Rutland Institute for Ethics

2013-2014 Presidential Colloquium

Vulnerability and Responsibility

The theme of this year’s Presidential Colloquium, “Vulnerability and Responsibility,” was chosen with an eye to alignment with the summer reading program for incoming freshmen. (This year incoming freshmen read The Iguana Tree, a novel written by Clemson alumna Michel Stone, which, she told the assembled freshman class, is about “hope and humanity.”) Colloquium events will explore the relationship between vulnerability, noting that we are all vulnerable in some measure, and responsibility, not in the sense that presupposes culpability, but in the sense of what one can be reasonably expected to do—what one's responsibilities are. The colloquium will also explore whether and to what extent the vulnerabilities of citizens entail societal responsibilities.

The aim of the Presidential Colloquium is to provide opportunities for Clemson University students and faculty, as well as members of the community to come together to explore important issues. The colloquium comprises various events spread over the academic year, e.g., speakers, theatrical performances, panel discussions, and films. In every case the event is linked to the colloquium theme, which is selected with an eye to its integration “across the curriculum.

April 14, 2014

Lee Hall 1-100

Professor Amelie Rorty

Visiting Professor; Department of Philosophy Tufts University

Amelie Rorty

"Facing Collaborative Ambivalence"

Born in Belgium, educated at the University of Chicago and Yale, Amelie Rorty's interests in philosophy range widely. Most of her work has been in the history of moral and civic psychology: she is particularly fascinated by what might be called the dark side of the philosophy of mind: akrasia, self-deception, ambivalence, allegedly irrational emotions like jealousy, envy and fearing death. When in doubt, she tends to turn to Aristotle, Spinoza and Hume for illumination. Because she believes philosophy is essentially a participant sport, she likes to teach small discussion/workshop seminars on the usual suspect topics and authors, also occasionally offering courses in how to look at paintings, and on philosophic themes in literature. From time to time, she despairs of philosophy and turns to other fields: she's working on a degree in anthropology, hoping to do a dissertation on people who live in two moral worlds, exiles, immigrants, refugees whose work requires them to absorb a new and distinctive set of "moral" values. For now, she is working on a book, "On the Other Hand: The Ethics of Ambivalence."

Amelie Rorty has written a vast number of books, some of which are listed here.

The Rutland Institute for Ethics
Department of Philosophy and Religion
College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities

March 10, 2014

118 Academic Success Center

Mr. Robert Hilary King

Robert King

"29 Years in Solitary"

Robert Hilary King, a member of the Black Panther Party, spent 29 years in solitary confinement in Angola Prison, Louisiana, for a crime that he did not commit. He will be coming to Clemson to speak about his experiences as a Black Panther, as well as the time he spent in solitary confinement — 24 hours a day in a 6x9, windowless room — and the work he is doing to free the remaining member of what has come to be known as the Angola 3, Albert Woodfox, from solitary confinement. His autobiography, From the Bottom of the Heap: The Autobiography of a Black Panther was released in the fall of 2008 by PM Press and will be available for purchase. The event is free and open to the public, and will take place on March 10th, at 7pm in the Academic Success Center on Clemson’s campus.

The Rutland Institute for Ethics
Department of Philosophy and Religion
Department of English
English Majors Organization

February 20, 2014

Self Auditorium
Strom Thurmond

Mr. Tom Keith

President, Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina Columbia, SC

Tom Keith

"Charity Matters: Does Your Contribution Make a Difference?"

In times of limited resources and unending need, making wise choices to give of one’s time and money takes on an ever increasing importance. Yet many decisions to give to organizations and causes are made without adequate reflection of the ultimate impact of the gift. Just as there is now a movement by foundations and other philanthropic organizations to demand of grantees that they show a “return on investment,” individual donors are also encouraged to be more diligent about how gifts of money and time translate to meaningful results. When money and volunteer time are given unwisely, the outcomes may be more than simply wasted resources; the outcomes may actually be harmful to the intended beneficiaries. Moreover, giving wisely means more than adequately investigating the intended charity recipients or effectiveness of programming. Giving wisely also means developing a personal philanthropic philosophy toward change. Are you more inclined toward giving for humanitarian causes (providing fish) or changing behavior (teaching people to fish) or perhaps social changes (creating more opportunities for fishing)? With a focus on South Carolina, this interactive colloquium is organized to provide you an opportunity to explore your own personal philosophy of giving and reflect on how to give more effectively in the future.

Tom Keith is the president of the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina, a position he has held since March 1996. The Sisters of Charity Foundation, a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System, has awarded more than $52 million through over 1,800 grants across South Carolina since its inception. Mr. Keith serves on Winthrop University Foundation and South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families Boards of Trustees. He has been an active member of the Southeastern Council of Foundations since 2002, including serving on the board from 2004 to 2010. He is a founding member and former chairman of the South Carolina Grantmakers Network, a group of 40 grantmaking foundations from across the state. Mr. Keith is an advocate for the poor and underserved and speaks to an array of foundations, community groups, colleges, nonprofits, and faith-based groups on a regular basis.

