The Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics seeks to strengthen teaching and research about pressing ethical issues; to foster sound norms of ethical reasoning and civic discussion; and to share the work of our community in the public interest. 

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Upcoming Events

2018 Oct 19

Keynote Lecture by Martha Nussbaum

5:30pm to 7:00pm


Fong Auditorium, Boylston Hall

Nussbaum lecture poster

Title: Working WIth and For Animals: Getting the Theoretical Framework Right

Martha C. Nussbaum is the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and...

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2018 Nov 29

Public Lecture by Cynthia Dwork

5:00pm to 6:30pm


Harvard Kennedy School, Taubman Building, Rooms 520 A,B & C

Title: Skewed or Rescued?  The Emerging Theory of Algorithmic Fairness

Description: Intelligent systems, much like humans, have the ability to see and respond to the world around them. Using data in new ways to make more accurate predictions or enabling new services, these machines offer the hope of overcoming the limitations of our own decision-making. However, with this they bring questions about how we make decisions, the influence of bias in decision making and how experts can ensure that key values – such as fairness – are built into artificially...

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2019 Jan 24

Inequality, Religion, and Society: John Rawls and After

Thu Jan 24 (All day) to Sat Jan 26 (All day)


Tsai Auditorium

John Rawls was the most influential political philosopher of the twentieth century: modern political philosophy would be unthinkable without him. This conference will bring together a range of distinguished participants, in the conviction that their diverse perspectives will enhance and illuminate one another in looking both at Rawls’ own thought and the problems of political theory that continue to face his successors. There is nowhere more appropriate than Harvard, where Rawls worked and taught for so long, to host such an important event.

This conference is...

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Latest News

"Who's Got Personality?" an Interview with Deb Chasman and Merve Emre

October 1, 2018

Deb Chasman, 2018-19 Fellow-in-Residence and Editor-in-Chief of Boston Review, conducted a fascinating interview with Merve Emre on personality tests like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. In their conversation, they explore "what the test really measures and what it misses, how it has come to function as a form of divination and therapy in an age of secular alienation, and why its claims of innateness are at odds with richer understandings of personality and character."

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For the Record

‘For the Record’ is a feature where our Fellows-in-Residence and Graduate Fellows have a chance to present their research ideas informally, reflect on their experience at the Center, or report on Center events.

This month's For the Record comes from Fellow-in-Residence Ari Schick, this year’s Tel Aviv University Exchange Fellow. Ari’s work focuses on speculative bioethics and the governance of emerging technologies.

Brain Death at Fifty and the Next Fifty Years of Public Bioethics Discourse
by Ari Schick

One aspect of my research examines how bioethics discourse has developed in relation to particular technologies and technological imaginaries, and more broadly, the past and continuing role of bioethics in addressing issues of broad public concern. One such issue, brain death, was recently the subject of the annual conference organized by Harvard Medical School’s Center for Bioethics, which I had the opportunity to attend. 

The occasion for the conference’s theme was the 50th anniversary of the influential report, “A Definition of Irreversible Coma,” published in 1968 by the Ad Hoc Committee of the Harvard Medical School to Examine the Definition of Brain Death. Under the leadership of Henry Beecher, the Committee was organized in response to the new phenomenon of patients being kept on mechanical ventilators without signs of neurological functioning. Read more

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