Critical Philosophy of Race
by Rob Peeler Nov 16, 2016
The 2016 election campaign was arguably the most divisive in a generation. And even after Donald Trump’s victory, people are struggling to understand what his presidency will mean for the country. This is especially true for many minority groups who were singled out during the election campaign and have since experienced discrimination and threats of violence.
by Rob Peeler Sep 24, 2015
Contributors: Michael D. Burroughs
How can you move from ethical awareness to ethical action? The Rock Ethics Institute at Penn State can help guide you and give you some tools to help in both your professional and personal lives.
It is my pleasure to welcome you back to another exciting year at the Rock Ethics Institute. This coming year promises to be a busy but also a creative and hope inspiring one for all of us at the Rock and the University Community in general.
by Rob Peeler Apr 20, 2016
Penn State students Alanna Kaiser, Nathan Larkin, and Jaden Rankin-Wahlers are being honored respectively for their work in social & environmental justice; organizing efforts to address climate change; and combatting stigmas associated with poverty and homelessness.
by SKeira Jul 22, 2015
Racism is not just a matter of personal feeling. It is deeply embedded in the structure of and institutions of our society and of the world in general. It is reflected, for example, in the distribution of wealth, of health resources, and of educational opportunities.
Yael Warshel, assistant professor of telecommunications and research associate in the Rock Ethics Institute, recently traveled to Baku, Azerbaijan to participate in a UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs co-sponsored roundtable about refugees and internally displaced persons. Dr. Warshel spoke about "mobile literacy" or the non-formal education which these populations are acquiring and the irony that those skills better benefit global sensibility.
by Rob Peeler May 10, 2016
Ted Toadvine, professor of philosophy and environmental studies at the University of Oregon, has been named director of the Rock Ethics Institute at Penn State. Toadvine’s tenure as director will begin in January 2017.
by Rob Peeler Jan 10, 2017
“I like writing in my journals with a pen. The act of writing and the physical contact with pen and paper gives me inspiration,” says Gabeba Baderoon, a South African poet from the city of Cape Town who joined the departments of Women’s Studies and African and African American studies at Penn State as an assistant professor in July 2008. “I never thought I would be a poet until I came to Penn State in 1999.”
by Rob Peeler Jan 24, 2017
Sarah Clark Miller, associate professor of philosophy and women's, gender, and sexuality studies, and Rock affiliate faculty member, will serve as a visiting scholar for “Diverse Philosophical Approaches to Sexual Violence,” a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute to be held at Elon University June 18-30, 2017.
by SKeira Jul 22, 2015
In his contribution to the Panel Discussion on Global Ethics, Dr. Attfield offered an analysis of how the environmental crisis has presented us with new moral consequences and implications for our moral thinking. The environmental crisis includes everything from climate change, to global warming, to the degradation of natural resources and environments. It has reached the level of a crisis thanks to its global extent, the fact that is stems from the accumulation of countless big and more trivial actions, and that it affects natural systems as well as current and future people and members of others species.In light of this environmental crisis, Attfield acknowledges that this means that more than happiness is at stake. We need a deeper value theory that extends beyond pleasure/happiness and pain/suffering. As part of the moral consequences, the environmental crisis also requires that we expand the range of those who bear moral standing to non-human creatures and future generations.
by SKeira Jul 21, 2015
In case you were starting to pine for another 'teachable moment' in racial politics, Psychology Today has obliged. Satoshi Kanazawa posted an article on the magazine's website purporting to show that black women are objectively less attractive than other women. I was preparing to discuss some of the many problems with this way of framing the issue, and perhaps, if I could bear it, to say something about the problems with the argument, but the good folks at ColorLines and ColorOfChange.Org are already on the case. There are other articles in other places (like TheRoot.com), but the ColorOfChange take is here, and the ColorLines piece is here. (PsychToday has removed Kanazawa's original piece from its site, in response to many, many public calls for them to do so.)
