Refashioning Roles: Female Professorship and its Parallel in Drag (R3A)
Minerva Ahumada (Arrupe College of Loyola University Chicago)
In January 2016 Carol Hay published an article in The Stone entitled “Girlfriend, Mother, Professor?; in it, she describes the way in which her students see her: as a (possible) romantic interest, as a (substitute) mother, but not equal to her male professors. She mentions that, “The problem is that we, as a culture, don’t really know what a female professor is supposed to be.” Hay mentions that she tries to “see this cultural void as an opportunity […] and to invent new, more appropriate roles.” I want to heed her invitation and reflect on how considering the role of drag mother can offer students of color, and professors of color, a liberating, egalitarian, and fabulous experience navigating college life. A drag mother is a more experienced queen who develops a mentorship/family relationship with an aspiring queen. Drag mothers offer not just emotional support but pearls of wisdom; they also move in a similar intersectional way as their daughters, thus being able to create a relationship predicated on an acknowledgment on how different societal forces destabilize and challenge their lives. It is this intersectional understanding—whether fully conscious and articulated or not—that makes drag mothers a figure from whom to learn, especially when one is a) working with underrepresented students and b) underrepresented herself. As a philosophy professor who is also a Mexican woman and an immigrant, students could quickly move to see me as a maternal figure, yet thinking of myself as a drag mother allows me to see that what I am working for is to induct my students into academia, to show them the ropes of an environment to which they feel foreign, and to extend the opportunity to grow together.
I will draw from pop culture references—such as Paris is Burning, RuPaul’s Drag Race, and Pose—as well as from philosophers such as bell hooks, Jacqueline Scott, and Sarah Ahmed to establish the positive effects thinking of oneself as a drag mother can have when helping students, especially students underrepresented in higher education.
Mourning and Dignity. The ethics of Black life (S10A)
Norman Ajari (Villanova University)
To be Black means to have ancestors whose humanity was denied by slavery, colonialism, neo-colonialism, segregation, as well as by many theories elaborated in order to explain, justify and intensify these modes of domination. To be Black also means having to face the enduring legacies of these systems and theories, which predominantly manifest through overexposure to violence and death. Dignity, often defined as the inherent value of every single human being, has been a core concept in ethics since Kant, at least. But in the German philosopher as well as in modern politics, the claim of respect for the dignity of people has coexisted with deep antiblackness. However, apart from the western understanding of dignity stands another tradition, since the concept of dignity is pervasive in black radicalism, Caribbean philosophy and African thought since the 18th century. Drawing from both Africana philosophers such as Frantz Fanon and Derrick Bell, and contemporary African American experience of proximity to death and dehumanization, this paper aims at elaborating a relevant concept of Black dignity.
Saying Her Name Examining the Inclusivity of Hashtag Activism for Black Transgender Female Victims of Police Brutality and Wrongful Death (S11B)
Jillian Andres, graduate student (Villanova University)
A prominent Twitter hashtag used to bring attention to Black victims of police brutality is #BlackLivesMatter. A criticism of this hashtag is that it prioritizes Black male cisgender victims. #SayHerName is the more inclusive answer, as it was conceived to raise awareness of violence against all women, including queer and transgender women. However, it is currently unclear if this hashtag is inclusive of violence against Black transgender women in particular. Black transgender women face marginalization and invisibility due to their intersecting identities. Like Black cisgender men and women, Black transgender women have been victims of police brutality and wrongful death, but it remains unclear if their stories are given the same attention as those of Black cisgender victims. Twitter is often the first place where stories like these are told, meaning that if Black transgender women are not included in hashtag activism, their stories may remain silent.
In this paper, I conduct a Twitter analysis to see the extent to which #BlackLivesMatter and #SayHerName include Black transgender female victims. I use existing data sets, including Freelon, McIlwain, and Clark (2016), which is among the most comprehensive set of #BlackLivesMatter tweets currently available. I also incorporate original data sets. The primary aim of this paper is to examine the degrees to which #BlackLivesMatter and #SayHerName discussions incorporate the deaths of Black transgender women. This paper examines the ways in which Black transgender women are included in hashtag activism, or if they face invisibility in their deaths as well.
"The Last Shall Be First": A Philosophical Analysis of African American Resistance Violence (S9A)
Margaret Betz (Rutgers University/Camden)
Both Nat Turner and Frantz Fanon cite the Biblical passage "The first shall be last and the last shall be first" as their inspiration and justification for acts of resistance violence to protect exploited black people. This paper analyzes the qualitatively unique character of violence of resistance, or violence that attempts to defend historically and systematically vulnerable persons in a society. Resistance violence both does and does not qualify under John Locke's description of legitimate force. After discussing important distinctions unique to particularly a violence of resistance, this paper examines various examples from African American history, like Nat Turner, Frederick Douglass, Dr. Ossian Sweet, and the controversial group Antifa. Utilizing Miranda Fricker’s concept of “epistemic injustice,” this paper considers the moral and political legitimacy of resorting to this kind of violence. By continually staying mindful of significant factors at play in resistance violence – what I refer to as epistemic contextualization – this paper makes the case that we may tend to be more dismissive of resistance violence than is warranted.
Religion in the Ethics Classroom: More than a "Conversation-Stopper" (S8B)
Brian Birch (Utah Valley University)
This presentation will explore strategies for leveraging religious diversity in the ethics classroom. Religious conviction and certitude can be among the most challenging dimensions for ethics educators—and often result in attenuated or abridged treatments of ethical issues. Employing some current literature in religious diversity, this presentation will explore strategies intended to help 1) disentangle ethical conflict in the classroom and 2) strengthen productive and respectful dialogue. Relevant publications include Eboo Patel’s “Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America,” “American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us” from Robert Putnam and David Campbell, and finally Martha Nussbaum’s “The New Religious Intolerance: Overcoming the Politics of Fear in an Anxious Age.” I will use some key elements in these works to argue that students can benefit from approaches to religious diversity that move beyond facile accounts of pluralism and toward those that provide more nuanced descriptions of how people of faith (and other forms of deep spiritual conviction) orient around ethical issues. In the final few minutes, I will discuss examples of how this approach is taken up in the interdisciplinary Ethics & Values course at Utah Valley University. This core humanities offering is designed to introduce students to ethics through philosophy, literature, history, and religion. As someone who teaches at the intersections of philosophy and religious studies, my ideal ethics classroom is one in which religion serves as an effective catalyst for discussion rather than a “conversation stopper.”
Say Her Name: Gender, Race, and Police Violence in the Shadow of Controlling Images (R3C)
Brianna Bremster, Villanova University; Chris M. Smith, University of Toronto; Rory Kramer, Villananova University
The #SayHerName movement focuses on police violence against Black women. However, research on police violence is rarely intersectional, and scholarship has not engaged the potentially violent consequences of gendered cultural frames and “controlling images.” Using New York City investigatory stop data (2007 -2014 ), and consistent with controlling images of the “Black criminal man” and the “angry Black woman,” our analysis shows that Black men and women experience higher rates of police violence compared to White men and women. At the same time, within race analyses indicate that Black men are more likely to experience any police violence than Black women. The same gender gap exists withinWhites, Asians, and Latinx persons, demonstrating how perceptions of femininity and masculinity shape police violence. These gendered frames dissolve in analyses of potentially fatal violence, as we find no gender differences within race/ethnicity in these extreme cases. Further, the controlling image of the “Black criminal man” casts a long shadow—individuals stopped in the company of Black men are more likely to experience police violence than individuals stopped alone. Overall, this study reveals that the intersectionality of police violence is located both within and across categories and that individuals’ social relationships exacerbates their risk of police violence.
Journalism Ethics and the Everyday-ness of Poverty 50 Years after the Kerner Commission Report (R1A)
Sandra Borden (Western Michigan University)
In the Eisenhower Foundation’s 50-year follow-up to the Kerner Commission report, the editors noted that the media’s coverage of poverty and racial injustice has not improved significantly since 1968. The media, according to Healing our Divided Society, have been especially bad at covering the everyday-ness of these intersecting problems. This paper takes the everyday-ness of poverty as the starting point for a unified account of the ethics of poverty journalism based on Alasdair MacIntyre’s (1999) argument in Dependent Rational Animals, focusing in particular on the intersection between poverty and race.
MacIntyre argued that our shared vulnerability as humans is a great moral equalizer. Using this framework, I will critique mainstream journalism’s record of covering poverty as described in the New Will and the Media section of the updated Kerner report and discuss the implications for improving the coverage of poverty and race. When journalists and their audiences see socioeconomic need as another form of dependence that we all may experience at some point in our lives, they may be more motivated to seriously examine and try the sorts of evidence-based solutions featured in the updated Kerner report. Just generosity and other virtues of acknowledged dependence can help journalists to reframe responses to poverty as a way to help everyone flourish, rather than suggesting that those experiencing poverty are anomalous cases that do not deserve special treatment.
