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Everyday Ethics

Everyday Ethics

Learn how ethics is part of our everyday lives by reading articles and stories that show ethical dilemmas are everywhere.

Two Penn State Researchers named Rock Ethics Institute Faculty Fellows

by Rob Peeler Apr 07, 2017
Gary Adler, Jeff Catchmark, Martin Pietrucha, Rose Jolly, Amit Sharma The faculty fellows, Gary John Adler, Jr. and Martin T. Pietrucha, will help integrate curricular and research projects to advance the Rock Ethics Institute’s goal of integrating ethics throughout the Penn State curriculum.

Gut check: Researchers develop measures to capture moral judgments and empathy

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by Rob Peeler Mar 30, 2017
Image 20170329 8587 1w2hgpf Asking people about morality and empathy may not yield sincere answers. Moral sentiments, can, indeed, be measured.

Ethical interrogations of short stories

by Rob Peeler Mar 27, 2017
This is a post from Rock Humanities Dissertation Fellow, María Izquierdo Miranda. Maria is a 5th year ABD student from Puerto Rico in the Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese at Penn State University. Her dissertation project, “Adaptable Debility: Becoming Human Under Biocapitalism,” addresses the performance of mental debility by middle class individuals of recent Anglo and Hispanic biocapitalist contexts.

Ask an Ethicist: Representing yourself honestly in an interview

by Rob Peeler Mar 13, 2017
Saleem Clarke headshot 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.

Does empathy have limits? Depends on whom you ask

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by Rob Peeler Mar 02, 2017
Image 20170301 5504 1l7vjh2 Is it possible to run out of empathy? That’s the question many are asking in the wake of the U.S. presidential election. Thousands have marched on streets and airports to encourage others to expand their empathy for women, minorities and refugees. Others have argued that liberals lack empathy for the plight of rural Americans. Against this backdrop, some scholars have recently come out against empathy, saying that it is overhyped, unimportant and, worse, dangerous. They make this recommendation because empathy appears to be limited and biased in ethically problematic ways. As psychologists who study empathy, we disagree. Based on advances in the science of empathy, we suggest that limits on empathy are more apparent than real. While empathy appears limited, these limits reflect our own goals, values and choices; they do not reflect limits to empathy itself.

Dealing with hate: Can America's truth and reconciliation commissions help?

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.

Ask an Ethicist: Is it ethical to use robots to kill in a war?

by Rob Peeler Feb 24, 2017
Alan R. Wagner 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?

Ask an Ethicist: Making amends for lying on a resume

by Rob Peeler Feb 09, 2017
Brenda Fabian headshot 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.

Ask an Ethicist: Does posting photos of my kids on social media violate their privacy?

by Rob Peeler Jan 26, 2017
Daniel Susser 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?