Application deadline is January 31, 2017.
by Rob Peeler Dec 14, 2016
The online application for the 2017 Philosophy in an Inclusive Key Summer Institutes is live! Check it out at http://www.piksi.org/application/ and encourage undergraduate students from underrepresented groups to consider future study of philosophy. Application deadline is January 31, 2017.
The Rock Ethics Institute at Penn State welcomes three new core faculty members in ethical research: C. Daryl Cameron (Psychology), Joshua F.J. Inwood (Geography), and Alan R. Wagner (Aerospace Engineering). These faculty members will help strengthen an interdisciplinary community of scholars and educators from across the University and they are committed to enhancing Penn State’s curriculum and research expertise in ethics.
by Rob Peeler Nov 09, 2015
The Rock Ethics Institute at Penn State announces a call for nominations for its ninth annual Stand Up Awards in recognition of undergraduate students at the University’s campuses who have demonstrated ethical leadership in taking a stand for a person, cause or belief. The goal of the award is to recognize courageous individuals and to inform the entire Penn State community about how often the extraordinary act is possible in ordinary circumstances.
by SKeira Jul 22, 2015
The first to be presented at the recent Sustainability Ethics Conference at Penn State University Park, Dower's paper provided a clear outline of the key concepts and questions that are at work in discussions of sustainability. The paper began by situating the role of the philosopher as one who 1) analyzes concepts, 2) identifies ethical issues and any underlying theories that might already be in use regarding these issues, 3) offers normative arguments for preferring some theories over others, and 4) considers implications of the application of those theories. His paper followed suit by raising questions about concepts like "sustainability" and "development."
New York Times Krugman Claims That US Congressional Hearings Are A Moral Failure: The US Congress and The Ethics of Willful Ignorance.
by SKeira Jul 21, 2015
In an April 4, 2011 New York Times op-ed entitled "The Truth, Still Inconvenient," Paul Krugman charged that Republican led climate change hearings that had just concluded were a deep moral failure. (Krugman, 2011) Krugman described the GOP US House of Representatives hearings at which of five invited witnesses on climate change, one was a lawyer, another an economist, and a third a professor of marketing---witnesses without any expertise in climate change science. One of the witnesses that was actually a scientist was expected to support the skeptical position but surprised everyone by supporting the mainstream scientific view on the amount of warming that the world has already experienced. Yet he was immediately attacked by climate skeptics.
by SKeira Apr 15, 2015
Last spring, February 17-19, Michele Tracy Berger visited the Penn State campus. While here she gave two public talks (one co-sponsored by REI and the other a keynote address for the Women's Studies Graduate Student Organization Conference). She also participated in a luncheon discussion with the members of the Global Approaches to Intersectionality (GAI) reading group and other friends of the Rock Ethics Institute (REI).
by SKeira Jul 22, 2015
by Rob Peeler May 01, 2015
Contributors: By Cara McDonald
This guest post is written by Cara McDonald, a 2015 Stand Up Award recipient. You can see more of her story at www.StandUpPSU.com. My motivation to help Haiti is driven by an undeniable passion to see the country and the Haitian people reach their full potential. I envision a day where children are lifted out of poverty, mothers and fathers are able to care for their families and the country is not known for its poverty, but for its beauty and prosperity. This passion did not come from reading about poverty or seeing it on TV, but from witnessing it, feeling it and taking action against it.
by Rob Peeler Apr 04, 2016
The fellows, Jeffery M. Catchmark, Rosemary Jolly, Sarah Clark Miller, and Amit Sharma, will help support initiatives that integrate curricular and research components by building interdisciplinary collaborations that will advance the Rock’s goal of integrating ethics into the Penn State curriculum.
by SKeira Jul 22, 2015
Ethical issues are everywhere. Perhaps the greatest ethical issue of the time arrives as a problem that has the power to change the planet. Climate Change is a grave issue that is facing the world today. This can be seen from evidence stated by the UNFCCC.
