Bringing Ethics into Focus

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."

The theme of this year’s Presidential Colloquium, Bringing Ethics Into Focus, was chosen with an eye to making the colloquium a key element in the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Rutland Institute for Ethics as well as revealing the depth and breadth of our commitment to ethics and integrity at Clemson University. The events of the colloquium should help bring ethics into focus on campus, in the disciplines of the five colleges and the graduate school, our research activities, athletics, and student life, as well as off campus in the communities Clemson University serves, such as business, the professions, government, and K-12 education.


Tuesday
March 27, 2012
6:30PM

Lee Hall
Auditorium


John Martin Fischer, Ph.D.
Professor of Philosophy
University of California Riverside

Howard Harris

John Martin Fischer
“A Defense of Immortality"

Since the inception of philosophy, philosophers have been interested in questions about death and immortality.  Dr. Fischer will begin by distinguishing various notions of immortality.  He’ll then present three challenges to the idea that any kind of immortality could be appealing to us.  (These challenges come in part from a classic article by Bernard Williams.) He’ll sketch various ways of responding to the challenges, and end by defending the contention that certain kinds of immortality could indeed be appealing to human beings. Clemson’s own “immortality curmudgeon” Dr. Todd May will be providing commentary on Dr. Fischer’s talk, and a Q&A will follow.

Professor Fischer's main research interests lie in free will, moral responsibility, and both metaphysical and ethical issues pertaining to life and death. He is the author of The Metaphysics of Free Will: An Essay on Control; with Mark Ravizza, Responsibility and Control: A Theory of Moral Responsibility; and My Way: Essays on Moral Responsibility. His recent work includes a contribution to Four Views on Free Will (in Blackwell’s Great Debates in Philosophy series) and his latest collection of essays (Our Stories: Essays on Life, Death, and Free Will) is now out with Oxford University Press. His undergraduate teaching includes an introductory ethics course, philosophy of law, theories of distributive justice, and philosophy of religion. He has also taught various courses on death and the meaning of life. His graduate teaching has primarily focussed on free will, moral responsibility, and the metaphysics of death (and the meaning of life).

 



Sponsored By:
The Rutland Institute for Ethics
Department of Philosophy & Religion




Wednesday
March 14, 2012
7:00 PM

Strom Thurmond Institute


Curt Meine
Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time

Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time

Green Fire

Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time is a production of the Aldo Leopold Foundation, the US Forest Service, and the Center for Humans and Nature. The film shares highlights from Leopold’s life and extraordinary career, explaining how he shaped conservation in the twentieth century and still inspires people today. Although probably best known as the author of the conservation classic A Sand County Almanac, Leopold is also renowned for his work as an educator, philosopher, forester, ecologist, and wilderness advocate.

The film is being shown in community screening venues like this one throughout 2011. It will then be released on public television in early 2012.

“Aldo Leopold’s legacy lives on today in the work of people and organizations across the nation and around the world,” said Aldo Leopold Foundation Executive Director Buddy Huffaker. “What is exciting about Green Fire is that it is more than just a documentary about Aldo Leopold; it also explores the influence his ideas have had in shaping the conservation movement as we know it today by highlighting some really inspiring people and organizations doing great work to connect people and the natural world in ways that even Leopold might not have imagined.”

Green Fire illustrates Leopold’s continuing influence by exploring current projects that connect people and land at the local level. Viewers will meet urban children in Chicago learning about local foods and ecological restoration. They’ll learn about ranchers in Arizona and New Mexico who maintain healthy landscapes by working on their own properties and with their neighbors, in cooperative community conservation efforts. They’ll meet wildlife biologists who are bringing back threatened and endangered species, from cranes to Mexican wolves, to the landscapes where they once thrived. The Green Fire film portrays how Leopold’s vision of a community that cares about both people and land—his call for a land ethic—ties all of these modern conservation stories together and offers inspiration and insight for the future.

“The making of Green Fire has been a process of discovery,” says Curt Meine, the film’s on-screen guide. Meine’s doctoral dissertation was a biography of Aldo Leopold, published as Aldo Leopold:  His Life and Work (University of Wisconsin Press, 1988). To give the film its modern perspective of Leopold’s influence in the conservation movement today, Meine was charged with conducting hundreds of interviews with people practicing conservation all over the country. “Meeting all those people has really yielded new connections between Leopold and nearly every facet of the environmental movement, including ocean conservation, urban gardening, and climate change—issues that Leopold never directly considered in his lifetime but has nonetheless affected as his ideas are carried on by others,” said Meine.

