Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Seminar: Ethics and professional practice in a world of fluid values

Ethics and professional practice in a world of fluid values
Speaker: Professor John Buckeridge (RMIT, Melbourne)
Date: Tuesday, 7 August, 2007
Time: 10.00-11.00 am (followed by in interactive discussion session 11.00-12.00 pm)
Location: Griffith Duncan Theatre, University of Newcastle

ABSTRACT: This seminar will use case studies in engineering and science wherein varying values have led to conflict. In these situations, both sides perceive that they hold the “high moral ground’. The presentation will explore how these issues may be resolved, using three key moral constructs: virtue ethics, utilitarianism and deontology. Participants will consider whether there is more than one ethical way in which a moral conundrum can be resolved. They will be challenged to make difficult decisions, and to defend their conclusions.

THE PRESENTER: John St James Stewart BUCKERIDGE, PhD, FAustIMM, CP(Env), FIEAust, FGS (Lond.) is Professor of Natural Resources Engineering and Head of the School of Civil, Environmental & Chemical Engineering at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. John is President of the International Union of Biological Sciences, (and chairs the IUBS Bioethics Committee), he is also President of the International Society of Zoological Sciences, a member of the Victoria Biotechnology Ethics Advisory Committee, a Councillor of the Royal Society of Victoria and has acted as consultant on environmental ethics to UNESCO’s COMEST (World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology). In 2004 he was appointed honorarprofessor at Wismar University, Germany, in recognition of his work in engineering ethics.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Wendell Holmes on Philosophers

'Any two philosophers can tell each other all they know in two hours.' - Oliver Wendell Holmes.

[Apologies for not providing a more precise citation at present.]

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Should the French Be More American?

From the New York Times:

PARIS, July 21 — France is the country that produced the Enlightenment, Descartes’s one-liner, “I think, therefore I am,” and the solemn pontifications of Jean-Paul Sartre and other celebrity philosophers.

But in the government of President Nicolas Sarkozy, thinking has lost its cachet.

In proposing a tax-cut law last week, Finance Minister Christine Lagarde bluntly advised the French people to abandon their “old national habit.”

“France is a country that thinks,” she told the National Assembly. “There is hardly an ideology that we haven’t turned into a theory. We have in our libraries enough to talk about for centuries to come. This is why I would like to tell you: Enough thinking, already. Roll up your sleeves.”

Citing Alexis de Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America,” she said the French should work harder, earn more and be rewarded with lower taxes if they get rich.

Full Article

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Philosopher's Carnival, No. Fifty

The 50th Philosopher’s Carnival is presently being hosted at Philosophy Sucks! Yes, the Philosopher’s Carnival has been cobbled together fifty times …

Mr Brown, generous host, chose the theme ‘Mind, Meaning and Morals’ and it is into those three groupings that you will find the various submissions.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Chalmers on Moral Truths

David Chalmers has a couple of interesting powerpoint slide shows posted in his Conference wrap-up .

Any budding (or full-blown) ethicists would find "Moral Relativism and Conceptual Analysis" interesting. I can also highly recommend "From the Aufbau to the Canberra Plan" after seeing it presented at AAP 2007.

Questions on Inequality

What is inequality and what are its origins? Is some form of inequality necessary for societies to function?

[A variation of these questions were once asked, leading to Rousseau’s Discourse on Inequality. I have been thinking about them recently and thought I might raise them in the broader forum.]

Crennan on Scepticism and Judicial Method

Late last month, Justice Susan Crennan of the High Court of Australia, gave this speech on scepticism and the judicial method. It contains an interesting (if possibly light-weight) discussion of the problem confronting theories of judicial method, in particular as they rely on the existence of objective truth, by the work of Foucault.

Rorty on Democracy and Philosophy

Since his death Rorty has become something of a regular here about. Here is one of his last works, discussing the premises of his philosophy.

Soroush on Reason

An article by Iranian philosopher Abdolkarim Soroush on the conflict between reason and religion, via eurozine.