We Americans like to think of ourselves as an ethical people. For generations, our presidents have referred to America as the “shining city on a hill” and “the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world.” We pledge allegiance to a flag that stands for “liberty and justice for all.” That word “all” is key. If our lofty declarations are to have any meaning, then justice must be available for everyone, including the vulnerable and the oppressed.
by Rob Peeler Apr 21, 2016
Two faculty members in the Penn State College of the Liberal Arts have been named Sherwin Early Career Professors in the college’s Rock Ethics Institute. Jeremy Engels now holds the title Sherwin Early Career Professor in the Rock Ethics Institute and associate professor of communication arts and sciences, while Bryan McDonald now holds the title Sherwin Early Career Professor in the Rock Ethics Institute and assistant professor of history. Both appointments are effective March 2016 and continue until June 30, 2018.
by Rob Peeler Jan 12, 2017
Eduardo Mendieta, associate director of the Rock Ethics Institute and professor of philosophy, has been honored by the Caribbean Philosophical Association with the Frantz Fanon Outstanding Achievements Award. This award is for a young senior scholar or public intellectual of high repute and global impact whose contributions to areas of thought and institutional development are in the spirit of Frantz Fanon’s revolutionary humanism.
Diversifying a Discipline - Penn State produced an unprecedented number of black, female Ph.D.s in philosophy
by Rob Peeler Mar 29, 2016
In 2015, Penn State produced an unprecedented number of black, female Ph.D.s in philosophy. Here’s how.
by Rob Peeler Mar 01, 2017
Recent vandalism in Jewish cemeteries in St. Louis and Philadelphia illustrates the all too real problem of hate crime faced by many communities in the United States. The Conversation Just this February, the Southern Poverty Law Center found that for the second year in a row the number of hate groups in the United States has been growing – up from 892 in 2015 to 900 in 2017. The report also found since the election of President Donald Trump there has been a sharp increase in hate crime incidents. These incidents beg the question: How can such racial divisions be healed? I study U.S.-based truth commissions and the field of transitional justice. Transitional justice refers to judicial and nonjudicial measures implemented by countries to redress large-scale human rights abuses, such as truth commissions. Several communities in the United States have attempted to confront racism through truth and reconciliation commissions. My work suggests these commissions have indeed helped promote racial healing and understanding.
by Rob Peeler Aug 24, 2015
Contributors: Eduardo Mendieta
A short animated video, produced by Wireless Philosophy (Wi-Phi), and presented by Eduardo Mendieta, Associate Director, Rock Ethics Institute.
by Rob Peeler Jan 19, 2017
This panel seeks to carve out new pathways into the subject of children, youth and media. Abstracts are sought that critically interpret how Middle Eastern, North African, and Persian/Arabian Gulf children and youth use, play with, produce, interpret and/or are influenced by media in conflict zones. Abstracts should come from or be framed from the “voice”, or perspective of children and youth and connect how their respective media uses and practices impinge on the development of their culture, constructions of civic and national identity, intergroup attitudes, political opinions, and/or peace and conflict related practices and behaviors. To that effect, papers might examine the media uses and associated daily lives -- past and/or present -- of among others, Algerian, Iranian, Iraqi, Israeli, Lebanese, Libyan, Palestinian, Syrian, Tuareg, Yemini or Yezedi girls and boys. Papers that explore these areas as they relate to the lives of those among them who have been (forcibly-) migrated, are borderlands children, have been born due to the uses of rape as a weapon of war, and/or whom, through them, have become child mothers, are particularly encouraged.
by Rob Peeler Apr 22, 2016
At the Paris Climate talks, global society agreed to pursue a rapid decarbonization of the global economy to cap total global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius. Such actions would prevent some dire effects of human-caused climate change. What are some of the ethical issues from global climate change?
by Rob Peeler Sep 23, 2016
The workplace should be an inclusive, safe and welcoming environment. But what happens if you feel discriminated against or someone who is known to discriminate or regularly uses offensive speech is promoted. How should you deal with this and what resources do you have at your disposal? This week’s column aims to offer some advice on the subject.
