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By In Applied Ethics, Call For Papers, News and Events Comments Off on CFA: Topics in Global Justice: Agency, Power and Policy

CFA: Topics in Global Justice: Agency, Power and Policy

The second annual conference of the Centre for the Study of Global Ethics in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Birmingham welcomes submissions on any topic related to global ethics, but will prioritize work focusing on the 2016 theme of agency, power, and policy. The conference itself will be on 26.-27. 5. 2016, and the deadline for abstracts 1 November, 2015. Full details below.

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By In Applied Ethics, Call For Papers, News and Events Comments Off on Call for Applications: Junior Faculty Manuscript Workshop

Call for Applications: Junior Faculty Manuscript Workshop

The Georgetown Institute for the Study of Markets and Ethics (GISME), located in Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, invites applications for the 2015 Junior Faculty Manuscript Workshop. The aim of the workshop is to provide critical feedback to junior scholars (i.e., junior faculty members, postdocs, or non-tenure-track professors) who are working on book-length manuscripts that address important normative issues related to the functioning of contemporary market societies.

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By In Academia, Applied Ethics, Call For Papers, News and Events Comments (4)

CFP: Policing and Prisons (November 1st Deadline)

Policing and Prisons: Ethical and Political Questions about Law Enforcement and Incarceration 

The Bowling Green Workshop in Applied Ethics and Public Policy will take place in Bowling Green, Ohio, March 11th-12th, 2015. Our keynote speaker is Douglas Husak (Rutgers). Those interested in presenting a paper are invited to submit a 2-3 page abstract (double-spaced) by November 1st2015

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By In Applied Ethics, Ideas, Moral Psychology Comments (8)

The Truth about Lying

Lying is an important social and moral category. We react negatively to liars and their lies. But what is it to lie? The standard view in philosophy and social science is that a lie is a dishonest assertion. This view goes all the way back to at least the 4th century, when Augustine wrote, “He may say a true thing and yet lie, if he thinks it to be false and utters it for true.” On this view, lying is a purely psychological act: it does not require your assertion to be objectively false, only that you believe it is false.

About two years ago, my son Angelo came across an expression of the standard view of lying. He wondered whether it fit the ordinary concept of lying. (You might be able to imagine the sort of dinnertime conversations that could lead a twelve-year-old to become curious on this point.) In particular, Angelo was interested in whether, on the ordinary view, lying was a purely psychological act. So we conducted some behavioral experiments to find out.

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By In Applied Ethics, Ideas, Normative Ethics Comments (18)

What’s wrong with Torture

It’s been a couple of days since the Senate released the torture report. The discussion in the press seems to concern (a) whether it really might be effective, (b) whether that doesn’t miss the point, that it’s wrong and that we should take the stance “we don’t do that”; (c) whether the partisan bickering about the report–is it accurate? will it hurt us internationally?–will undermine any broader significance it might have; and (d) how other countries might respond to it–with violence, prosecution, admiration, etc.

A few days back I posted on my Facebook page a link to a piece in The New Republic entitled “We Will Never Know Whether Torture Works. That Shouldn’t Matter.” A friend then asked me if it was really true that its effectiveness doesn’t matter. As he put it: “[T]he use of a flamethrower on [a] bunker is to protect the lives of one’s own soldiers [and citizens], while in the classic “ticking bomb” scenario the use of torture is to protect civilian lives. So maybe there’s more symmetry between the two cases than I’ve usually thought. But the difference remains that flamethrowers are effective in clearing bunkers, while torture is of questionable effectiveness at best. Would we consider flamethrowers acceptable were they ineffective, though still horrifying brutal, weapons? I think not. And would we consider torture permissible were it foolproof? Perhaps. So I’m not sure I agree with the article’s conclusion that the question of effectiveness is irrelevant.”

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By In Applied Ethics, Ideas Comments (8)

Climate Change, Broome and the Third Alternative

I’m preparing a course on climate change ethics and as a part of this I am reading again John Broome’s fascinating Climate Matters – Ethics in a Warming World book. One thing Broome does in this book is to offer a new third alternative in addition to the familiar options of doing nothing and bearing the costs of climate change mitigation and adaptation. He claims that this alternative is not morally ideal, but it is possible and perhaps more likely to gain political support for the efforts that are needed for avoiding catastrophic climate change outcomes. Here I want to quickly explain all of this and then ask a question about this possibility.

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By In Applied Ethics, News and Events Comments Off on Call for Abstracts: Second Workshop on Ethics and Adaptation

Call for Abstracts: Second Workshop on Ethics and Adaptation

Ken Shockey from the University of Buffalo asked me to post the following call for abstracts for a workshop on Loss, Damage and Harm. This workshop will be held on 8th and 9th of May 2015 at the University of Buffalo, and the deadline for 500 word abstracts is on the 15th of November, 2014. There is more information about the workshop below.

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