Moral Friendship as Perfectionist Resistance (S9D)
Jon Borowicz (Milwaukee School of Engineering)
The paper teases out threads of thought in Hannah Arendt and Stanley Cavell toward an account of a quasi-public perfectionist philosophical practice --call it moral friendship--supportive of politico-moral judgment under social conditions of its repression. Arendt commentator Dana Villa argues for a "moderately alienated" model of citizenship central to which is a discrete practice of thinking exercised to free the thinker from the stultifying effects of uncritically-held conventional belief. Unlike Socratic elenchus, however, Villa makes no provision for an interpersonal intellectual activity. Any solitary practice of thinking in Arendt's sense of an activity that is "out of order" and has no positive result is left without incentive. Despite conceiving of Emersonian Moral Perfectionism (EMP) as a literary genre, Cavell provides two conceptual resources appropriable by an embodied perfectionist practice. The first is his account of the nexus between the perfectionist writer and reader. The very tight obverse relation of writing and reading that Cavell works out suggests a further understanding of reading that is autonomous of the charismatic writer, and suggestive of an interpersonal practice. The second is EMP's use of provocation. In EMP, the perfectionist writer as moral friend provokes her thinking. In an embodied practice of moral friendship, friends provoke each other's thinking and judgment symmetrically in a broadly-based facilitated discourse. The paper concludes with a demonstration of how such a discourse has been realized using the asynchronous collaboration platform, Twist.
When Justice Battles Neutrality: activism in the classroom (S8B)
Jennifer Bradley (Swarthmore College)
Desmond Tutu warned that, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” With the prevalence of Black Lives Matter, #occupy, #metoo, Standing Rock, Climate Justice, and Immigrant Rights, the fight against racial and other injustices has found its way into the classroom. Additionally, student-led activist movements such as March for our Lives and Organizing for Survivors, along with teacher-led movements such as #redfored, urge educators and students alike to use their unique role in the classroom as a platform for change.
This presentation will present several case studies to encourage audience members to examine scenarios from the presenter’s own practice as an educator/scholar/activist, concerning:
-whether Black Lives Matter should be taught in schools?
-whether outside organizations should be able to guide student activism?
-to what degree professors should support student activists protesting administrators?
-who gets to decide which causes are highlighted in the classroom?
-should students be allowed to opt out of classroom activism?
-at what age should children have the choice to opt into movements?
What, if any role, does neutrality have in the fight for justice and equity, and what is the role of teachers and students in the activist landscape? This interactive session will invite attendees to grapple with the role of educators aiming to teach towards racial justice while balancing student agency, outside agendas, and competing responsibilities and demands.
Teaching ethics in discomfort (F4C)
Melissa Burchard (University of North Carolina, Asheville)
Are pedagogies of difference and of discomfort necessary for teaching ethics? Students certainly disagree about what values are most important and how to articulate those values and are often uncomfortable having to defend those values in the classroom. However, given the complexities of the world in which we have to make moral decisions, it seems that we need to engage differences on a larger social and political level, in particular those differences that constitute identities (e.g., race, gender, nationality, class, etc.) and have implications for how their “holders” will have or not have access to power and the goods of their societies.
I argue that teaching ethics responsibly requires that we use pedagogies of difference and discomfort. This means, first, investigating our own stances and allegiances, as one of the major forms of discomfort that may need to be addressed by academics is our own complicity in the maintenance of the norms and hegemony of dominance, especially given that the majority of professional philosophers are, for example, still white, male, heterosexual, middle class, able-bodies, etc. I review some of the major points of the pedagogies of difference and discomfort and give examples of some of the kinds of difference that we need to address in the teaching of ethics/morality, and some of the kinds of discomfort that seem likely to arise given those differences. I argue that given those differences and discomforts, it is incumbent on us to incorporate pedagogical methods that acknowledge them explicitly and help students learn to deal with them.
Teaching about Race and Christian theology as a Muslim Instructor (S10B)
S. Beena Butool, graduate student (Florida State University)
This paper brings forth observations regarding the teaching of Christian theology and race inside an American classroom especially when the curriculum addresses both Christian and Islamic ethics. Especially when the instructor is Muslim, teaching issues around race and Christian theology raises questions regarding Islam's response to racism inside America. From a reflexive point of view, the instructor then is situated between a triad of issues: race, Christian ethical response to racism, and whether Islam has a better answer or not to the historical acrimony between races inside American society. Since issues like war and politics are also discussed in preceding sessions of the course, the issue of racism demands a solid Islamic ethical response too. But, somehow an Islamic ethical response to racism remains weak even inside religious ethics. This disciplinary problem then poses constraints for instructors inside the classroom and demonstrates gaps inside curricula. I discuss ways in which the gap can bring forth opportunities for teaching about reconciliation and understanding.
Distributing Carts before Horses, or the Presumptions of Distributive Justice (F7D)
Chris Byron, graduate student (University of Georgia)
Distributive justice has been the paradigmatic philosophical position regarding matters of justice for several decades. Distributive justice often focuses on issues of resource allocation and/or welfare allocation. In this essay I argue that this paradigm is mistaken, and issues of productive justice ought to take precedence. The way in which people work, and the nature of the productive workplace, condition the possibilities of obtaining distributive justice, thus productive justice is of antecedent concern for realizing justice overall. But even if this claim were to be false, it is the case that distributive justice theorists have now allowed productive justice into their considered judgments and thus are operating with something short of serious reflective equilibrium. Productive justice therefore deserves unprecedented analysis and philosophical consideration.
Kendrick Lamar and Lil Nas X: Discussing the ethics of genre, language and racialized spaces in the college English and Philosophy classroom. (S8C)
Cristina Cammarano and April Logan (Salisbury University)
This presentation examines questions of the pedagogy of racial justice through the disciplinary lenses of the humanities. This is a collaborative project between two faculty, one in English, one in Philosophy, who assisted with the planning of, discussed, and visited each other’s class to examine racial justice pedagogy. In Understanding Poetry, an introductory literature course, the professor and students considered Kendrick Lamar’s work and discussed the ethics of rap music’s graphic language, misogyny, homophobia, profanity, and evolution into a mainstream music genre. In the Introduction to Philosophy course, the professor and students reviewed the recent controversy about Lil Nas X’ s exclusion and then inclusion in the Billboard Country Music chart, also considering the ways that genre and space function to separate and exclude, marking social and racial hierarchies.
In our presentation, our questions are along the lines of 1) what might English and Philosophy learn from one another regarding the different ways we approach/teach the stimuli, 2) how does each discipline approach these type of ethical dilemmas related to racial justice, especially in relation to knowledge production, cultural appropriation, redlining, and mainstream values and 3) what unexpected questions and insights do students raise about the stimuli or/and such ethical issues.
Describing Excellence Under Oppression: Exploring Problems of Virtue-Speak for Oppressed Agents (F5C)
Ethan Davis, graduate student (University of Mississippi)
How does one effectively speak about excellence in conditions of oppression? The answer does not seem to simply be applying virtue concepts to oppressed agents. I use Lisa Tessman's work to pick out general features of virtue theoretic accounts of oppression and use those features to problematize such accounts. The conclusion is that virtue-speak is likely ill-suited describing excellent resistors of oppression because it cannot adequately describe both the devastating effects of oppression and the virtuous character of resistors.
Teaching Ethical Reasoning through the 8KQ (S11C)
Christian Early (James Madison University)
The session describes and offers assessment of the efforts of the Ethical Reasoning in Action (ERiA) program at James Madison University to teach ethical reasoning to all incoming first year undergraduates. Ethical reasoning is here defined as the skillful process of using the 8KQ to gather and weigh morally relevant information pertaining to a situation in order to make better, more morally informed decisions. The 8KQ prompt curiosity within eight moral aspects of lived experience: fairness, outcomes, responsibilities, character, liberty, empathy, authority, and rights. ERiA uses a 75 minute training workshop in which a scenario with a significant moral situation is given to teach participants ethical reasoning and a moral reasoning essay to assess skill level. The results are presented, and the remainder of the session will discuss new lines of investigation such as the impact of ethical reasoning on implicit bias, particularly with attention to racial bias.
The use of comics in teaching the neuroethics of social identity and health (F7D)
Ann Fink (Lehigh University)
Teaching neuroethics provides opportunities to foster a critical understanding of how social identities are linked to health. This subject also challenges students and instructors to engage responsibly with neurobiological theories of identity and mental illness. Learning about stress, trauma, and resilience can promote especially important insights into self and community. Students may better understand how social inequities become embedded in the body and mind and engage in more informed moral discourse around these inequities. Nevertheless, such courses often remain inaccessible to groups historically marginalized in biology but who often have higher incidence of trauma. Potential harms of mishandling these topics include re-traumatization and stigmatization of vulnerable populations; a lack of social context in discussing mental illness may also cause harm through negligence. Classroom climate is a key consideration in teaching such topics, because it impacts learning and well-being and shapes the evolution of biomedical culture as students’ progress through their careers. Here, I discuss two courses designed to broaden engagement of historically marginalized students and promote critical thinking about neuroscience, justice and health by (a) placing neuroscience concepts within a critical feminist analysis of power and intersectional identity and (b) using arts-based curricula. I adapt comics-based teaching methods from artist Lynda Barry, whose work explores drawing as pedagogy. Artistic techniques encourage new modes of understanding neuroethics, enhance students’ agency in learning, promote communication, circumvent stigma, and prepare students for difficult topics. Overall, these methods promote an inclusive and transformative environment, which I will demonstrate with a comics-based neuroethics case study.