by Rob Peeler Sep 30, 2016
Expressions of patriotism can be important to the health of the nation and can serve as a rallying point for a diverse and multicultural nation. Equally important is the right to peaceful protest including the right to express opinions that some people might find antithetical to the nation. Recently this tension has come to the fore as athletes and other prominent public figures have begun silently protesting police abuses during the singing of the national anthem. This week’s column tackles this important issue.
by Rob Peeler Feb 18, 2016
"Turn that music down!" is something many of us have heard from a neighbor or family member. In today's column, the ethicist takes a look at this predicament and offers some guidance on how to respond.
by Rob Peeler Mar 30, 2016
We now have access to more information than we’ve ever had and it keeps growing by the minute. We can quickly pull up restaurant reviews, journal articles, and real-time weather within seconds from devices in our pockets. But what happens when you come across something online that you know to be incorrect because you spent your life researching that topic? Should you feel compelled to engage in this online discussion since you’re an expert with several related publications?
In preparation for Fall Career Days at Penn State, we are publishing questions over the next week that will discuss internships, interviewing, résumés, and reference writing. This question centers around a job offer from an internship that didn't seem like the right fit. There are ethical implications in deciding whether to accept a job offer after completing an internship or co-op. Today, we discover what some of those issues might be and how to approach them.
In preparation for Fall Career Days at Penn State, we are publishing questions over the next week that will discuss internships, interviewing, résumés, and reference writing. This question centers around attendance at the career fair. It's a great moment when you finally get that first job or internship offer. It feels even better to formally accept the offer, feeling secure about that next step in your career. But what if that offer comes before a career fair and you accept? Is it ethical to still attend the fair and take up the time recruiters could be spending with other students?
In preparation for Fall Career Days at Penn State, we are publishing questions over the next week that will discuss internships, interviewing, résumés, and reference writing. This first question centers around writing reference letters. Most of us have either served as a reference for someone or asked someone to serve as a reference for us. But what happens when someone is asked to serve as a reference for a colleague or student and for whatever reason, the individual is not comfortable serving in this capacity? How should someone respond to the request?
by Rob Peeler Mar 13, 2017
Consider your personal brand; how can you honestly represent yourself to potential employers? We have all heard the phrase “honesty is the best policy” but sometimes during an interview it is not clear what implications our honesty will have on our employability. Sure, we all want to present ourselves in the best possible light, but some interview questions can make us consider how to respond in a truthful and ethical manner.
by Rob Peeler Apr 12, 2016
Should someone be able to charge high prices for important medical information? Can one even own such knowledge? This week’s article shed’s some light on these questions by taking a look at whether or not it is ethical for an acupuncturist to charge other licensed acupuncturists a large sum of money to learn about key acupuncture points.
by Rob Peeler Feb 09, 2017
Getting a great job right out of school can be challenging. Sometimes you may be tempted to embellish a bit on your resume or alter some of your professional or educational experience. Lying on your resume not only affects you, but your colleagues, supervisors, and those who didn’t get the job you landed. Lying on your resume also puts your company’s reputation at risk. So what happens when someone who lied on their resume wants to go back and set things right? This week’s column discusses just that.
by Rob Peeler Dec 05, 2016
This happens to all of us. For days, sometimes weeks, we may see a forgotten umbrella or other lost item sitting in the back of a classroom or office. After some time, many of us wonder if we could simply take that lost property. Is it ethical to take the lost property?
by Rob Peeler Mar 14, 2016
Combat experience is sometimes difficult to talk about, especially for loved ones. Concerned parents want to learn more about their children’s time in the military, but many aren’t sure how to go about it. This week’s column helps explain why many veterans choose not to talk about their experiences and suggests that being there to listen, not asking, is the most ethical way to communicate with them.
by Rob Peeler Jan 16, 2017
Networking can sometimes help land an internship. But sometimes we may feel guilty because we don’t feel that we deserve the internship because of other factors, such as lower grades. Would it be unethical for you to accept an internship based on networking alone?
