Rock Ethics Institute announces spring events

January 08, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Each semester the Rock Ethics Institute at Penn State hosts a variety of events that aim to promote ethical literacy and catalyze ethical leadership throughout the entire Penn State community. The events scheduled for the spring 2016 semester will address significant social issues and pressing world problems.

This semester’s topics include climate science, philosophy, race and education reform. All of the events are free and open to the public. Registration is recommended for all of the events. Additional events will be added throughout the semester. More information can be found at www.rockethics.psu.edu/events.

The Road Through the Paris Climate Agreement

Last December, more than 190 countries met in Paris for the 21st meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, where they succeeded in creating a new international climate agreement. This agreement is groundbreaking in its own right, but is it achievable?

At noon on Jan. 25 in Foster Auditorium, Andrew Light, professor and director of the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at George Mason University and a consultant at the U.S. Department of State, where he served as a senior climate change adviser, will discuss the groundbreaking Paris Climate Agreement and the future of global climate cooperation. He will review the recent history of U.N. climate negotiations, including how past failures led to this agreement and what is needed to achieve our long-term goals for climate stabilization. More information about this event can be found on the Rock Ethics Institute's event page.

The Form that Freedom Takes: Foucault, Ethics, and Governmentality

At 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 12 in Foster Auditorium, Ladelle McWhorter, the Stephanie Bennett Smith Chair in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and professor of environmental studies at the University of Richmond, will visit Penn State to discuss Michel Foucalt’s views of ethics and self-regulation.

Michel Foucalt, a French philosopher, created his own description of ethics in that it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with concepts such as “right” or “good," but more of being self-aware and auto-correcting ones actions. This presentation will consider Foucault’s definition of ethics alongside his descriptions of liberalism in "The Birth of Biopolitics." More information about this event can be found on the event page.

Natural Freedom: Human/Nature Nondualism in Japanese Thought

At 3:30 p.m. on April 1 in Foster Auditorium, Bret Davis, professor of philosophy at Loyola University Maryland, will discuss how we can learn to think of and experience the world through a discussion of East Asian philosophy.

East Asian philosophy or, more specifically, Japanese thought, has much to contribute to a rethinking of nature and freedom. By drawing on a number of traditional and modern Japanese thinkers, Davis will explore the philosophical sources in Japan for recognizing and realizing the possibility of a natural freedom. His argument will show that we need to learn to think of and experience the world, not in terms of humans versus nature, nor even just in terms of humans in cooperation with nature, but rather in terms of humans in nature, humans as part of nature, humans as participating in nature. More information about this event can be found on the event page.

About the Rock Ethics Institute

The Rock Ethics Institute promotes the integration of ethical literacy and ethical leadership throughout the Penn State community and supports innovative interdisciplinary ethical research, teaching and outreach. The Institute supports ethics-based curriculum development for new courses and the addition of ethical dimensions to existing courses; organizes faculty resources and seminars on ethics education; and sponsors conferences, lecture series and research projects on key themes in bioethics, ethics education, leadership, science, engineering, and the Critical Philosophy of Race. More information about the Rock Ethics Institute can be found at www.RockEthics.psu.edu.

  • Andrew Light

    Andrew Light, professor and director of the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at George Mason University and a consultant at the U.S. Department of State, where he served as a senior climate change adviser, will discuss the groundbreaking Paris Climate Agreement and the future of global climate cooperation on Jan. 25.

    IMAGE: Penn State
  • Ladelle McWhorter

    Ladelle McWhorter, the Stephanie Bennett Smith Chair in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and professor of environmental studies at the University of Richmond, will visit Penn State to discuss Michel Foucalt’s views of ethics and self-regulation on Feb. 12.

    IMAGE: Penn State
  • Bret W. Davis

    Bret Davis, professor of philosophy at Loyola University Maryland, will discuss how we can learn to think of and experience the world through a discussion of East Asian philosophy on April 1. 

    IMAGE: Penn State
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(Media Contacts)

Last Updated May 19, 2016