“The making of Green Fire has been a process of discovery,” says Curt Meine, the film’s on-screen guide and Director of Conservation Biology and History at the Center for Humans and Nature. Meine’s doctoral dissertation was a biography of Aldo Leopold, published as Aldo Leopold: His Life and Work (University of Wisconsin Press, 1988). To give the film its modern perspective of Leopold’s influence in the conservation movement today, Meine was charged with conducting hundreds of interviews with people practicing conservation all over the country. “Meeting all those people has really yielded new connections between Leopold and nearly every facet of the environmental movement, including ocean conservation, urban gardening, and climate change—issues that Leopold never directly considered in his lifetime but has nonetheless affected as his ideas are carried on by others,” said Meine.

The Aldo Leopold Foundation is distributing the film to community screeners, and is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization based in Baraboo, Wisconsin. The foundation’s mission is to inspire an ethical relationship between people and land through the legacy of Aldo Leopold. Leopold regarded a land ethic as a product of social evolution. “Nothing so important as an ethic is ever ‘written,’” he explained.  “It evolves ‘in the minds of a thinking community.’”  Learn more about the Aldo Leopold Foundation and the Green Fire movie at www.aldoleopold.org.



Sponsored By:
The Rutland Institute for Ethics
Science and Technology in Society
School of Agriculture, Forestry and Environmental Science



Thursday
February 23, 2012
6:00PM

Lee Hall
Auditorium


Gretchen A. Winter, J.D.
Executive Director, Center for Professional Responsibility in Business and Society
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Gretchen Winter

Gretchen A. Winter
Professional Responsibility: A Focus for Individual Hearts and Minds

Society depends on business professionals to exercise sound judgment and to perform with a high degree of competence. Individual and organizational reputations turn on the daily decisions that are made, and aspiring professionals must be aware of the expectation that they will serve the public interest in the context of an ever-changing business environment. The complex and multi-dimensional attributes necessary to repeat professionally responsible behaviors in a variety of circumstances must be taught and nurtured in order to be attained.

Business education plays a crucial role in accomplishing these objectives, and business educators have a responsibility to build professional responsibility concepts and skills into the undergraduate and graduate curricula. Students have a responsibility to absorb the ideas, practice the skills, and advance the vision. AS students near graduation, interviewees and interviewers must talk honestly together in order to find values matches, and then hiring organizations must live up to their stated values every day. Alumni and corporate partners must model professional responsibility at work and on campus. At its core, though, developing and exercising a professional responsibility muscle is an individual commitment, and winning individual hearts and minds is the focus of the educational enterprise.

Gretchen A. Winter, Executive Director of the Center for Professional Responsibility in Business and Society in the College of Business at the University of Illinois, will talk about the approach they have taken to building professional responsibility competence.



Sponsored By:
The Rutland Institute for Ethics


Thursday
March 8, 2012
6:30PM

Lee Hall
Auditorium


Howard Harris, Ph.D.
Assoc. Head of School: Research and Convenor of the Group for research in Integrity and Governance in the School of Management
University of South Australia

Howard Harris

Howard Harris
Sustainability is a work of Justice: Can we afford to leave the future to others?

Are the demands of activists more than we can afford? Is it our duty to give up some of our (unprecedented) wealth? Is it an (inter)national matter, or is it about our own behavior? Should we be seeking greater virtue?

Howard Harris is Associate Head of School: Research and Convenor of the Group for research in Integrity and Governance in the School of Management at the University of South Australia in Adelaide. He is a former President of the Australian Association for Professional and Applied Ethics and has published in major business ethics journals in the fields of virtue and the teaching of ethics. He teaches a large first-year course, Business and Society, and for many years led a final year course, International Management Ethics and Values, which is taught in Adelaide, Singapore, Hong Kong and online.

Harris obtained his Ph.D. in Adelaide with a thesis ,“An account of courage in management decision making.” Soon after joining the university he led Australia’s involvement in a multi-national project to develop management structures for middle-sized businesses and has an ongoing interest in the relevance of theory in contemporary management, particularly in the importance of traditional virtues such as courage, wisdom, justice and moderation.

