar 4: Professor Ahmed A White (Law School)
"The Labor Movement and the Dilemma of Labor Militancy"
Mar 14: Alfred Nsodu Mbinglo (founder and executive director of RECFAM – Research and Counselling Foundation for African Migrants)
"The Biblical Proportion of Internal and Cross Border Migration in Africa"
Monday, March 14 12:00-12:50, HLMS 269
Mar 18: Spencer Case
"From Epistemic Realism to Moral Realism: A Defense of Cuneo's Parity Premise"
Oct 2: Professor Adam Hosein
"Racial Profiling and Reasonable Resentment"
Oct 9: Dr. Govind Persad (Stanford)
"Why We Don't Need More Organ Donors"
Oct 21: Profesor John Corvino (Wayne State University)
"Why I Don't Like Religious Exemptions"
6:00-7:30 PM, MUEN E0046
Oct 22: Ryan Anderson (Heritage Foundation), John Corvino (Wayne State University), Sherif Girgis (author), Andrew Koppelman, (Northwestern University)
"On God's Authority: Conscientious Objection in the Age of Same-Sex Marriage"
7:00-8:30 PM, Eaton Humanities 1B50
Presented in conjuction with the Center for Western Civilization, Thought and Policy.
Oct 23: Sherif Girgis (Princeton)
"On God's Authority: Discussion"
Nov 6: Laurie Calhoun (Curio Bay, Southland, New Zealand)
"When Lethal Drones Come Home: The Path to Political Perdition"
Nov 20: Professor Michele Moody-Adams (Columbia University)
"Civic Art of Remembrance and Democratic Imagination"
Jan. 30: Jonathan Spelman
"Moral Obligation and Blame"
Feb 6: Dr. Hye-Ryoung Kang
"Can Rawls' Non-Ideal Theory Save His Ideal Theory?"
Feb. 13: Alastair Norcross
"On Wanton Self-Assurance: I Promised Myself I'd Write This"
Feb. 20: Shane Gronholz
"Welfare: Does Thinking Make it So?"
Feb. 27: Professor Dominik Perler (Berlin University/Princeton University)
"What is a Dead Body? Medieval Debates on a Metaphysical Puzzle."
Mar. 13: Alberto Ghibellini (Leo Strauss Center of the University of Chicago)
"Leo Strauss on Natural Right"
Mar. 20: TBA
Apr. 10: Paul Bowman
Apr. 24: Professor Joseph Ulatowski (University of Texas at El Paso)
"On Where the Action Is"
Sept 26: Andrew Chapman
"The Existential Dimension of Morality"
Oct 3: Prof. David Boonin
"Status Quo Bias and the Experience Machine"
Oct 10: Prof. Peter King (University of Toronto)
"Moral Fatigue: The Deadly Vice"
Oct 17: Prof. Joe Ulatowski (University of Texas at El Paso)
Oct 31: Prof. Caroline Arruda (University of Texas at El Paso)
"The Metaethical Problem of Suffering"
Nov 7: Joseph Stenberg
"Happiness on Earth (kind of) as it is in Heaven: Aquinas on Imperfect Happiness"
Nov. 21: Prof. Iskra Fileva
Jan 31: Prof. Eric Chwang
"Consent's Been Framed: How and When to Solve the Problem that Framing Effects Pose for Consent"
Feb 14: Prof. Adam Hosein
"Risk and Rights"
Feb 21: Prof. Michael Huemer
"Can Constitution Protect Freedom?"
Mar 7: Prof. Iskra Fileva (University of Michigan)
"The False, the Bad, and the Beautiful"
Mar 14: Prof. David Boonin
"Sex, Lies, and Consent"
Mar 21: Prof. Chris Heathwood
"Which Desires Are Relevant to Well-Being?"
Apr 11: Prof. Stephen M. Campbell (Coe College)
"The Good Death"
Apr 18: PhD Student Shane Gronholz
"Are Philosophers and Laypeople Talking About the Same Thing When They Talk about Morality?"
