The Rock Ethics Institute



Upcoming Ethics Education Events
by admin Aug 24, 2015

Job Talk - Migration, Social Movements, and the Right to Place

When: Jan 20, 2017 at 3:30 PM
Where: 401 Steidle Building, University Park, PA 16802

Most of the debate about justice in immigration focuses on the dual challenge of mobility and membership, and most contributors to this debate favor more-open borders on either ideal-theoretic grounds such as free movement, or non-ideal theory grounds such as rectificatory justice. The current paper, however, argues that our position on justice in migration should foreground the voices of social movements of dispossessed, landless, and migrant persons. These movements do not tend to prioritize open borders. Instead, they prioritize what can best be characterized as a “right to place.” Building upon the discourses of these social movements, the paper develops the idea of a right to place and argues that theories of justice in migration should prioritize that over any particular border regime. The paper then argues for a ‘movement-led’ methodology, defending this method as against both ideal and non-ideal theory. Job Talk - Migration, Social Movements, and the Right to Place - Read More…

Job Talk - Just Borders: Place-Specific Duties and the Rights of Immigrants

When: Jan 27, 2017 at 3:30 PM
Where: 401 Steidle Building, University Park, PA 16802

Does physical presence in a territory confer social and political rights on all those present? Recently, many scholars have argued that legal citizenship cannot be the sole source of rights, and hence they have advocated for place-specific rights for immigrants. These scholars often stress immigrants’ ties to a political community. But, if ties to the political community are the main criterion for rights, then it seems that place and territory do no real work in the argument. In this presentation, I propose that we take place seriously, rather than just treating it as a dummy concept that has membership do the real argumentative work. The talk shows that there are place-specific duties, a special type of duty indexed to place. These duties comprise a level of morality that layfolk intuitively recognize, but theorists routinely overlook. The talk then shows that these place-specific duties cannot be properly fulfilled by citizens unless they grant non-citizens who are present in the locality rights to stay, and also grant them rights to participate in the jurisdiction’s political organization. The talk will conclude by discussing how the thesis of place-specific duties has important implications for theories of immigrants’ rights, normative theories of resource management and environmental stewardship, and theories of territorial jurisdiction and of the justification of the modern state’s territorial boundaries. Job Talk - Just Borders: Place-Specific Duties and the Rights of Immigrants - Read More…

Job Talk - The Injustice of the “Migrant Journey” to the United States

When: Jan 30, 2017 at 4:00 PM
Where: 402 Steidle Building, University Park, PA 16802

Political philosophers have rather recently begun assessing immigration as a philosophical problem. While most of this philosophical attention has occurred in the context of the “open borders debate” about justice in immigrant admissions, a few philosophers have provided important normative analyses of particular injustices that undocumented/unauthorized migrants endure while living and working in their “new society”. In this paper I aim to take these recent philosophical explorations a step further by focusing on the difficult experiences that many people have while en route to the country to which they intend to migrate without legal authorization. More specifically, I shall argue that the perilous journey undertaken by many Mexicans, Central Americans, and other Latin Americans wishing to enter the United States without legal authorization (to which I shall refer as “the migrant journey”) plays a key role in what I call “illegal identity formation” within the United States. Because of this, and relatedly, I argue that the migrant journey also perpetuates certain aspects of anti-Latina/o and anti-Native American racisms within U.S. borders. Approaching this issue via a relational egalitarian perspective, I ultimately argue that the United States is required, as a matter of immigration justice, to render the journey to the U.S. of “unauthorized” Latin American migrants less perilous, violent and inhumane. I also argue that other “migrant journeys” across the globe may present similar injustices, and I call for more philosophical/normative attention to human movement itself in the migration process. Job Talk - The Injustice of the “Migrant Journey” to the United States - Read More…

Brown Bag Series: The Ethics of Yoga: - Walt Whitman’s Spiritual Democracy

When: Feb 02, 2017 at 12:00 PM
Where: 133 Sparks Building, University Park, PA 16802

The yoga world has been rocked by a number of scandals in recent years. It seems that many teachers of yoga have not heeded the basic ethical guidelines found in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, especially the imperative to practice ahimsa, non-harming of others. One might be excused in wondering if yoga has any ethics at all. I believe that yoga can represent an important contribution to contemporary conversations about ethics. Brown Bag Series: The Ethics of Yoga: - Walt Whitman’s Spiritual Democracy - Read More…

Brown Bag Series - Beyond White Privilege: Geographies of White Supremacy and Settler Colonialism

When: Feb 16, 2017 at 12:00 PM
Where: 133 Sparks Building, University Park, PA 16802

Making Good: Can We Realize Our Moral Aspirations?

When: Feb 23, 2017 at 3:30 PM
Where: Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, University Park, PA 16802

Is moral improvement possible? If so, how? Recently, philosophers have suggested that virtue is a skill that can be acquired much as skills in other areas, like chess and music, are acquired. Philosophical proponents of this “skill analogy,” unfortunately, have paid limited attention to the science of human performance, science which may illuminate pathways and impediments to moral development. Here, I canvass some of the science, and assess some prospects for moral improvement. Making Good: Can We Realize Our Moral Aspirations? - Read More…

Colloquium: Morality in Language

When: Feb 24, 2017 at 1:00 PM
Where: 127 Moore Building, University Park, PA 16802

When things go wrong, people ask, “Who made it happen?” “Who was responsible?” and often, “Who will pay?” That is, moral judgment engages causal cognition. How much of this process is influenced by higher-level factors such as people’s moral values and political ideology, and how much is influenced by stimulus-bound factors, such as the language used to describe the event? This talk will cover research combining individual differences measures with vignette-based and psycholinguistics tasks. Collectively, the research demonstrates: (1) moral values aimed at protecting group cohesiveness predict a shift in attributions of blame to victims; (2) altering the focus of language can reduce victim blame; and (3) values and ideology influence extraction of causal relationships from the most basic event descriptions. That participants’ behavior across these tasks systematically maps onto beliefs about the nature of right and wrong indicates that studying language can bring precision to our understanding of the unruly domain of morality, and also that our understanding of language is incomplete without consideration of moral psychology. Colloquium: Morality in Language - Read More…

Sport Ethics Conference

When: from Apr 06, 2017 10:00 AM to Apr 07, 2017 5:00 PM
Where: HHD Building, University Park, PA 16802

Join us at the Sport Ethics Conference to engage in a discussion on the integration of ethics into sports organizations and practices. Penn State sport practitioners and administrators will raise issues and ethical concerns that they face in their day-to-day engagement in sport. To help navigate the issues and concerns in a more ethically sound manner, world leading sport ethicist will provide a critical analysis of them. The following are some of the topics that will be explored: athletes’ role modeling, the pedagogical potential of sport participation, the environmental impact of sport events organization, and the commercialization of sport. Sport Ethics Conference - Read More…

The Richard B. Lippin Lecture Series: A lecture with Dr. Carolyn Hildebrandt, Professor, Department of Psychology at the University of Northern Iowa

When: Apr 20, 2017 at 3:00 PM
Where: 111 Pasquerilla Spiritual Center, University Park, PA 16802