Harris’s first degree is in chemical engineering and he initially worked as a production supervisor in the sugar industry in the Pacific island nation of Fiji. Returning after 10 years to Australia he held managerial positions with a large Australian multi-national, initially in human resources, then as manager of the headquarters of a multi-state production unit, and as corporate planning manager before becoming marketing and corporate affairs manager for the company’s oil and gas subsidiary. This was followed by 10 years as a partner in a consultancy, Strategies for Growth & Change.

 



Sponsored By:
The Rutland Institute for Ethics

 

Tuesday
November 1, 2011
7:00PM

Lee Hall
Auditorium


Daniel R. Vasgird, Ph.D., CIP
Director, Office of Research Integrity and Compliance
West Virginia University



Daniel R. Vasgird
Science and the Global Public: The Importance of Integrity to the Social Contract

Integrity and responsibility are words with profound implications, especially for those who participate in the global community of science. They cut across time and culture, and yet their fruition in the guise of an ethical lifestyle depends on one’s ability to conceive an ideal, aspire to it, and abide by its dictates to the best of one’s ability. In turn, the truly ethical society depends on its ability to crystallize that conception of the ideal in the hearts and minds of its practitioners. As Richard Livingstone once said, “One is apt to think of moral failure as due to weakness of character; more often it is due to an inadequate ideal.” It is the role of societies (with science being one) that wish to flourish to provide the means for their constituents to truly internalize their highest and most worthy ideals.

Science generally flourishes when the public, with whom it has a social contract, supports it. The public has a hope for future knowledge and security and generally depends on science and research, its more methodological arm, to provide the ways and means to that goal. Every effort must be made to bolster the invaluable commodities of respect and trust. Realizing that we live in a more demanding and competitive era, the nurturing of research integrity for research institutions has become a forthright rather than presumed endeavor. This presentation will review the evolution of thought, interest and techniques related to the responsible conduct of research over the last half century.

Daniel Vasgird received his BA and MA degrees from the University of California and completed his PhD in social psychology at Syracuse University. He later returned to do an NIMH post-doctoral research fellowship at Berkeley and afterward worked overseas as a human services educator and consultant for the federal government. Dr. Vasgird is currently Director of the Office of Research Integrity and Compliance (ORIC) for West Virginia University (WVU) and an Associate Professor in the WVU Department of Community Medicine. The mission of WVU’s ORIC is to foster a culture of integrity within the University directed at ensuring that participants in the WVU research enterprise internalize and pursue the goal of self-directed responsible conduct of research (RCR).

Dr. Vasgird has operational responsibility for all research integrity and compliance elements within the University. A primary focus of ORIC is to offer central advisory and educational RCR support to aid each department and school within the University in developing highly visible and effective research integrity awareness and commitment. Dr. Vasgird conceived and developed a widely-used 6 segment web-based RCR training program for the federal Office of Research Integrity and Columbia University. In addition, he was a Lecturer at Columbia University’s School of Public Health and an Associate Professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences Center. He is the chair of the International Society of Research Administrators’ (SRA) RCR Special Interest Group, participates in a number of NIH peer review panels dealing with research ethics issues, and is a member of the CITI Development Group and also its Executive Advisory Committee focusing on RCR issues. Formerly he directed the Office for Responsible Conduct of Research (ORCR) for Columbia University and the Office of Research Conduct for the City University of New York.

He has written and presented extensively in the areas of research ethics and human research protection. For over a decade, Dr. Vasgird was the IRB Chair and Health Research Training Program Director for the New York City Department of Health where he was also responsible for distance learning development among other education and training duties.

Sponsored By:
The Rutland Institute for Ethics

The Office of Research Compliance


Monday
October 24, 2011
6:00PM

111
Lee Hall

Hyla Willis
Artist / Co-Founding Member
SubRosa, cyberfeminist art collective



Hyla Willis
"Hyla Willis - SubRosa, Cyberfeminist Art Collective"

The cyberfeminist art collective subRosa, has been producing site-u-ational multimedia performances and installations since 1998. With a socially engaged art practice, subRosa creates platforms for public discussion about how women participate in the globalized biotech industry. Biological materials and labor have tremendous value because they can be used to produce and reproduce whole organisms and tissues. This bio-value and its distribution points can be privatized and there is a growing gulf between who is providing the raw materials and who is receiving the benefits of emerging therapies, including assisted reproductive technologies. This lecture will illustrate subRosa's performances and art installations, and situate some of our concerns within a history of Eugenics.

