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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.

Ask an Ethicist: Can Plato help us pick the next president?

by Rob Peeler Feb 24, 2016
Image: Joel Priddy 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.

Leonhard Center, Rock Ethics Institute Lauded For Efforts In Ethics Education

by Rob Peeler Feb 19, 2016
The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) announced today (Feb. 18) that its Center for Engineering Ethics and Society has selected the pioneering efforts to create a community of ethics educators in Penn State’s College of Engineering as an Exemplar in Engineering Ethics Education.

Ask an Ethicist: Can money raised for a charity 5K be used to pay entry fees?

by Rob Peeler Feb 18, 2016
Francisco Javier Lopez Headshot 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.

Ask an Ethicist: Can I turn down a work assignment that goes against my morals?

by Rob Peeler Sep 13, 2016
irector of the Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication and an associate professor of advertising and public relations My boss asked me to create a marketing campaign for a new client, but the client’s environmental record is poor. Sustainability and protecting the environment is something that I am extremely passionate about. I’m worried that saying “no” to the assignment will upset my boss. Should I go against my morals and complete the assignment since it’s my job or should I stick with my instincts and say no?

Ask an Ethicist: Can I turn down an accepted internship offer for a better one?

by Rob Peeler Sep 13, 2016
Katie Wysocki Headeshot 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.

Ask an Ethicist: Should I lower the volume of my music if a neighbor asks?

by Rob Peeler Feb 18, 2016
Don Thompson "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.

Nominees sought for the Rock Ethics Institute’s 2016 Stand Up awards

by Rob Peeler Nov 09, 2015
2015 Stand Up Graphic 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.

Ask an Ethicist: What is ‘ethics education’?

by Rob Peeler Feb 18, 2016
Michael guest lecturer in Sweden ‘Ethics education’ is a broad term for learning experiences intended to help students develop ethically, whether in terms of increased ethical awareness and understanding or greater motivation to act ethically in the world. There are many forms of ethics education used in K-12 classrooms, experiential learning settings and in higher education. Though not exhaustive, some prominent ethics education categories include character education, with a focus on learning experiences for the acquisition of central virtues and ethical character traits, and service-learning programs that attempt to build ethical awareness, motivation and related skill sets through experiential learning and service within one’s community. (For more information, see The Handbook of Moral and Character Education.)

When “It Can’t Happen Here” Does and Will Happen Again

by Rob Peeler Apr 04, 2016
Title screen shot from Penn State-produced school shooting documentary It Can Happen Here (dir. Lynne Squilla, University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Applied Research Lab, Institute for Non-Lethal Defense Technologies, 2010) A common refrain after mass shootings is “we never thought it could happen here.” The idea is so common that Penn State’s Applied Research Lab produced a nationally circulating school security documentary entitled It Can Happen Here.[i] As a warning call, it signals to other communities that they are at risk and need to do whatever they can to prepare for violence. Implicit in this warning call is the hope that if more communities take the threat more seriously, then perhaps targeted violence will disappear. What would it take to guarantee security?

PTSD, Gender, and Violent Spouses: How (Not) Expressing Emotions Matters

by Rob Peeler Feb 15, 2017 of Massachusetts Amherst Have you ever tried to have a conversation with a rock? Probably not, but imagine talking to a person (ideally, a romantic partner) that has the emotional responsiveness of, say, a rock. That is to say with zero indication of emotion. Zip. Nada. Zilch. None. Put simply, it is frustrating. Some would say infuriating. Others might comment that it makes their blood pressure skyrocket. Personally, I find it intriguing.