Apr 25: Prof. Adam Beresford (University of Massachusetts at Boston)
May 2: Glenn Loury (Brown University)
"When Speaking Truth to Power is Not Enough: On the Ethics of Being a Public Intellectual in America Today"
Sept 6: Prof. Eric Chwang
"Against the Moral Relevance of the Similarity between Research Subject and Beneficiary"
Sept 20: Prof. Claudia Mills
"Manipulation as an Aesthetic Flaw"
Sept 27: PhD Student Chad Cliest (Marquette University)
Special Location: HLMS 177
"Killing for Food and Tragic Dilemmas: Capabilities Analysis"
Oct 4: Prof. Chris Heathwood
"Irreducibly Normative Properties"
Oct 11: Prof. Bradley Monton
"Morality Grounds Personal Identity"
Oct 18: Prof. David Hildebrand (CU Denver)
"Pragmatism, Objectivity, and Democracy"
Oct 25: Prof. Iskra Fileva (University of Michigan)
"Playing with Fire: Art and the Seductive Power of Pain"
Nov 1: Christopher Lewis (Stanford University)
"Inequality, Incentives, Criminality and Blame"
Nov 8: Prof. Mary Ann Cutter (University of Colorado at Colorado Springs)
"The Ethical Implications of Gendering Disease"
Nov 15: Prof. Ajume Wingo
"A Free Person as a Maker of Surprises"
Dec 6: Dr. Eamon Aloyo
"The Last of Last Resort: Why the Last Resort Criterion in Just War Theory Should Not Exist"
Jan 25: Prof. Michael Huemer
"Probabilistic Proof of Moral Realism"
Feb 1: Dr. Brian Talbot
"Conflicting Intuitions in Ethics and Elsewhere"
Feb 8: Dr. Eamon Aloyo
"Why Just Assassinations are Morally Preferable to Just Wars and Some Harmful 'Peaceful' Policies"
Mar 1: Prof. Eric Chwang
Mar 8: Duncan Purves
"The Harm of Death"
Mar 15: Dan Lowe
"Why Counterexamples Fail (and What To Do About It): A Talk on Moral Epistemology and Philosophical Method"
Apr 5: Paul Studtmann
"The Game of Laws"
Apr 12: Prof. Ajume Wingo
Apr 19: Prof. Benjamin Hale
Apr 26: Prof. Adam Hosein
"Freedom, Sex-Stereotype and Anti-Discrimination"
Sept 14: Prof. Alison Jaggar
"Does Poverty Wear a Woman's Face? Some moral dimensions of a transnational feminist research project"
Sept 21: Dr. Abigail Gosselin
"Women, Justice, and the Global Context of Mental Disorder"
Sept 28: Prof. Michael Huemer
"The Duty to Disregard the Law"
Oct 5: Prof. David Boonin
"Harm After Death"
Oct 12: Annaleigh Curtis
"The Problem of Evidentialism in Moral Epistemology"
Oct 19: Prof. Mary Ann Cutter (CU Colorado Springs)
"The Ethics of Gender-Specific Disease"
Oct 26: Chelsea Haramia
"What are our Responsibilities to the Non-Existent?"
Nov 2: Prof. Alastair Norcross
Nov 9: Martin Chamorro
"The Proportionality of Open Borders and Exclusion"
Nov 16: Prof. Adam Hosein
"Where Are You Really From? Ethnic Selection in Liberal Democracies"
Nov 30: Annaleigh Curtis
"A Problem for Evidentialism in Moral Epistemology"
Dec 7: Ryan Jenkins
Jan 27: Prof. David Boonin
"Parfit's latest defense of the No Difference View"
Feb 10: Prof. Chris Heathwood
"Preferentism and the Experience Requirement"
Feb 17: Dr. Brian Talbot
"Which Epistemic Norms Matter?"
Mar 9: Prof. Philip Cafaro (CSU)
"For a Species Right to Exist"
Mar 23: Prof. Alastair Norcross
"Why and How Death is Bad for Animals, and People"
Apr 6: Prof. Chad Kautzer (CU Denver)
"Arendt, Occupy, and the Challenge to Political Liberalism: A Reply to Charles W. Mills"
Apr 13: Annaleigh Curtis
"Epistemic Injustice and Moral Knowledge"
Apr 20: Prof. Marion Hourdequin (Colorado College)
"Geoengineering, Solidarity, and Moral Risk"
Apr 27: Prof. David Boonin
"Why Blackmail Should Be Legal"
May 4: Prof. Robert Pasnau
All Talks on Friday from 12:00-12:50 in the Center (HLMS 269), unless noted
Jan. 14, 2011: Dr. Nick Ferreira (University of Witwatersrand)
Jan. 21: Eric Chwang
“A Qualified Argument against Athletic Doping"
Jan. 28: Christian Lee
“Dissolving Indeterminacy and Incommensurability in Values”
Feb 4: Claudia Mills
“The Ethics of Parenthood”
Feb. 11: Michael Huemer
“Authority and Hypothetical Consent"
Feb. 18: Jarrod Hanson (Education)
"Defending Deliberative Democracy in the Classroom: Bridging Epistemological Divides"
Feb. 25: Adam Hosein
"Immigration and Equality: Must Governments Treat Aliens the Same as Citizens?"