In 2007 Mr. Keith was appointed to serve on the South Carolina Access to Justice Commission by Supreme Court Chief Justice Jean Toal. He was inducted into Winthrop University College of Business Pinnacle Society in 2008 and earned the Clemson University Institute for Family and Neighborhood Life Leadership Award in 2009. In 2004 he received the Healthy Learners “In All Things Charity” Award. In march 2013 Mr. Keith received the Otis A. Corbitt Leadership Award for outstanding service in Human Services and Community Development. With over 35 years experience in nonprofit leadership in five states, Mr. Keith earned his BA in Communications from Marshall University and a MBA from Winthrop University.

Mr. Keith is a newly elected member of the Board of Directors for FADICA, a national organization made up of foundations interested in Catholic activities based in Washington, D.C.

Mark Small
Mark A. Small, J.D., Ph.D is Associate Director of the Institute on Family and Neighborhood Life, Director of Graduate Studies and Professor of psychology. He formerly held law and psychology faculty appointments at the University of South Carolina and Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and has served as a Fulbright Scholar (2004) and Fulbright Senior Specialist (2006) in the Czech Republic. Prof. Small has served as principal investigator on grant projects funded by agencies within the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and public foundations within South Carolina.

He was principal investigator for the South Carolina Rural Communities Compassion Project, a 10-year competitively-funded initiative by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and South Carolina Foundations to build the capacity of rural faith and community-based organizations to provide child and family services. As part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Child, Youth, and Family Services program, Prof. Small serves as one of 8 national consultants that provide technical assistance to community programs across the country. Also as part of the program, Prof. Small is principal investigator of the Clemson Sustainable Communities Project, a program designed to provide after-school services to vulnerable populations in Spartanburg County.

The Rutland Institute for Ethics
The Institute on Family and Neighborhood Life

February 6, 2014

Lee Hall Auditorium

Dr. John Protevi

Phyllis M Taylor Professor of French Studies; Professor of Philosophy Louisiana State University

John Protevi

"Darwin, Disasters, War and Prosociality"

The talk has four parts. 1) “Disaster politics": the difference between imagined individualist violence and the reality of cooperative or "prosocial" behavior. 2) The biology and evolution of prosocial behaviors and emotions. 3) The claim that prevalent pre-State war selects for in-group face-to-face altruism. 4) The question whether complex hierarchies use "horizontal" face-to-face in-group altruism to maintain cohesion.

John Protevi is Phyllis M Taylor Professor of French Studies and Professor of Philosophy at Louisiana State University. His most recent book is Life, War, Earth: Deleuze and the Sciences (Minnesota, 2013). He is also the editor of A Dictionary of Continental Philosophy (Yale, 2006). His research and teaching materials can be found at; he is also a blogger at New APPS:

The Rutland Institute for Ethics
Department of Philosophy and Religion

January 27, 2014

232 Hardin Hall

Dr. Stephen Nathanson

Professor of Philosophy Northeastern University

Stephen Nathanson

"Political Polarization and the Markets vs. Government Debate"

One of the most divisive issues in U. S. politics involves the role of government. In particular, there are strongly contrasting views about what functions should be carried out by government and what should be left to the workings of a “free market” economy. In this talk, I suggest that the markets vs. government debate is especially polarizing because it assumes that we must choose between two, extremely different systems, capitalism and socialism. If we had a richer set of economic/political concepts, it would be clear that there is a spectrum of many possible systems and that we do not face an either/or choice between capitalism and socialism. A better set of economic/political concepts would enable us to escape from old ruts and to find better ways to think about these issues.

Stephen Nathanson is Professor of Philosophy at Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts. He received his B. A. with Honors in Philosophy from Swarthmore College, and his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Johns Hopkins University. Professor Nathanson's most recent book is Terrorism and the Ethics of War (2010). In addition, he is the author of Patriotism, Morality and Peace (1993); Economic Justice (1998); An Eye for an Eye? The Immorality of Punishing by Death (2nd ed., 2001); Should We Consent to be Governed? (2nd ed., 2001), and numerous articles on issues in ethics and political philosophy.

The Rutland Institute for Ethics
The Lemon Lectures in Social, Legal and Political Thought
Department of Philosophy and Religion
College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities

September 5, 2013

Strom Thurmond Institute

Dr. Christopher Wellman

Professor of Philosophy Washington University, St. Louis

Christopher Wellman

"Procedural Rights"

Christopher Heath Wellman is Professor of Philosophy at Washington University in St. Louis. He works in ethics, specializing in political and legal philosophy. His most recent books are Liberal Rights and Responsibilities and (with Phillip Cole) Debating the Ethics of Immigration: Is There a Right to Exclude? He is currently completing a book on criminal law.

"...In this essay, I argue that, absent special circumstances, there are no moral, judicial procedural rights. I divide this essay into four main sections. First I argue that there is no general moral right against double jeopardy. Next I explain why punishing a criminal without first establishing her guilt via a fair trial does not necessarily violate her rights. In the third section I respond to a number of possible objections. And finally, I consider the implications of my arguments for the human right to due process..."

The Rutland Institute for Ethics
The Lemon Lectures in Social, Legal and Political Thought


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