Against Deception in Police Interrogations: A Response to Christopher Slobogin (F7A)
Samantha Fritz, undergraduate student (Youngstown State University)
Throughout this paper, I look at Christopher Slobogin’s “Some Police Deceit and Trickery is Legitimate.” In this article, he looks at a few instances where police deception should be allowed. After analyzing his and Sissela Bok’s framework for allowing certain instances of police deception, I argue for three possible criticisms of this position. First, I look at inconsistencies within the distinction between charged and uncharged suspects: namely, how very little actually distinguishes suspects who have been charged versus suspects who have not been charged. Second, I look at a Kantian response to Slobogin’s utilitarian-friendly position. Finally, I look at a virtue ethics approach to the question of whether deceit and being a good or virtuous police officer are compatible. Ultimately, I come to the conclusion that, among other things, the power imbalance between police and suspects should prohibit the types of deception Slobogin argues should be permissible. While there may be isolated benefits of lying during police interrogations, virtue ethics, the categorical imperative, and even utilitarianism show that in the end, police deception during interrogations is not justified.
The Two Types of Grades (and Why They Matter to Ethics Instruction) (S10B)
Matthew Gaudet (Santa Clara University)
There are two types of grades in the typical university course: those professors give to students during a course, and those professors report to the registrar at the end of a course. Parsing the two offers several benefits for professors and students alike, especially when teaching core courses, such as ethics courses, to a diverse population with varying background in the subject matter.
The final grade for the course is static, permanent and 100% evaluative expression of where the student ended up at the end of the course. But it says absolutely nothing about the path a student took to that destination.
Assignment grades, on the other hand, should be understood as part of an active and ongoing conversation about how a student is currently doing in the course. As such they can be and, I will argue, should be dynamic and fluid, reflecting a single frame in an ongoing process, rather than a fixed reality.
There is, of course, a relationship between the two kinds of grades, but it need not be overly rigid and formulaic (i.e. exam 1=25% of final grade, etc.). Professors should allow for multiple paths to success, especially in core required courses—like most ethics courses—where students often begin with very different levels of knowledge into the subject.
In this paper, I will review several strategies and mechanisms I have used with great success to decouple the two types of grades and allow students multiple pathways to success without compromising quality of work.
Ethical responsibilities of campus leaders in the STEM disciplines (R2B)
Amanda Grannas and Elizabeth Svenson (Villanova University)
Why would a STEM professor need be concerned with the ethics of race and justice in America? Aren’t the STEM disciplines about objective facts? Nationally, women and members of minoritized groups are underrepresented in the STEM work force. This phenomenon has multiple and complex causes, but among these are policies and practices that impact the higher education classroom. Often, the practices that create disparate impact are invisible and unconscious. It is the responsibility of each faculty member to recognize these issues and work toward their resolution. Improving representation of women, members of underrepresented groups, and those with intersectional identities within STEM faculties and across the institution are key ethical imperatives for 21st century colleges and universities. To ensure that these imperatives are addressed at Villanova University during a time of institutional growth and changing identity, the National Science Foundation has provided funding through an ADVANCE grant for Institutional Transformation to establish the Villanova Initiative for Supporting Inclusiveness and Building Leaders (VISIBLE). The ADVANCE team and VISIBLE Office will present a round table-style panel discussion focusing on the rationales for adopting inclusive practices and the essential roles played by campus leaders in promoting change. A moderator will engage four campus leaders from Villanova University‘s STEM faculty in a discussion addressing the question “What are the ethical responsibilities of my discipline with respect to equity and justice?” The conversation will strive to address classroom dynamics, hiring and promotion of colleagues, and participation in interdisciplinary collaboration for building inclusive community across the institution.
Introducing TopHat and a new Introduction to Ethics Text (F6C)
Cliff Guthrie (Husson University)
TopHat is an online textbook publisher that allows collaborative authoring and easy modifications by faculty adopters.
This session will present one author's experience publishing with TopHat as well as a demonstration of a textbook, an Introduction to Ethics (which can be previewed here: https://tinyurl.com/y5z94u7g). This text has been piloted to students to good reviews and students seem to be performing better as a result of the interactive elements embedded in the text.
Pitfalls Teaching the Concept of White Privilege (S9B)
Elizabeth A. Hoppe (Loyola University Chicago)
White privilege is a tricky concept to address because of its invisibility. People who benefit from it don’t necessarily see its advantages especially when they suffer from other types of disadvantages. For instance, what does it mean to be privileged racially if one struggles economically? I have encountered resistance to this concept from my business ethics students and have tried to find ways to overcome this dilemma. In this paper I will address why problems may arise when teaching the topic of white privilege and what solutions may be helpful. I find that one drawback concerns the word ‘privilege’, a word that students tend to associate with class privilege. A key problem is that white privilege by itself does not coincide with the concept of intersectionality in which gender, class, sexual orientation, etc. are all interconnected. So, to be successful I find that white privilege needs to be taught in conjunction with intersectionality. Furthermore, even if students agreed that white privilege does occur and is a problem, this belief would not change institutionalized racism. In other words, recognizing white privilege may help combat some individual occurrences of racism, but it would not eliminate the problem on a structural level. Because of the difficulties I have encountered, I contend that although white privilege is an important to tool for overcoming racism, it needs to be integrated into discussions of intersectionality and institutionalized racism in order for its value to shine through.
Cultivators Editors: Infusing Ethics in Leadership Education (S11C)
Ben Johnson (Utah Valley University)
Helping student editors develop an ethical sense in academic publishing classes, is not only good theory, but an aspirational practice. Blending theory with praxis when creating a double-blind peer-reviewed, hybrid journal, requires an ethical framework that helps student through the publishing production process. When analyzing the writing and artwork of others, students demonstrate flourishing and autonomy (Brighouse, 2012) that ultimately has significant payoffs for students, the publishing medium, and educators. Drawing on the pivotal work of ethics and leadership scholars (Ciulla, 2002), students benefit as they learn leadership, writing, editing, design, and public relations. Teaching students about ethics and applied leadership helps students participate metacognitively that consequently expands the student’s own perspective and ultimately provides an engaging practice and outlet for ethically producing research.
How do you solve a problem like white nationalists? Speech and Punching Nazis as an Ethics Case for High Schoolers (R2C)
Tim Jung (Chicago Public Schools)
Since Trump’s election, controversy has been reignited about what exactly one ought to do to withstand the rallies and public demonstrations of self-described or de facto white nationalists. From the punching of Richard Spencer and others, to the milkshaking of Islamaphobic Australian politicians or right wing journalist Andy Ngo, questions of dealing with potentially illiberal members of society who use freedom of speech to propagate misinformation and genocidal ideation becomes relevant.
Sharing materials—i.e. the cases I use in my classroom, I will show how these cases allow for students to engage with several important philosophical questions: moral permissibility, the limits of tolerance, the unintended consequences of harming illiberal members of a liberal society, the consequences and values expressed in free speech, epistemic arrogance, and the question of what is to be done for problematic (irrational?) moral agents who don't abide by shared norms.
This case also is relevant for my students who also had Christian Picciolini, former skinhead and founder of Love Against Hate, speak to them at a school assembly (one can also show his TED Talk for instructional purposes). Given his life experiences and his conversion, students also draw on further evidence that complicates the thought process of a conversion from an at best unjustified to an at worst irrational set of beliefs.
Ethical Reasoning in Action as a Framework for Responding to Social Justice in Education Ethical Dilemmas (F6D)
Kara Kavanagh (James Madison University)
Students have little preparation to handle complex ethical situations that arise in college or future careers. The Association of American Colleges and Universities called for graduates to meet the challenge of maintaining the integrity of a democratic society. They charged institutions with providing educational environments that “…foster intellectual honesty, responsibility for society’s moral health and for social justices, active participation as a citizen of a diverse democracy, discernment of the ethical consequences of decisions and actions and a deep understanding of one’s self and respect for the complex identities of others, their histories and their cultures.”
Lessard University (pseudonym), teaches Ethical Reasoning in Action, a framework of Eight Key Questions (EKQs) to be applied to ethical dilemmas. Case method pedagogy coupled with EKQs, is a pedagogical tool that fosters intellectual inquiry and empowers students to evaluate ethical nuances systematically. This framework promotes critical thinking, exploring multiple perspectives, evaluating ethical nuances, and promoting meaningful, informed dialogue and action.
