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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.

On Confusing Two Roles of Science and Their Relation to Ethics.

by SKeira Apr 15, 2015
ClimateEthics seeks to work out the ethical implications of mainstream scientific views about climate change. As we have said many times-if we get the science and economics wrong we may get the ethics wrong.

Michele Tracy Berger's PSU Campus Visit

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).

Why Ethics Requires Acknowledging Links Between Tornadoes and Climate Change Despite Scientific Uncertainty.

by SKeira Apr 15, 2015
The outbreak of recent killer weather events including US tornadoes hitting Joplin, Missouri and Tuscaloosa, Alabama has everyone asking whether there is a link between tornadoes and human-induced climate change. In this writer's experience when US TV or radio weathermen are asked about the cause of recent strong tornadoes, they most always ignore climate change as a potential cause and point to a cyclical ocean circulation event known as La Ni�a as the cause of recent tornadoes if they comment on causation at all. Rarely is human-induced climate change mentioned as a cause or contributing factor in the recent outbreak of sever tornadoes although questions about causation are becoming more frequent on TV and newspapers in this writer's experience.

The US Academy of Sciences' Reports On Climate Change and The US Moral Climate Change Failure.

by SKeira Jul 21, 2015
Earlier this month, the United States Academy of Science issued its most recent report on the science of climate change that once again concluded that human-induced climate change was a very serious threat to humans and ecological systems around the world. This Report was entitled "America's Climate Choices 2011" (US Academy, 2011) Among other conclusions, this report found:

Race and Beauty

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.)

Free Markets, Externalities, and A Question of Integrity

by SKeira Jul 21, 2015
One of the defining premises of any "free market" is that parties participate in transactions voluntarily. Shoving, imposing, and force--not allowed. Indeed, voluntary participation is a vital part of the justification--and defense--of free markets. Why are free markets supposedly "free"? Because people participate in transactions freely, voluntarily, as free human beings. Why are free markets considered beneficial? Because the outcomes are often beneficial to the participants and, often, to a broader community.

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.

Janet Swim on Consumer Ethics

by SKeira Jul 22, 2015
In her talk at the recent Sustainability Ethics Conference at Penn State University Park, Janet Swim presented psychological research she conducted with Brittany Bloodhart on the attitudes of consumers regarding the impacts of consumption on human beings and the biosphere. They found that individuals tend to have greater ethical concern about their consumption after being exposed to films that detail the environmental impacts of consumption. For example, such increased concern might manifest itself upon seeing the adverse effects that the disposal of consumer products can have on human communities in other countries.

Questioning the Myth of Alzheimer's

by SKeira Jul 22, 2015
I have spent my life within the scientific, political, economic, and social institutions of the AD field-universities, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies-studying and treating human aging and disease. Now I am ready to challenge the power that the mainstream "Alzheimer's disease" myth has over us, helping people see what I have seen and to think critically about the evolution in thought that has occurred over the past several decades, which has shaped the way we see our aging bodies and minds and the way we act towards them. I want to spread a story of brain aging that can be a starting point for helping us better cope with and prepare for the travails of cognitive decline.