Hyla Willis is an artist and designer working across a wide range of media. She is a co-founding member of subRosa, a mutable (cyber)feminist art collective who explore and critique the intersections of information and bio-technologies on women’s bodies, lives and work. Since 1998, subRosa has created open-ended
environments where participants engage with objects, texts and digital technologies. With subRosa, Willis has performed, exhibited, and lectured in the USA, Spain, Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, Croatia, Macedonia, Mexico, Canada, Slovenia, and Singapore, and has received many commissions for this work, two Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowships in New Genres, a Creative Capital grant in Emerging Fields, and is a former fellow of the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon. She is Associate Professor of Media Arts at Robert Morris University. Born in Yuba City, California.

http://cyberfeminism.net

Sponsored By:
The Rutland Institute for Ethics

The Center for Visual Arts
Department of Art
Women's Studies


Wednesday
October 5, 2011
6:00PM

Lee Hall
Auditorium


Gregory Jaffe, J.D.
Director, Project on Biotechnology
Center for Science in the Public Interest; Washington, DC



Gregory Jaffe
"Genetically Engineered Foods: The Raw Truth"

Are genetically engineered foods as risky as some people claim? Others state that engineered crops and animals will solve the world’s agricultural constraints and eliminate food insecurity? Greg Jaffe will cut through the heated rhetoric and discourse and provide the naked truth about these new agricultural products, their impact on our food, and some of the ethical issues they raise. He will summarize the benefits and risks of engineered crops during their first decade and give his insights into the challenges and issues that face this technology in the coming years. He will discuss the transparency and integrity of the US regulatory system and identify solutions that might increase consumer confidence in those foods. Finally, he will provide an international perspective of how this technology is spreading around the world.

Gregory Jaffe is the Director of the Project on Biotechnology for the Center for Science in the Public Interest (“CSPI”), a non-profit consumer organization located in the United States. Mr. Jaffe came to CSPI after a long and distinguished career in government service as a Trial Attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Environmental and Natural Resources Division and as Senior Counsel with the U.S. EPA, Air Enforcement Division. He is a recognized international expert on agricultural biotechnology and biosafety and has published numerous articles and reports on those topics.

He has worked on biosafety regulatory issues in the United States and throughout the world, including the African countries of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Mali, Ghana, Malawi, South Africa, Burkina Faso, and Nigeria. He was a member of the Secretary of Agriculture’s Advisory Committee on Agricultural Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture from 2003-2008 and was recently reappointed for a new term starting in 2011. He was also a member of FDA’s Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee from 2004-2008. Gregory Jaffe earned his BA with High Honors from Wesleyan University in Biology and Government and then received a law degree from Harvard Law School.

Sponsored By:
The Rutland Institute for Ethics

School of Agricultural, Forest, and Environmental Sciences
College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences


Thursday
September 29, 2011
6:00PM

McKissic
Theater


Jeff McMahan
Professor of Philosophy
Rutgers University



Jeff McMahan
"What Rights May Be Defended By Means of War?"

Wrongful aggressors often claim to love peace, and there is a sense in which that is true, for they would prefer to get what they want without having to fight a war. Many of the aims that motivate unjust wars could be achieved without violence: for example, control of another state’s natural resources, such as oil, limited political control over the other state, the annexation of a bit of its territory, and so on. In such cases, war and killing become necessary for aggressors only if they meet with military resistance. Most people believe that in domestic society it is not permissible to kill a thief merely to defend one’s property. So how can it be permissible to kill a large number of soldiers just to defend collective property such as territory and resources – particularly when most of those soldiers act under duress imposed by those they regard as legitimate authorities? I will consider whether defensive war can be morally justified in such cases of lesser aggression.

Jeff McMahan took his first degree at the University of Oxford and his PhD at the University of Cambridge, and is currently professor of philosophy at Rutgers University. He has written extensively on normative and applied ethics. His publications include The Morality of Nationalism (co-edited with Robert McKim; Oxford, 1997), The Ethics of Killing: Problems at the Margins of Life (Oxford, 2002) and Killing in War (Oxford, 2009), which deals with Just War theory and argues against the deeply held beliefs within the theory.

Sponsored By:
The Rutland Institute for Ethics

Philosophy and Religion Department