By utilizing Case Studies on Diversity and Social Justice Education (Gorski & Pothini, 2013) with EKQs framework, students examine social justice education cases focused on racism, homophobia,sexism,Islamaphobia, xenophobia, and linguicism, etc. as they play out in elementary classrooms. Students analyze, question, and reflect critically before making decisions. Additionally, students identify a social justice current event in education, apply the framework, and write a business letter to a person in power that demonstrates their ethical reasoning and action. This process combines critical thinking, ethical reasoning in action, and social justice advocacy.
Are Children Morally Responsible for Implicit Bias? (F7C)
William Kloutcher, undergraduate student (American University)
As the US culture becomes more socially progressive, we are seeing a greater emphasis on personal accountability for the actions and beliefs of an individual. My view is that what we hold people responsible for does not go deep enough; while explicit biases are no longer tolerated, implicit ones are neither noticed nor oppugned. Past thinkers claimed that individuals are only the agent of beliefs they consciously endorse. I contend that an agent is a person able to engage in rational activity, making one morally responsible for their implicit biases as it is an evaluative judgment that reflects their rational activity. With that in mind, I cogently hold that children also have agency, and thus they too have a moral responsibility for their implicit attitudes. In this paper I explore what agency is and its relation to moral responsibility, explaining why conditions previously held by philosophers as exculpatory are invalid. I will also describe what it means for an individual to be morally blameworthy, how it differs from moral responsibility, and why child-agents are exempt from moral blameworthiness, but adult-agents are not.
Relentless Hearts: A Story of the MOVE 9 (F7B)
Crystal Lucky (Villanova University)
In June 2018, Debbie Africa was the first member of the MOVE 9 to be released from prison after serving 40 years of what was supposed to be a 30-100 year sentence for the 1978 murder of a Philadelphia police officer. Four months later, Michael Africa, Sr. was released under similar circumstances. While in prison, Michael, Sr. earned his undergraduate degree through Villanova University’s Graterford Program (now housed at SCI Phoenix). Debbie, Michael Sr., their son, Michael Jr., and I are writing a book about their 40-year journey.
Through the examination of narrative interviews, this paper reconsiders the events of May 1978 involving MOVE (the black liberation group founded in 1972 in Philadelphia by John Africa, neé Vincent Leaphart), then mayor Frank Rizzo and the Philadelphia Police department through the lens of systemic racism, illegal practices by law enforcement officials and the curtailed rights of individuals to resist and demonstrate. My work with Debbie and Michael Sr. provides critical observations about the following: mass incarceration of black and brown people in the United States; inhumane and unethical practices by prison personnel; emphasis on useless political dichotomies that divert attention away from the need for but impossibility of radical prison reform due to the ultimate objective of the prison industrial complex; and the important work of Philadelphia's current District Attorney, Larry Krasner.
Addressing Ethical Implications of Implicit Bias in Aspiring Pre-Healthcare Professionals: A Pedagogical Approach (R1C)
Amanda Maxwell MD (University of North Carolina, Asheville)
Aspiring healthcare professionals must complete rigorous coursework in STEM and Humanities as well as experiences in shadowing, volunteering, and internships in order to fulfill the expectations of the new “holistic,” or whole-person, approach of healthcare admissions committees. These extracurricular experiences often provide an opportunity for a student to work directly with marginalized groups. Unfortunately, this experience could actually perpetuate an implicit bias toward the “other” rather than building an environment of inclusion. Providing students, the opportunity to identify their own privilege and bias in a respectful classroom environment can help bridge this gap. When a role model is willing to demonstrate areas of their own growth, students are given permission to admit fallibility and focus efforts toward betterment. This process is often uncomfortable and emotionally taxing. As an educator, especially if part of the dominant social group, leading others through this process can be extremely intimidating, and admitting one’s faults can leave one feeling too exposed. Additionally, the educator should also regularly do this personal inquiry rather than assume a milestone in equity is reached and no further professional development is needed. This psycho-social development of future healthcare providers, and the role models that educate them, will help to eliminate health disparities through equitable support and encouragement for screenings, procedures, and treatments. Students need a framework to query and examine their own assumptions and implicit bias; the ethical implication is that implicit bias will continue to perpetuate health inequities.
A resource handout will be provided.
Ethical Decision-Making and the Rule of Law (S10D)
Dennis Maxwell (Public Defender, Judicial District 42)
The principle of Rule of Law is considered to be fundamental to liberal democratic government. When this principle is adhered to it establishes a system that ensures the supremacy of law over all persons and institutions, public or private, including the state itself. It should ensure that the law is equally enforced and independently adjudicated. This understanding of the role this principle plays in a liberal democracy is generally included in any pedagogy focused on the principles of democratic government. It is also the foundation of how Rule of Law development is practiced by those assisting in post-conflict societies. However, what this basic understanding of the principle of Rule of Law fails to appreciate is the effects of ethical decision-making by actors within a Rule of Law system. For example, an actor who values security over procedural protections might make decisions that undermine the equal enforcement of the law. Similarly, consideration for efficient governance can often lead to decisions that result in the law providing protection for one part of society to the detriment of others. An examination of glaring inequities that exist within the U.S. legal system, considered to be a paradigmatic example of a system built on Rule of Law principles, is illustrative of the effects of ethical choices made by discrete system actors that serve to weaken this fundamental principle of liberal democracy.
The Caring Practical Joke (F4B)
David McGraw (James Madison University)
The practical joke provides an interesting study of the importance of caring in ethical judgment, as well as a useful illustration of how caring differs from other ethical reasoning approaches. This paper will argue that some practical jokes are morally good, while others are not. This position differs from the application of Kantian deontological reasoning, which would deem all practical jokes to be lacking in respect for human dignity, since, by definition, practical jokes rely on the element of surprise, thereby withholding knowledge and choice from the target of the joke. While utilitarianism might suggest that some practical jokes are more morally acceptable than others, a closer examination will reveal the shortcomings of utilitarianism in understanding which practical jokes are likely to produce better outcomes. The paper will argue that the case of the practical joke highlights the importance of a relational approach to ethics, where the focus is on an understanding of the individuals participating in the event.
Humanizing Discourse: How Racialized and Gendered Microaggressions Enable Teaching Ethics and the Power of Words in the 21st Century (F4A)
Thomas McLaughlin, graduate student (Villanova University/Barrack Hebrew University)
In a privileged prep school environment, the topic of race and social justice is often promptly dismissed, by both students and parents, as political indoctrination. In my talk, I will demonstrate how the teaching of ethics, race, and justice can be achieved through close attention to language. In a tenth grade remedial English class at a private prep school, students are carefully and methodically introduced to rhetorical devices employed by Martin Luther King, Frederick Douglass, Jesmyn Ward, and others who have argued from a position of vulnerability in the face of systemic oppression. Students learn what is meant by “dehumanizing” language, as we parse the writing of Lorene Cary, Mark Twain, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, and Harriet Beecher Stowe. The centerpiece of this study of the power of words is Octavia Butler’s 1979 novel Kindred, in which a 1970s post-Black Panther, post-second wave feminist is whisked back to the era of enslavement in 1820s Maryland. In turn, we study this voice through our own lens of the #blacklivesmatter, #metoo era, and learn to recognize microaggressions in various forms. The perfect culmination of this yearlong lesson is a reading of Shakespeare’s Othello that assesses the students’ heightened sensitivities to the power of sentences and the subtleties therein. Through such a study, students can become cognizant of the social-emotional needs and political differences of their peers, as well as bias in the media, as I hope to sow seeds for heightened sensitivities and ethical self-actualization.
Engineering and Justice: Developing the Political Aspect of Engineering Ethics (S8A)
Glen Miller (Texas A&M University)
While engineering ethics is usually taught emphasizing the moral obligations of individual engineers, this paper aims to broaden this approach by developing the political dimension of engineering and a multifaceted concept of justice. Engineering is a profession, which entails institutional structures and legal relationship with the public. Unlike professions such as medicine and law that concentrate on the practitioner-client relationship, the paramount concern expressed in the National Society of Professional Engineers’ Code of Ethics is the protection of public “health, safety, and welfare.” Engineers also find themselves working in the midst of global supply chains, both as consumers and producers, which entails a political dimension, and similarly the products themselves, the energy they consume, the pollution they cause, and their disposal. Many engineers work on public works projects, and another sizeable number for defense industries. In addition to these physical concerns, engineers are knowledge workers who develop, share, and protect intellectual property.
These political aspects necessitate the development of a robust concept of justice that far exceeds Aristotle’s development of the virtue or W. D. Ross’s simple working definition of giving each his or her due. This working paper takes a philosophical-historical approach to this problem. It is a first pass at aggregating insights into engineering practice with ideas of justice from canonical philosophers such as Aristotle, Ross, and Immanuel Kant; recent political philosophers such as John Rawls, Robert Nozick, and Michael Walzer; and insights from feminism, e.g., Allison Jaeger and Nancy Fraser, and environmental justice, such as the work done by Robert Melchior Figueroa and Kristin Shrader-Frechette.