Mar. 4: Eamon Aloyo (Political Science)
"A Democratic Justification for Nonmilitary Humanitarian Intervention: Reconciling Human Rights and Collective Self Determination"
Mar. 11: Charles Mills
"Body Politic, Bodies Impolitic"
Mar. 18: Horst Mewes (Political Science)
“The Function of Religion in Tocqueville’s Democracy in America”
Apr. 1: Bob Pasnau
"Trust Yourself, Be Irrational"
Apr. 8: David Boonin
"Famine, Affluence, and Mortality: A Non-Consequentialist Response to Singer and Unger"
Apr. 22: Ben Rich (UC Davis School of Medicine)
"Existential Suffering and the Ethics of Palliative Sedation"
Apr. 29: Kent Northcote, M.D.
“Perception and Memory”
All Talks on Friday from 1:00-1:50 in the Center (HLMS 269), unless noted
Sept. 3, 2010: Eric Chwang
“Freedom from Autonomy”
Sept. 10: Mike Huemer
“Against Democratic Authority”
Sept. 17: Ben Hale
"Undoing and Disallowing"
Sept. 24 at 12:00 noon: Robert Pippin (University of Chicago)
“Cinematic Action Theory”
(Note the time change)
Oct. 1: Eamon Aloyo
“Basic Democratic Rights: Conditionally Deriving Human Rights from a thin Procedural Conception of Democracy”
Oct. 8: Kacey Warren
"Recognizing Disability: Reconceptualizing a Vision of Social Justice for the Cognitively Disabled"
Oct. 15: Amandine Catala
“Reframing the Normative Question of Secession”
Oct. 22: Michele S. Moses
“Are Ballot Initiatives a Just way to Make Public Policy?”
Oct. 29: Brian Talbot
Nov. 5: Adam Hosein
"Doing, Allowing, and the State"
Dec. 3: Ajume Wingo
"The Politics of the Apolitics of Racism"
All Talks 12:00-12:50
in the Center (HLMS 269)
Jan 29: Prof. Claudia Mills
Feb 5: Prof. Alison Jaggar
"Hearts Starve As Well As Bodies: Leisure As an Indicator of Agency and Wellbeing"
Feb 12: Prof. David Boonin
"The Non-Comparative Account of Harm"
Feb 19: Prof. Ben Hale
"Nonrenewable Resources and the Inevitability of Outcomes"
Feb 26: Heather Roff (PoliSci)
"Kant's Permissive Law: A Principle for the Perplexed"
Mar 5: Cory Aragon
“Situating Responsibility for Global Justice”
Mar 12: Christian Lee
“A Trivial Organic Unity?”
Apr 2: Dr. Uri Leibowitz
"What is Friendship?"
Apr 9: Prof. Alastair Norcross
Apr 16: Prof. Steve Vanderheiden (PoliSci)
"The Ethics of Free Riding"
Apr 23: Michaela McSweeney
Feb 13: Prof. David Boonin
"Why I Hate Hate Speech Codes (But Still Don’t Hate Hate Crime Laws)"
Feb 20: Prof. Michael Zimmerman
"Rapture of the Nerds: The (allegedly) coming technological 'Singularity'"
Feb 27: Prof. Eric Chwang
"On the Moral Force of Coerced Promises"
Mar 6: Prof. Dan Kaufman
"Sinful Actions and Sinfulness"
Mar 13: Christian Lee
"Basic Evaluative Properties"
Mar 20: Prof. Ben Hale
"Carbon Sequestration, Ocean Fertilization, and the Problem of Permissible Pollution"
Apr 3: Prof. Matt Tedesco (Beloit College, CU PhD)
"Harm, Consent, and Practical Joking"
Apr 10: Prof. Alison Jaggar
"The Philosophical Challenges of Global Gender Justice"
Apr 17: Dan Demetriou
"Honor: The Ethic for Real Men?"
Apr 24: Prof. Mike Huemer
"Is There a Right to Immigrate?"
