The Rock Ethics Institute

Home > Everyday Ethics

Everyday Ethics

Everyday Ethics

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

Ask an Ethicist: What can I do to address our changing planet in an ethical way?

by Rob Peeler May 06, 2016
Issues of flood, drought and a changing weather dynamic raise ethical and moral questions, including issues of justice and fairness between different populations, and between people and nature. To address such issues, constructive dialogue and community based discussions provide a way to find solutions and address the moral and ethical dilemmas raised.

Nine local residents cycling to DC; raising awareness about climate change

by Rob Peeler Apr 28, 2016
At 4 p.m., Rev. Dean Lindsey, pastor of State College Presbyterian Church, will bless the riders and their mission. Cricket Hunter, Director of Education and Outreach for PA Interfaith Power & Light, will also offer a few words. We expect the riders to head down Beaver to Garner Street and then down the Garner Street bike path. This year’s riders include members from four State College congregations, including Dr. Ed Prince, a State College physician who is the President of the Grace Lutheran Church Council. "I do not believe that a person must ride 200 miles to D.C. to be an advocate for the environment or to fight for climate change issues,“ Dr. Prince said, "but I do think this well organized bike ride gives us some credibility on Capitol Hill."

Does Understanding Involve Justifying? Identity, Ideology, and the Challenge of Self-Knowledge

by Rob Peeler Apr 27, 2016
Current discussions about the Middle-East crisis display a strong polarization between the expression of a reactionary sense of western identity and its progressive castigation. In particular, confronted with the growing threat of terror pursued in the name of Islam, especially by organizations such as ISIS and Boko Haram, some have been wondering, as they already did in the aftermath of 9/11, whether a version of Samuel Huntington’s famous prediction (published in 1993 in explicit contrast with Francis Fukuyama’s “end of history” thesis) has begun to come true, that is, whether we are currently witnessing the beginning of a clash between the Western and Islamic civilizations. Critics of this “apocalyptic” reading of the facts claim that this conviction is part and parcel of the strategy of ISIL militants, who want to provoke panic so as to increase diffidence against Muslims and engender a global conflict. In this connection, however, the same critics tend to minimize the Islamic nature of those terroristic associations’ aims and methods by insisting that no civilization that merits the name could ever produce or justify such atrocities.

Does Comprehension involve Moral Justification?

by Rob Peeler Apr 27, 2016
Current discussions about the Middle-East crisis display a strong polarization between the expression of a reactionary sense of western identity and its progressive castigation. In particular, confronted with the growing threat of terror pursued in the name of Islam, especially by organizations such as ISIS and Boko Haram, some have been wondering, as they already did in the aftermath of 9/11, whether a version of Samuel Huntington’s famous prediction has begun to come true, that is, whether we are currently witnessing the beginning of a clash between the Western and Islamic civilizations. Critics of this “apocalyptic” reading of the facts claim that this conviction is part and parcel of the strategy of ISIL militants, who want to provoke panic so as to increase diffidence against Muslims and engender a global conflict. In this connection, however, the same critics tend to minimize the Islamic nature of those terroristic associations’ aims and methods by insisting that no civilization that merits the name could ever produce or justify such atrocities.

Writing and Reading the Latin American Other

by Rob Peeler Apr 25, 2016
Fiction writers often find themselves pulled in opposite directions. On one hand, many of them want to portray reality as carefully as possible in order to expose injustice. On the other, they have to cater to what their readers expect that reality will look like – otherwise, their work will not sell. That tension has played out in a big way in recent novels about Latin America.

Ask an Ethicist: Why should the U.S. reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

by Rob Peeler Apr 22, 2016
Peter Buckland Photo 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?

Engels, McDonald named Sherwin Early Career Professors

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.

Michael Burroughs receives national recognition

by Rob Peeler Apr 21, 2016
Michael Burroughs in Sweden Dr. Michael D. Burroughs, Associate Director of the Rock Ethics Institute and Senior Lecturer of Philosophy at Penn State University, has been selected as an NEH Summer Scholar from a national applicant pool to attend the Moral Psychology and Education Summer Institute, supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Ask an Ethicist: Does climate change affect genders differently?

by Rob Peeler May 10, 2016
Photo used on profile page.Olsson, L., M. Opondo, P. Tschakert, A. Agrawal, S.H. Eriksen, S. Ma, L.N. Perch, and S.A. Zakieldeen, 2014: Livelihoods and poverty. In: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part A: Global and Sectoral Aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Field, C.B., V.R. Barros, D.J. Dokken, K.J. Mach, M.D. Mastrandrea, T.E. Bilir, M. Chatterjee, K.L. Ebi, Y.O. Estrada, R.C. Genova, B. Girma, E.S. Kissel, A.N. Levy, S. MacCracken, P.R. Mastrandrea, and L.L. White (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, pp. 793-832. Climate change is a global issue and affects all of us. You most likely have read about or discussed climate concerns, but an often overlooked topic is gender and climate change. In today’s Ask an Ethicist column, our ethicist brings to light this often overlooked topic and explains why gender should be part of the climate change conversation.

Undergraduates honored with Rock Ethics Institute 2016 Stand Up Award

by Rob Peeler Apr 20, 2016
Heidi Lynne Photography Alanna Kaiser, 2016 Stand Up Awardee in AfricaNathan Larkin, 2016 Stand Up HonoreeJaden Rankin-Wahlers Stand Up honoree 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.