Reducing Bias through Scripts (F6A)
Deborah Mower (University of Mississippi)
Recent volumes in philosophy have explored the problem of implicit bias, particularly as it relates to race (Brownstein and Saul, 2016). The chapters in these volumes explore the metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical issues surrounding racial bias, and examine a variety of proposals for how to address the problem. I categorize the approaches into falling into one of two ‘camps’: either an ‘individualist’ solution or a ‘social/institutional’ solution. I argue that while there are important moral reasons to support a ‘social/institutional’ solution, it is not effective as an approach for concrete change in practice nor does it have a high probability of success given the complexity of factors. Unfortunately, the ‘individualist’ approach holds more promise for pragmatic reasons but falls prey to a psychological phenomenon in which increased attention to our use of stereotypes and statistical regularities actually increases bias. Madva (2016) refers to this as the ‘moral-epistemic dilemma.’ Rees (2016) argues for a virtue ethical framework as a solution, focusing on the role of increasing habitual control of behaviors through goal automaticity. I argue that while this approach is promising, a better solution is to focus on the narrative components of scripts because of the way it conceptualizes relationships and interactions in real time.
Intergroup Dialogue: Claiming Racial Justice in the Higher Ed Classroom One Conversation at a Time (F5B)
Teresa Nance and Sheryl Bowen (Villanova University)
Reported incidents of bias and conflict have increased on college campuses. The FBI recorded 280 hate crimes reported by campus police forces in 2017 and that was an increase from 257 in 2016 and 194 in 2015. This year, 2019, the incidents seemed particularly virulent. A Black doll was hung from a shower rod in a shared bathroom in a residence hall at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti. A friend of one of the students in the suite explained that the doll was not racist, it was just a joke. The Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity at the University of Georgia was suspended after a video displaying fraternity members mocking slavery and using racial slurs went viral on social media. A racist video showing students at Ohio University was found on a GroupMe chat and then was widely circulated on social media. The video shows one student reciting the rhyme “One, two, three, four, how many n------- are in my store.”
There was a time in response to Civil Rights activism when academic administrators mistakenly thought that opening the door to difference would solve all problems. The solution was based on the notion that compositional diversity would break down the barriers of race. As educators we know that authentic engagement takes understanding, preparation, and skill.
Intergroup Relations (IGR) helps students learn about living purposefully as global citizens within a diverse world. Through self-reflection, identity exploration, and other experiential educational tools, participants learn how our everyday language, social rituals and casual conversations can lead to such problematic behaviors as stereotyping, cross-cultural mistrust and misunderstanding.
Intergroup Relations (IGR) uses semi-structured, sustained, co-facilitated classroom interaction in order to help students use these tools recognize and interrupt internal assumptions and destructive conversational practices that prevent meaningful connections from happening. The courses hope to move students along the social justice continuum towards greater allyship and action . This panel will detail how an IGR program was established on one campus and then illustrate how the model could be adapted for different majors and colleges within the college community.
The panel will begin with a presentation of the four-stage model of an IGR program first developed by the University of Michigan and adapted for a smaller University that uses trained faculty and staff facilitators. The first presenter will then detail the politics and pedagogy required to create the program. Next, a panelist will talk about the design and implementation of an IGR course. Through example and anecdote, several outcomes of recent IGR sessions on race will be presented. The third presenter will discuss how the model can be adapted to meet the needs of professional schools. It is not unusual to hear faculty from professional schools note that it is difficult to add class materials to the curriculum because there are so many requirements to be fulfilled. Specifically, this presenter will talk about unique IGR offerings that designed for students in Nursing, Public Administration, and Law. Finally, the fourth presenter will talk about an innovative curricular design that embeds IGR in established courses. An IGR facilitator works with the course instructor to embed discussions and exercises relevant to the course. Frequently, faculty note that it is difficult to engage classes in discussion about topics related to social identities such as race, gender, socio-economics and sexual orientation. In this design, the instructor presents the course material and the IGR facilitator assists in engaging the class in deep discussion/dialogue.
Following the presentations, time will be allotted for questions from the audience. At the conclusion of the presentation handouts of IGR model, and several IGR classroom exercises and references will be made available to audience members.
Teaching about research ethics by pointing to some of the issues surrounding Autism scholarship (F6C)
Judith Newman (Penn State, Abington)
After many decades of teaching and writing about research ethics, especially about violations of basic ethical principles (i.e., autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence, justice, fidelity, veracity, and integrity) in research with children, I am now incorporating a new thread concerning ethical violations in the work of some of the major researchers of Autism. New evidence connects Hans Asperger to the Nazi regime’s childhood “euthanasia” program in the early 1940’s. Ethical issues of a different type also surround two other physicians whose names are highly associated with Autism, Leo Kanner and Andrew Wakefield. The harmful effects of all such ethical violations will be discussed (i.e., harming patients, not giving appropriate credit to predecessors, and fabricating data). The issue of eponym honorings will also be discussed and specifically whether the Asperger name should continue to be attached to the Syndrome. The possibility of involving this year’s students in the Psychological and Social Science major at Penn State Abington in efforts to actively remove Asperger’s name will conclude the presentation.
Humanities Beyond Bars: A Collaborative Approach to Prison Ethics Education (F7B)
Nate W. Olson (California State University, Bakersfield) and Michael D. Burroughs (California State University, Bakersfield)
In this session, the two directors of our campus’s ethics institute will describe a core part of our ethics institute’s community outreach programming: an initiative we call Humanities Beyond Bars. Humanities Beyond Bars (HBB) is a multi-faceted initiative aimed at raising awareness and addressing pressing ethical issues related to incarceration in our region. This work is especially important for our community and campus given the presence of twelve prisons in our region and high rates of incarceration. HBB includes campus and public-facing speakers, such as Angela Davis and Gregory Boyle; Ethics Bowl debates and philosophy seminars for incarcerated students within local prisons (led by ethics institute directors and affiliate faculty members); joint events with Project Rebound, a campus organization for previously incarcerated students; and monthly planning meetings for faculty, staff, and community members interested in addressing ethical and educational issues related to incarceration.
Presenters will describe the incremental development and organization of this program, including forming connections with campus and community partners, collaborating with local prisons, and securing resources to support the program. Presenters will place a special focus on the interdisciplinary aspects of the program and faculty participation from disciplines including Criminal Justice, Philosophy, and Political Science. Importantly, presenters will also discuss challenges faced in developing this initiative, both in working within the incarceration system and as faced in public challenges to elements of our initiative. Taken in all, this session will be instructive for those interested in working with incarcerated students and developing sustainable initiatives to do so.
Archival Transcription to Fight Erasure: Students Fighting Oppression (F7C)
William Parkhurst, University of South Florida
The contributions of black women have been systematically erased from the history of feminism and philosophy giving the impression that intersectionality is new phenomenon of third wave feminism. When students interact with the work of Sojourner Truth they see that intersectional perspectives are clearly evident as early as 1851. Mary Church Terrell gives a first hand account of how she was asked to speak at a first wave feminist conference. Originally she was asked to represent the perspective of black women. However, as the conference drew closer she was asked to speak only as a women without regard to race. This provides students with a first hand account of how erasure works.
Historically, resources have not been spent on curating and preserving the important contributions of women of color or investing in access to that work. One way we can fight both the intentional and systematic erasure of women of color is transcribe their work to make it more accessible for scholars. We can do this by assigning students transcribe, via crowd sourced programs, the archival documents women of color in the history of feminism and philosophy.
In doing so, the students, (1) get actual experience transcribing archival documents, (2) are able to engage with source archival research about the author we are learning about, and (3) help to solve the very problem of erasure which we are addressing. They not only learn about the historical and philosophical problem of erasure but conduct practical work that addresses this problem while learning a valuable skill set.
Cultivating Ethical Family Members, Not Just Citizens and Workers (S9C)
Elizabeth Pierce (Mars Hill University)
American institutions of higher education usually embrace a dual mission: 1) formation of citizens for public life and 2) preparation of workers for economic productivity. Above and beyond these foci, should universities concern themselves with students’ preparation for a third sphere of human activity, namely, family life? If so, what forms should such interventions take?
These questions—while relevant to educators of any college student population—are especially important for educators of first generation students. As Cia Verschelden points out in Bandwidth Recovery, college may particularly strain first generation students’ connections to their families of origin. College presents challenges (student loan forms, unpaid internships) and opportunities (jobs, income, and social networks) foreign to family members. Hence, students may feel “academic success distances [them] from a life [they] loved, even from [their] own memory of [themselves]” (Richard Rodriguez, “The Achievement of Desire).