Sept 4: Prof. Chris Heathwood
"Moral and Epistemic Open Question Arguments"
Sep. 11: Prof. Claudia Mills
Sept. 18: Prof. Eric Chwang
"Consent and Cluster Randomization"
Sept. 25: Scott Wisor
"Philosophical Reflections on Sudan Activism"
Oct 2: Prof. Alastair Norcross
"Fetishism and Deontology"
Oct 9: Dr. Jason Wyckoff
"Why Political Legitimacy Entails Political Obligations"
Oct 16: Prof. Brad Monton
"Against Multiverse Theodicies"
Oct 23: Prof. Rob Rupert
"Against Group Mental States"
Oct 30: Dr. Ryan Mott
"Why Political Legitimacy Doesn't Necessarily Entail Political Obligations"
Nov 6: Barrett Emerick
"Kantian Ethics and the Puzzle about People in Great Need"
Nov 13: Amandine Catala
"Is There a Right to Secede?"
Nov 20: Tom Metcalf
"Empirical Ethical Intuitionism"
Dec 11: Pamela Lomelino
"Why Relational Autonomy Is Better Than Traditional Accounts of Autonomy"
Prof. Christina Van Dyke (Calvin College)
“Ethical Vegetarianism: Feminist Requirement or Patriarchal Burden?
Prof. Alastair Norcross
“Euthanasia and Self-Defense”
“What Moral Intuitions Are”
Prof. Claudia Mills
“Stigma and Openness”
“The Modern Corporation as Moral Agent”
“Privatization, Democracy, and Public Goods”
Prof. David Boonin
“What’s Wrong with Racial Profiling?”
Dr. Michael Peirce
“It’s Not My Concern: Singer and Plato, Rules, Roles, and Social Organization”
Prof. Chris Heathwood
“Desire-Based Theories of Welfare, of Pleasure, and of Reasons”
Prof. Gordon Finlayson (University of Sussex)
"Not Much Ado about Habermas and Rawls"
Prof. Eric Chwang
Prof. Neera Badhwar (University of Oklahoma)
"Is Realism Really Good for You? A Realistic Response"
Sept 5: Ajume Wingo
"Trustees of Themselves: A New Framework for Human Rights"
Sept 12: Harry Platanakis (University of London)
"Aristotle on Political Participation"
Sept 19: Jason Wyckoff
"Can Gratitude Serve as a Basis of Political Obligation?"
Sept 25: Dr. Uri Leibowitz
"Particularism in Aristotle's Ethics"
Oct 10: Prof. Eric Chwang
"Three Ways of Speaking and the Futility of Coerced Promises"
Oct 17: Prof. Chris Heathwood
“Could Morality Have a Source?"
Oct 24: Prof. Alastair Norcross
"Intentions, Character, and Consequentialism"
Oct 31: Ryan Mott
"Reviving Weber's Ghost: Attitudinal Accounts of State Legitimacy"
Nov 14: Prof. Brad Monton
"Should Intelligent Design Be Taught in School?"
Nov 21: Kendy Hess
“The Metaphysics of Corporate Agency"
Dec 5: Prof. David Boonin
“Why I Don’t Hate Hate Crime Laws”
Dec 12: Jason Hanna
"Ulysses Contracts and the Relevance of Consent"
Sep 7: Dr. Jackie Colby
“Health Disparities, Ethics, and the HPV Vaccine”
Sep 14: Prof. Alison Jaggar
“Ideal Theory versus Critical Theory: Comparing the Philosophical Methods of John Rawls and Iris Marion Young”
Sep 21: Prof. Chris Heathwood
“Desire-Based Theories of Welfare and the Possibility of Self-Sacrifice”
Sep 28: Jason Hanna
“How Soft Is Soft Paternalism?”
Oct 12: Prof. Philip Cafaro (CSU)
“The Environmental Argument for Reducing Immigration into the United States”
Oct 26: Prof. Alastair Norcross
“Utility, Determinism, and Possibility”
Oct 29: Prof. Mariam Thalos (Utah)
“Risk and Resources”
Nov 2: Cindy Scheopner
“Creating God: Mormon Metaphysics and the Politics of Polygamy”
Nov 9: Prof. Steve Vanderheiden (CU Poli Sci)
“Justice and Global Climate Change”
Nov 16: Prof. Claudia Mills
”Fathers and Mothers”
Prof. Eric Chwang
“Justice, Development, and Just Development: An Institutional Approach to Analyzing Development”