by Rob Peeler Feb 24, 2017
The advent of autonomous (self-controlled) robots presents important new questions for those who study robotics and ethics. Most people who study these topics believe that recent advances in autonomous robots and artificial intelligence will fundamentally change warfare. Autonomous robots, because they are not physiologically limited, can operate without sleep or food, perceive things that people do not, and move in ways that humans cannot. These abilities result in military advantages. Some scholars passionately argue that the use of robots to kill in war is unethical and others suggest that using robots in warfare may actually be more ethical than not using robots. So, is it ethical to use robots to kill during a war?
by Rob Peeler Oct 18, 2016
As Election Day nears, voters are debating the qualities that make for an effective leader. One of these contested qualities is empathy: the ability to understand and resonate with the experiences of others. Does it matter if a President can relate to you and care about what you are going through?
In preparation for Fall Career Days at Penn State, we are publishing a five-part series retailed to the career-fair. In many cases, the résumé is your first point of contact with the employer. You know how important it is and you really want to stand out from the competition. Is it ethical to embellish or exaggerate a bit on your résumé?
by Rob Peeler Jan 26, 2017
Social media has become an integral part of many of our lives. We open Facebook and Instagram when we wake up in the morning, and we check them one last time before we go to sleep. These services are important to us, because they connect us with others. But what happens when parents post photos of their children? Does it violate their privacy?
by Rob Peeler Feb 24, 2016
Caucus season is here. In picking the next POTUS, how do we choose well? Common criteria include candidates’ takes on specific issues, their ability to serve as commander in chief, and how we imagine they would navigate delicate international imbroglios. But what about ethical leadership? This week's column discusses what Plato and the power of invisibility can teach us about the role of ethical leadership in contemporary democracy.
by Rob Peeler Feb 18, 2016
Spring is around the corner, and that means all kinds of worthwhile charity 5K races. Many of these races have a reasonably priced entrance fee, but they also encourage runners to raise money for the charity. What if you create a crowd-funding campaign to raise money for that charity and want to pay for the entrance fee from the money that was raised? Is that ethical? Today's column looks at this dilemma and offers some advice.
Question: I pushed myself to apply to top companies for my summer internship. I was so excited to get an offer from Company A that I accepted the internship immediately fearing I might not get another offer. However, I just received an internship offer from Company B, which is my top choice. I would much rather work at Company B, but I’m concerned reneging on the original accepted offer from Company A could hurt future opportunities. Can I change my mind? I have not started working at Company A yet.
In preparation for Fall Career Days at Penn State, we are publishing a five-part series retailed to the career-fair. Interviews can be stressful, especially for the first time. Many people feel that if they know the questions ahead of time, they’ll do a better job as they will be prepared. But is that really true? And, is knowing the questions ahead of time ethical or is it considered cheating?
by Rob Peeler Nov 03, 2016
Interviewing can be stressful and a common way to help become better at interviewing is practice. But what happens when someone uses actual interviews with companies they have no interest in to just practice? Is it ethical to take away these interview slots to just practice or are there better ways to handle this situation?
by khepler May 01, 2015
For Zachary Brubaker, taking a stand means uniting the blind and sighted to promote respect and equality for workers with disabilities. For Maggie Cardin, taking a stand means working to educate emerging teachers to recognize and prevent depression and suicide in students. Two Penn State students received the 2014 Stand Up Award for showing courage and fortitude and demonstrating ethical leadership through personal example. The Stand Up Awards are sponsored by the Rock Ethics Institute in the College of the Liberal Arts at Penn State
The 2016 Stand Up honorees, Jaden Rankin-Wahlers, Alanna Kaiser and Nathan Larkin, spoke at ‘The Village at Penn State: State College Retirement Communities’ on Friday, October 21, 2016. The students presented on the topics of which they were honored last spring.
by SKeira Apr 15, 2015