This paper sketches an answer to the question of why and how ethics educators should equip students, especially first generation students, for family life. First, it argues that there are intrinsic links between a person’s roles as a citizen, as a worker, and as a family member. Second, it observes some of the ways ethics curricula inevitably impact students’ relationships with family, for instance by introducing them to new concepts of authority, autonomy, loyalty, care, gender roles, etc. Third, it introduces 2-3 pedagogical practices that empower students to reflect on and make intentional choices regarding the impact of their college experiences on their family relationships.
The Validity of Transracialism (S10C)
Samantha Priest, graduate student (University of Mississippi)
Transracialism became viral in 2015 when the media found out that Rachel Dolezal had posed as a black woman for years while she was actually white and claimed to have done so because she was transracial. Dolezal eventually changed her name to Nkechi Amare Diallo due to the controversy. It is held that her actions caused injustice to the black community. Rebecca Tuvel wrote “In Defense of Transracialism” in response to the Diallo case, and was publicly shamed online for suggesting that arguments for transgenderism logically lead to accepting transracialism as a valid identity (2017). Diallo was charged with using white privilege to gain from programs meant to advance the black community. Critics of Diallo deny her transracial identity on the grounds that she is not part of the historical social construction of the black racial identity. That is, she is not connected to the historical experiences of black people in America (Alasdair MacIntyre 2007). If her identity is accepted, then those past historical experiences are believed to be invalidated (Ann Furgeson 1996). Following Tuvel, I argue that accepting transracialism as a valid identity does not discount those past experiences. This is not to say that Diallo, specifically, should be accepted. In fact, it may be the case that hers is not a true case of personal identity but instead a con meant for personal gain. However, transracialism, like transgenderism, should be accepted on the grounds that personal identity should not be politically or socially controlled.
Greed in Children and Adults (S9C)
Michael Pritchard (Western Michigan University)
Greed in children is viewed with strongly disapproving eyes by parents, other adults, and even other children. Taking more than one’s fair share, more than one needs, often selfishly at the expense of others, is discouraged. Yet, greed in the adult world is viewed by many as sometimes necessary if a society is to prosper. This would seem to raise a serious developmental question which has not received sufficient attention. How is this transition in attitude from wholesale disapproval in childhood to its acceptance in adulthood to be facilitated without incurring moral damage or loss in those who succeed in making it? Or, can it be argued that no such transition is required, as greed in the adult world no more acceptable than greed in childhood?
Economist Milton Friedman and his followers side with the defenders of adult greed. Many cite Adam Smith’s views about the importance of self-interest in business relations as supporting greed. But, Smith actually advocated the need for fairness and mutual trust among buyers and sellers. These two moral values, he thought, provide ample moral space for self-interested economic pursuits without making it necessary to make room for greed. If Smith is right about this, it is unnecessary for children to modify their rejection of greed as they move into the adult world. This paper will side with Smith on this matter.
From Heroes and Holidays to Fairness and Opportunity: Shifting Multicultural Education Towards Equity (R3B)
Luca Poxon, undergraduate student (Swarthmore College)
Research shows that teachers think of “multicultural education” in terms of diversity, not equity. This framing leaves schools stuck at Banks’ lower levels of education, with “higher” levels such as solidarity and critique or social action seen as exceptional or radical. However, these latter types of multicultural education are not radical. In fact, they are the only complete way to teach because they address power, equity, and opportunity, issues that are just as fundamental to the human experience as the nebulous “culture” that is so often the focus of “multicultural education.” Educators must move away from a culture-focused curriculum, which simply serves as a diversion from discussions of equity and fairness, towards one that centers these challenging but critical conversations. To do this, teacher education programs must reframe multicultural education so that equity isn’t seen as radical. Teachers must critically consider the narratives presented in the history curriculum and literature they teach; learn to lead discussions on identity, fairness, and opportunity; and be willing to reshape the interpersonal classroom environment by connecting to their students’ diverse identities and lived experiences.
Ethical Power (F4C)
Wade Robison (Rochester Institute of Technology)
We are used to thinking of ethics only in terms of rights and duties. As Kant claims, ‘To have moral worth an action must be done from duty,’ and Mill argues that our duty is to promote happiness. Neither recognizes any other kind of ethical relation, and yet we cannot be moral agents with the duties they claim we have without being empowered as a moral agent.
We can get a sense of how we are all empowered by considering a legal example Wesley Hohfeld uses. Suppose someone stops for the night at an inn. The traveler is asking for a room, and the question is whether the innkeeper has a duty to provide the traveler with a room since the innkeeper has ‘a public calling.’ Yet if we limit ourselves to rights and duties, the only way of creating a duty on the part of the innkeeper to the traveler would be for the legislature to impose a duty on the innkeeper, thereby creating a right on the part of the traveler to be a guest. That makes the traveler’s right a function of the legislature’s imposing a duty, and Hohfeld argues that understanding the issue in that way would short-circuit the legal issues involved. The innkeeper does not have a duty because of the legislature, but because the traveler ‘has the legal power, by making proper application and sufficient tender, to impose a duty on the innkeeper to receive him as a guest.’ The traveler has an independent status as an agent to create a right by imposing a duty on the innkeeper. The difference is crucial, legally and ethically.
We need only think of how difficult it was for African Americans to travel in this country before desegregation empowered them to create duties on innkeepers — or any who owned or managed motels and hotels. African Americans had no power before to create such a duty. What desegregation did was not to impose a duty on the innkeeper, but to empower African Americans, and there is an enormous ethical difference between the two. Imposing a duty changes the innkeeper’s relations, forcing the innkeeper to accept African American travelers. Empowering African Americans recognizes them as agents, a recognition with profound implications legally and ethically. It puts them in a position of power over the innkeeper and accords them the respect all people deserve.
This example gives us a sense of how empowering, as it were, the power/liability relation can be for individuals and for our understanding of the ethical issues involved in such cases. Individuals need to be empowered to be able to create rights and duties, and they cannot be moral agents without being empowered. The power/liability relation is a necessary condition for moral agency as well as for the right/duty relation.
Failing to recognize the power/liability relation will prevent us from understanding the sorts of ethical problems that arise because of individuals being empowered. A prosecuting attorney is empowered to bring charges, but they have discretion about whom to charge and with what. As the prosecuting attorneys in Alabama have just made clear, they do not intend to charge anyone under the new abortion law passed there. They are exercising their discretion, a discretion that comes with being empowered -- and a discretion that, when abused, leads to ethical problems.
Killing Races and Witches (S11A)
Stephen Scales (Towson University)
Biologically, race is a myth. This can be seen in many different ways (e.g., the fact that greater genetic diversity exists within so-called “races” than between them, the impossibility of “individuating” racial classifications, and the arbitrary nature of the number of races we are supposed to believe exist). But if the concept of a race is biologically nonreferential, like the concept of a witch, then doesn’t it quite clearly follow that we ought to eliminate it from our lives immediately (i.e., stop asking about it on government forms, stop talking about it in political discussions, stop studying it in our departments of sociology, etc.)? After all, giving up “witch-talk” makes all of us (especially women who might be mistaken as witches and hanged or burned at the stake) better off. Races and witches and celestial spheres and caloric fluid are not ontologically real, but each of them had a social existence of no little consequence. Because of their very limited social diffusion, celestial spheres and caloric fluid were eliminated from our discourse within a few generations. They survive now only as cautionary tales about our own epistemic hubris. Although I am ultimately an eliminativist about racial classifications (and witches), I think that there are good reasons why the death of these concepts is not something that can be achieved in such short order. There is work to be done in killing races (and witches) and that work may take a great deal of time.
Du Bois and Washington, the Burdened Virtues, and Black Lives Matter (S10A)
Dylan Schmidtke, graduate student (University of Mississippi)
This paper proceeds in four parts and is intended to be explorative. Part one hashes out the positions of thinkers W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington, as models of the separatist and assimilationist positions, respectively, using them as an introduction to the struggles of liberation. Part two uses Lisa Tessman's "Burdened Virtues: Virtue Ethics for Liberatory Struggles" to highlight how loyalty and group membership are exercised during political activism and daily life under the two models. Part three, then, introduces and examines how the Black Lives Matter movement does and does not resemble the burdened virtues discussed prior. Finally, the thesis that the Black Lives Matter movement requires careful deliberative skill in knowing how to exercise either the separatist or assimilationist approach is advanced.
"Reasonable" Killing: An Ethical and Jurisprudential Discussion of Deadly Force in American Policing (F7A)
Jacob Schriner-Briggs (Yale Law School)
Deadly force in American policing is a subject of grave importance. Killings by individuals bearing the imprimatur of the State must be scrutinized on moral grounds. What more, legal doctrine that legitimizes such action in any ostensibly free society ought to conform to defensible philosophical justifications. Using these premises as a foundation, this paper will examine two Supreme Court Fourth Amendment decisions, Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1 (1985) and Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386 (1989), which govern the use of deadly force by police officers. Specifically, I will first present two philosophical theories of self-defense, rights forfeiture and forced consequences. I will then discuss the aforementioned cases, as well as the prevalence of the force they condone and the racial disparities attendant to it. Finally, I will apply the theories of rights forfeiture and forced consequences to the legal doctrine, demonstrating its failure to meet the normative standards espoused by both.
