Ethics

2005 Nov 04

Seminar with Professor Wilson and Commentators

(All day)

Location: 

Wiener KSG

Speaker: James Q. Wilson, Ronald Reagan Professor of Public Policy, Pepperdine University
Alan Wolfe, Professor of Political Science; Director, The Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life, Boston College
Lizabeth Cohen, Howard Mumford Jones Professor of American Studies, Harvard University

Liz Cohen argued that we are experiencing extreme polarization and that this is primarily because moderates have taken themselves out of the debate and extreme...

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2005 Dec 08

Speaker's Freedom and Maker's Knowledge: The Case of Pornography

4:30pm to 6:00pm

Location: 

Starr Auditorium, Kennedy School of Government

Speaker: Rae Langton, Professor of Moral Philosophy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

In her talk entitled “Speaker’s Freedom and Maker’s Knowledge,” Rae Langton examined the prospects for developing a knowledge-based argument for the protection of pornographic speech. Ultimately, she seemed to think the prospects are not very good but that thinking about why such an argument would fail allows us to see an important connection between the type of knowledge generated by pornographic speech and its...

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2005 Apr 21

Promising, Conventionalism, and Intimate Relationships

4:30pm to 6:00pm

Location: 

Starr Auditorium, Kennedy School of Government

Speaker: Seana Shiffrin, Professor of Philosophy, University of California Los Angeles

Summary by Amalia Amaya Navarro, Edmond J. Safra Graduate Fellow in Ethics


How is it possible just through a statement to will into existence an obligation? The main problem about promising is a metaphysical puzzle. The idea that an agent can intentionally form an obligation only through the mere expression of her will alone has been thought to be puzzling. Conventionalism purports to offer a solution to...

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2004 Feb 19

The Ethics of Immigration

4:30pm to 6:00pm

Location: 

Starr Auditorium

Speaker: Joseph H. Carens, Professor of Political Science , University of Toronto

Free and open to the public: no ticket required.

2009 Apr 13

Global Democracy: In the Beginning

4:30pm to 6:00pm

Location: 

Location: Starr Auditorium, Harvard Kennedy School

Speaker: Robert Goodin, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Australian National University

On April 13, 2009, Robert Goodin, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Australian National University, delivered a lecture entitled "Global Democracy: In the Beginning."

Global democracy is impossibly far off, a "hopelessly distant prospect" most people claim. Not so, Robert Goodin argues. While representative government as we know it, wherein leaders are chosen in freely contested...

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2007 Dec 06

Is There a Coherent Alternative to Cost-Benefit Analysis?

4:30pm to 6:00pm

Location: 

Kennedy School of Government

Speaker: Barbara Fried, William W. and Gertrude H. Saunders Professor of Law, Stanford University

In exploring the question of her talk's title, Barbara Fried focused specifically on whether there is a coherent alternative to cost-benefit analysis for risk regulation. Fried discussed the possibilities and shortcomings of non-welfarist (and in particular deontological) approaches to the problem of harm to others. She concluded that the principal approaches to date could not yield a coherent alternative...

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2007 Mar 15

Can Lawyers Produce the Rule of Law?: Law-building Projects Abroad

4:30pm to 6:00pm

Location: 

Starr Auditorium, Kennedy School of Government

Speaker: Robert Gordon, Chancellor Kent Professor of Law and Legal History, Yale University

Robert Gordon, Chancellor Kent Professor of Law and Legal Studies at Yale, spoke on the role of lawyers in producing the rule of law both abroad and in the United States. Lawyers, he said, feel that they are necessary for the rule of law. A free practicing bar is thought to be necessary for liberty, justice, and the protection of rights, and they see the role of lawyers as being significant in establishing a...

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2006 Oct 26

The Ethics of Torture

4:30pm to 6:00pm

Location: 

Starr Auditorium, Kennedy School of Government

Speaker: Sanford V. Levinson, W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr. Centennial Chair and Professor of Government, University of Texas at Austin

The Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics began the celebration of its twentieth anniversary with a lecture by Sanford V. Levinson, the W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr. Centennial Professor of Law and Professor of Government at the University of Texas at Austin. Levinson, who was himself a faculty fellow at the Center for...

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2006 Apr 13

Responsibility Incorporated

4:30pm to 6:00pm

Location: 

Starr Auditorium, Kennedy School of Government

Speaker: Philip Pettit, Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Politics and Human Values

Summary by Rahul Sagar, Graduate Fellow in Ethics 2005-2006

In this age of corporate scandals, Philip Pettit presented a much anticipated lecture on how a corporate entity can be held responsible for doing something in a manner analogous to the way individuals are held responsible. Pettit started the lecture by highlighting a particular example, namely the sinking of "The Herald of Free Enterprise’, a ship owned by...

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2004 Nov 18

Lecture II: Our Democratic Constitution

4:15pm to 6:00pm

Location: 

Lowell Auditorium, Oxford & Kirkland Streets

Speaker: The Honorable Stephen Breyer, Justice of the United States Supreme Court

Summary by Amalia Amaya Navarro, Edmond J. Safra Graduate Fellow in Ethics

Justice Breyer opened his second lecture by briefly restating the main thesis that he intended to articulate and defend in this series of the Tanner lectures. In a nutshell, the thesis is that the Constitution embodies a coherent set of purposes, among which "active liberty" is of crucial importance, and that recognizing the relevance of "active liberty" helps judges better resolve difficult...

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2004 Oct 28

The Boundary of Law: Law, Morality, and the Concept of Law

4:30pm to 6:00pm

Location: 

Starr Auditorium, Kennedy School of Government

Speaker: Liam Murphy, Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Law, New York University

Summary by Japa Pallikkathayil, Edmond J. Safra Graduate Fellow in Ethics

In "The Boundary of Law," Liam Murphy explored the boundary between law and morality. On the one hand, legal positivism suggests that the boundary between law and morality is strict and exclusive. That is, the question of what the law is and the question of what it ought to be are completely separable. Judges, therefore, cannot employ...

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2008 Oct 02

Neuroscience and Responsibility

4:30pm to 6:00pm

Location: 

Location: Starr Auditorium, Harvard Kennedy School

Speaker: Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Professor of Philosophy and Hardy Professor of Legal Studies, Dartmouth College

In a talk entitled "Neuroscience and Responsibility" Professor Walter Sinnott-Armstrong examined several interconnected questions regarding moral responsibility that arise in the context recent neuroscience. Sinnott-Armstrong argued that while findings in neuroscience do not, and plausibly cannot, undermine moral responsibility in a comprehensive way, some neurosceintific findings should lead us to reevaluate the conditions under which we assign moral...

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