Center for Values and Social Policy


Morris Colloquium
Ethics Bowl
Research Ethics

Morris Colloquium

The Morris Colloquium -- an annual conference in memory of Bertram Morris (Professor of Philosophy, University of Colorado at Boulder) -- is organized by the Philosophy Department of the University of Colorado at Boulder and supported by the generous contributions of the Bertram Morris Fund.


this year's Morris

Topic: Cognitive Values
March 6-7, 2015
The creation, preservation, and dissemination of knowledge is freighted with commitments to cognitive values: such as the value of truth, accuracy, evidence, coherence and of knowledge itself. These values pertain to cognitive states, and the transition from one cognitive state to another. No one disputes that these values are crucial to the enterprise of knowledge gathering, and they pose a host of interesting questions concerning their nature and logical structure.

The history of inquiry contains a graveyard of refuted and discarded hypotheses and conjectures, dead ends and often apparently wasted effort. Despite this, we do not think that all false or inaccurate beliefs miss their mark entirely. One does not have to have apprehended, or proved, a totally accurate and complete answer to an inquiry for that inquiry to make progress. Some cognitive states which have not attained the end of inquiry are nevertheless better than other cognitive states (with respect to the purely cognitive aims of the enterprise) even when both fall short of the goal. Some cognitive states are more accurate, or better supported, or more coherent than are others. But this raises a set of further questions. What is accuracy, how valuable is it, and when is it worthwhile trying to improve it?

This Morris Colloquium promotes fruitful interaction between epistemology and value theory. These are two areas of philosophy in which our Department has been very strong, and a number of us in the Department have a long-standing interest in issues at their intersection. This Colloquium brings together some of the leading senior scholars in the field (including Richard Pettigrew (Bristol), Branden Fitelson (Rutgers) and Luc Bovens (London), together with a group of younger scholars (Julia Staffel, Miriam Shoenfield, Matt Kopec, Ted Shear, David Etlin and Brian Talbot) with the aim of reporting and discussing the latest developments in their research and fomenting new ideas and collaborations.

More information can be found at the conference website:

You can also contact the conference organizer, Graham Oddie, at


Bertram Morris

Bertram Morris (1908-1981) was born in Denver.  Educated at Princeton and Cornell, he taught at the University of Colorado from 1947 until his retirement in 1977.  He published books including The Aesthetic Process, Philosophical Aspects of Culture, and Institutions of Intelligence.


Bertram Morris is remembered as much for his committed involvement in the social issues of his community as for his scholarly work.  In 1953, he began an outreach program at Manual High School in Denver that still continues.  In 1975, he was given a special award by the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado for his efforts on behalf of academic freedom and his work to improve conditions at the Boulder County Jail.


As an expression of admiration and gratitude, the Philosophy Department established this Colloquium when Bertram Morris retired in 1977.

Morris 2015

March 6-7: Cognitive Values


Morris past

2014: Alison Jaggar

2013: Philosophy and Inclusion

2012: Immigration

2011: Charles Mills

2010: David Benatar

2008: Philososki

Spring 2007: Shelly Kagan


Fall 2007: Development and Human Rights in a Globalizing World


2006: Reflections on Human Nature  




2004: Realizing Equal Citizenship 


Spring 2003: Global Justice


Fall 2003: Balancing Liberty and Security After 9/11


2002: Environmental Ethics  


2000: The Ethics and Politics of Consumerism 


1999: Equality in an Unequal World


1997: Philosophy and Film


1996: Education at a Crossroads: Toward a New Role for Philosophy in Education


1995: Business and Social Responsibility


1993: Biological and Cultural Diversity: Challenges in Environmental Ethics


1992: Universal Access to Health Care: Rights, Justice and Affordability


Fall 1991: Feminist Ethics


Spring 1991: Law, Lawyers and Justice


1990: Is Undergraduate Education Possible in the Multiversity?


1989: US Foreign Intervention: The Moral Issues


1988: Is There a Moral Alternative to Violence?


1987: Ethics and Medical Technology


1986: Realism, Relativism, and the Objectivity of Value


1985: The Press and the Public


1984: Orwell’s 1984 and Ours: Prospects for Freedom in America


1983: Annihilation: Genocide to Omnicide


1982: Environmental Futures: Issues in Ethics and Economics


1981: Bioethics: Health and Human Values


1980: Morality, Rationality and Environmental Crisis: Society, Energy and Carbon Dioxide


1979: The Power of the State


1978: Morality and International Relations


1977: Compensatory Justice

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