Improving Moral Reasoning in Engineers (F5A)
Marcus Schultz-Bergin (Cleveland State University)
This paper discusses the design and implementation of a new Engineering Ethics curriculum at Cleveland State University. The central aim of the curriculum was to help engineering and computer science students develop their moral reasoning skills. Two main interventions were introduced to achieve this aim: (1) the use of a Principlist ethical framework, common in bioethics; and (2) the use of the Team-Based Learning instructional strategy.
The Principlist framework provided students with a common vocabulary and method of moral reasoning which has been shown to be imminently practical in other fields, and which some have begun to extend to engineering. The framework has the benefit of making clear that ethical decision making often involves conflicting values, thus encouraging students to recognize the value of diverse viewpoints for working through these conflicts.
The Team-Based Learning instructional strategy is focused on using the majority of class time for students to work together on complex issues, applying course concepts, to defend a recommendation. In Engineering Ethics this generally involved case studies which students worked through together, using the Principlist framework. This approach meant that students received a significant amount of practice actually engaging in moral reasoning and collective decision-making.
The results of this curriculum change were quite positive. Students reported significantly greater enjoyment of the course while their ability to construct arguments and defend their positions was also substantially improved over the traditional curriculum.
While the most immediate value of this discussion is for others teaching engineering ethics or similar courses, many parts of the implementation can be extended to a variety of practical ethics courses and beyond.
Ethics and Morals: An Ungrounded, Functional, and Risky Distinction (R2A)
Abraham Schwab (Purdue University Fort Wayne)
In my Ethics Across the Curriculum lectures in classes in Education, Public Policy, Engineering, Psychology, Biology, and Organizational Leadership, I often try to help students recognize the difference between what they believe they should do in light of their personal, often religious, beliefs, and what individuals should do independent of their particular religious or personal beliefs.
Straightforward historical analyses of the terms “ethics” and “morals” and their common usage suggests that they are not meaningfully different. Despite this, students have reported finding them useful for distinguishing the norms they set for their own behavior and the norms they would think of as more generally required.
Making use of this distinction carries a couple of risks. First, it sets up a separate language game parallel to students’ current and future experiences within the broader culture and even within their profession. Does setting up and solidifying this distinction risk confusion more than clarification?
Second, and perhaps more importantly, using this distinction assumes a certain worldview regarding the distinction between personal and public ethics. This assumed worldview has been challenged by groups on both the right and left sides of the political spectrum. Additionally, the integration of this distinction into institutional structures has led to the measurable harms of moral distress. Is it a service to students to draw and thereby maintain a controversial and potentially harmful distinction?
Moving beyond bias to the praxis of equity: Models for instruction and professional development (F6B)
Dominic Scibilia (Felician University), Jeremiah Kalir (University of Colorado at Denver), Kirk Johnson (Seton Hall University), and Nancy Johnson James (Alemeda County Office of Education)
Nancy James,MFA, Education Specialist, San Leandro Unified School District and Faculty, Alameda County Office of Education - Integrated Learning Specialist Program.
The impact of bias: whose humanity we honor and whose humanity we ignore
The intent behind the model lesson and activity in this paper is to influence the extent to which the personal values of teachers and students are actively engaged in actions, reactions and choices. The challenge is that teachers and students will explore how personal and social biases can distort the expression of many of the highest human values. Students and teachers will participate in deep and challenging thinking about whose humanity we honor and whose we ignore. (Cited from Choosing freely, forthcoming in Integrating ethics across the high school curriculum (Volume 3 - Teaching ethics across the American educational experience, Rowman and Littlefield, 2020)
Jeremiah H. Kalir, University of Colorado Denver and Joe Dillon, Aurora Public Schools
Educators discussing ethics, equity, and literacy through collaborative annotation
If educators - across grade levels and disciplines - are to teach about ethical digital literacy practices, they must seek out, and then participate in, ethically oriented professional learning. Through ongoing participation, educators must practice digital literacy in professional learning that explores and debates ethical issues. An ethical stance toward digital literacy cannot solely be concerned with the development of technical skills. Rather, any stance toward ethical digital literacy must cultivate social dispositions toward equity and encourage critical political agency. (cited from Educators discussing ethics, equity, and literacy through collaborative annotation. Forthcoming in Ethical dimensions in teaching digital literacy (Volume 2 - Teaching ethics across the American educational experience, Rowman and Littlefield, 2020)
Kirk Johnson, Instructor, Philosophy and Religious Studies Seton Hall University and former Assistant Director, Medical Humanities at Drew University
Implementing racial equity training in the medical school curriculum.
Historical and social competency about race is an important quality doctors need to adequately interact with and diagnose minority patients. Unfortunately, racial equity training is a scarce resource in medical schools. Consequently, implicit bias and microaggressions are realities that compromise non-maleficence between minority patients and doctors. An efficient solution is for medical schools is to reconstruct curriculum to include race equity focused pedagogy as core requirements to alleviate implicit bias and microaggressions within patient-physician interactions. (cited from Implementing racial equity training in the medical school curriculum. Forthcoming in Ethics in Health Care (Volume 5 - Teaching ethics across the American educational experience, Rowman and Littlefield, 2020)
Dr. Dominic Scibilia, Convener of the Panel
Creating a More Just and Liberatory Classroom: Bringing Ira Shor’s ‘Critical Pedagogy’ in conversation with Bettina L. Love’s ‘Abolitionist Teaching' (R3A)
Kristyn Sessions (Villanova University)
At a time of renewed political discussion around reparations for slavery and high visibility for movements such as Black Lives Matter, racial injustice is no longer a topic we can or should ignore within the classroom. Yet, rather than solely focusing on how to teach on discrete events and issues, scholars such as Bettina L. Love and Ira Shor encourage us to think more critically about how educational policies and classroom practices contribute to, and might instead contest, larger societal patterns of injustice and exclusion. In this paper, I place Love’s recently published We Want to Do More than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom in conversation with Shor’s seminal When Students Have Power: Negotiating Authority in a Critical Pedagogy (1996). In particular, I draw on Love’s robust account of the ‘educational survival complex’ adopted by many students of color as they persist in a system shaped by racial injustice to refine the empowering classroom strategies Shor presents in When Students Have Power, informed by his time with predominately white, working-class college students.
Weaving together Love’s keen understanding of racism and structural injustice with Shor’s strong pedagogical instincts, this paper investigates how we might create a more just and liberatory classroom today.
Revisiting Syllabi: A Workshop on the Ethical Issues in Creating Anti-Racist Courses (R1B)
Rachel Skrlac Lo (Villanova University), Edwin Mayorga (Swarthmore College), and Jalil Mutaffa Bishhop (University of Pennsylvania)
For this session, we propose a 45-60 minute workshop on creating anti-racist syllabi. The purpose of this workshop is to build awareness of systemic biases that present particular ways of knowing as official or authoritative, often perpetuated through institutionalized practices. We employ an intersectional analysis as a means to examine the complexity of identity and to mediate “the tension between assertions of multiple identity categories and the ongoing necessity of group politics” (Crenshaw, 1991, p. 1296). Through an intersectional analysis, we can examine the relationships between identity categories (e.g., race, class, gender, sex, religion) and interactions. Drawing from Hancock’s (2007) domains of power approach to intersectional analysis, we consider where intersectional power is perpetuated through syllabus design: interpersonal, disciplinary, structural, and hegemonic.
By analyzing features of syllabi, including content and design, participants will become aware of the complexity of creating anti-racist classrooms. Using a critical literacy framework (Janks, 2010), participants will first deconstruct syllabi to make visible power dynamics embedded in these texts. To do this, we will work to explore the questions:
- Whose voices are included?
- Whose voices are privileged, and how is this privilege conferred?
- How does syllabus design and layout affect pedagogy and student engagement?
We will then work together to redesign syllabi. This is a hands-on opportunity to review, revise, and respond to a range of undergraduate-level and graduate-level syllabi. Participants will leave the workshop with a deeper understanding of the ethical implications of syllabus design and have practical tools to improve their own syllabi.
By The People, For the People: The Dangers of Racial Erasure in Color-Blind Casting (F4A)
Melissa Sturges, graduate student (Villanova University)
The work of William Shakespeare has long held an aura of pretention, yet he is undeniably a critical global writer. When we think of Shakespeare it is easy to fall into pretenses of high renaissance drama, but a more contemporary analysis reads into the cultural nuance of each text, revealing intricately developed characters that cross-cultural boundaries. Moreover, dramaturgical follow up to contemporary productions of Shakespeare’s work can produce casting mechanisms that allow for a much greater understanding of the roles of race, ethnicity and culture as it relates to the work in the context of the era it was written in as well as the them or concept of the production at hand. With the idea that, not only does Shakespeare speak a universal language that can be decoded across racial boundaries, but that his work can be fully integrated into other cultures, I intend to explore the thematic resonance of Shakespeare’s major body of work, with a focal point on how specific productions have used the universality of the text to address intersectional issues, in some ways that are positive and in some that are unintentionally regressive. At the forefront, this paper will analyze the ethics of color-conscious versus color-blind casting philosophies when it comes to producing work originally intended to be performed by a cast of white men. I intend to argue that the shift to color-conscious casting in modern theatrical practice demonstrates a positive move not only towards inclusivity in the theater, but of understanding the ways in which race is performative both on stage and off.
What would John Stuart Mill Do? Applying a Millian Security Principles model to interrogating race, fear, hatred, fear, and violence (S10D)
Philip Todd (University of Oklahoma)
Though perennially considered among the most influential philosophical contributions to Western culture, the thought of John Stuart Mill has attracted increasing criticism during the past half-century for some of his Eurocentric stances that seem at odds with his overall exposition of Utilitarian ethics. However, recent scholarship – especially concentrated around the 2006 bicentennial of his birth, and the 2013 sesquicentennial of his book, Utilitarianism – has surfaced more nuanced and progressive aspects of his approach, especially his concern with justice and community as defining elements of the common good. For example, some scholars point to his forward-thinking defense of the rights of women, and his open acknowledgement of the contributions of his wife, Harriet, as suggesting that, had he known a more diverse group of thinkers from non-European backgrounds, he would similarly have been more inclusive and less Eurocentric in some of his claims. Building on this recent research, a deep reading of Utilitarianism yields five Millian Security Principles, based on his identification of security as the most essential common good, and offers a dozen guiding questions for interrogating issues of social conflict, violence, justice, and ethical responses. This study adapts these five principles from their initial application to war coverage and redirects them to questions of race-based hate crimes, particularly to the Charleston church attack, and seeks to identify the fear-based security claims that often fuel such actions. Further, the five Millian Security Principles model suggests several avenues for framing dialogue that might significantly confront and redirect some of that fear.
Making Rawls' Law of Peoples More Rawlsian: Thickening the Veil, Revising the Law, and Including the Non-Well-Ordered (F6A)
Jacob Tomory, undergraduate student (Youngstown State University)
In The Law of Peoples, Rawls’ argues for an international version of the original position in which representatives of peoples select principles of international justice to govern them. He argues that they would not select an international version of the difference principle. In this paper, I argue that in a properly circumscribed international original position, the parties would select an international version of the difference principle. I begin by describing Rawls’ position and granting many of his premises. From there, I break with Rawls and argue for a modified version of the international original position in which the parties do not have knowledge of their domestic conceptions of justice. Next, I argue that in this modified international original position, the parties, lacking knowledge of their domestic conceptions of justice, would engage in maximin reasoning and adopt an international conception of primary goods. Then I argue that while many of these primary goods can be guaranteed with the eight principles of international justice endorsed by Rawls, others, such as wealth, require an international version of the difference principle. Consequently, it is rational for the parties to adopt such a principle. Finally, I conclude by addressing one of Rawls’ arguments against an international version of the difference principle.
Talking About Affirmative Action (F4B)
John Uglietta (Grand Valley State University)
Affirmative action seems to present an excellent issue to raise in ethics classes, especially in a university setting. Questions related to the treatment of race are currently at the forefront of discussion in the US. Affirmative action directly affects the students themselves, and many of them have strong opinions on the issue. However, while some views on affirmative action characterize the issue as a fairly straightforward moral issue, it can be a mistake to see the issue in this light. I will suggest that, in the way people commonly experience it, affirmative action can present a number of features that complicate the issue. These features raise questions about political and legal theory that are sometimes overlooked or pushed to the side. However, some of the most powerful arguments about affirmative action rely on political and legal views that run counter to, or at least call into question, common views of politics and law. Without investigating these issues, one cannot adequately appreciate the competing views of affirmative action. I will attempt to identify and sort out some of the relevant moral, political, and legal issues involved in arguments for and against affirmative action. While we cannot expect students in introductory ethics classes to be familiar with philosophical issues in these areas, we should not over-simplify the question raised. Rather we should use the occasion to broaden the discussion and introduce these areas to students and to show the scope and difficulty of some practical ethical questions.
Stoic Revival and 2019 Racist Immigration Policy (S9A)
Edgar Velez (Columbus State Community College)
Our cultures enrich us and limit us. The three fathers of our Western philosophical tradition lived in a racist society. The three pioneers were able to overcome the limits of an ethics based on the deities of Homer and provided us with an ethical tradition based on virtue and rationality that remains as the basis for ethical living for many. They were not able to overcome the racism of their culture. The stoics, who came into the picture in the early years after Aristotle’s death, overcame those limits and and gave us gave us the concept of a human nature we all share. In Western civilization this belief blended well theoretically with the Judeo-Christian belief that all humans are created in the image and likeness of God.
Moving forward to the present, we give lip service to the claim of equality of all humans but continue to violate it in practice. There is some recognition that some restorative justice should be given to the descendants of native Americans who were displaced from their lands and the black slaves, but none for the Mexicans whose lands also were seize. I will argue that the current immigration laws of the United States, particularly the treatment of most of the Mexican immigrants, is racist and a more flexible immigration policy is only the beginning of a plan of restorative justice. I will use on historical data and arguments based on Aristotelian virtue ethics bolstered by the core belief that all humans are equal.
Is Faculty Diversity an Ethical Issue? (F6D)
Ruth Washington, Kareem Rogers, and Elsa Gonzalez (Kent State University)
In a July 2019 Inside Higher Ed article, Julian Vasquez Heilig, University of Kentucky incoming dean stated, “Despite concerted efforts, we really haven’t moved the needle that much in terms of ethno-racial and gender diversity. Especially when you consider the growing population of communities of color in the United States.” Colleges and universities have been pursuing faculty diversity for half a century. The literature is replete with evidence-based research on the significance of a diverse faculty. We asked the question “As the country becomes more diverse has diversifying the professoriate proposes an ethical dilemma?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, of all full-time faculty in degree-granting postsecondary institutions in fall 2016, 41 percent were White males; 35 percent were White females; 6 percent were Asian/Pacific Islander males; 4 percent were Asian/Pacific Islander females; 3 percent each were Black males, Black females, and Hispanic males; and 2 percent were Hispanic females. Those who were American Indian/Alaska Native made up 1 percent or less of full-time faculty in these institutions. Even more shocking is the number of these individuals who are tenured or tenure track. A 2016 Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA) Institute study reported that only 10 % of people holding all tenured positions come from these backgrounds.
The analysis will argue that the nation’s resistance to diversifying the faculty equates to under preparedness for entering students and thereby creating an ethical dilemma in colleges and universities.
Am I a Racist? Teaching Racism in an Age of Denial (S9B)
Mark William Westmoreland, graduate student (Villanova University)
As a teacher I’m concerned with how to encourage students to reflect on their experiences of racism without having them shut down too quickly out of fear or defensiveness. In this presentation I describe my methodology and troubleshoot some the problems I’ve encountered. I begin by having students silently reflect on their own experiences of perpetuating and/or being the victim of racism before openly exploring several racial scenarios that illustrate the breath of usage that “racism” has and ask (a) does this scenario exemplify racism, (b) what precisely is racist about this scenario, (c) were you consistent with the criteria used in each scenario. Using excerpts from George Yancy, Naomi Zack, and Lawrence Blum, I then show that how we define racism various too much—was the racist phenomenon explicit-it, implicit, avert, direct, indirect, individual, institutional, cultural, ethnocentric, and/or xen-phobic—and our definition needs to be clearly expressed with our interlocutors. In short, I want students to question whether racism is a matter of the heart, actions, or consequences. Next, keeping students’ personal lives at a distance, I foster a group discussion of institutional racism in contexts of racial profiling, redlining, and environmental racism and later of quotidian individual racism. One of my goals is to address whether students have a workable definition of racism and whether they consistently utilize that definition across a variety of ex-amplest. Students are required to submit an anonymous write-up that, bringing their personal lives into focus, (a) gives a definition of racism, (b) provides a personal reflection on their consistency across examples and an application to their own beliefs, thoughts, speech, and actions, (c) assesses the extent to which they’re view of racism has changed. My hope is to give students tools for having a conversation not about who is a racist but whether what someone said or did was racist. Of all our applied ethics topics, this is the one that students repeatedly say was most constructive and beneficial to their daily lives.
The Importance of Teaching Africana Philosophies: Challenges and Possibilities - Moving Theory to Practice (S8C)
Joan Whitman Hoff (Lock Haven University)
This paper will focus on some of the reasons why African Philosophies must be integrated into the curriculum. It will also address some of the pedagogical considerations that must be made in teaching Africana Philosophy (and, perhaps, Africana Studies in general) as a stand-alone course or in the context of other courses (across the curriculum.) While Africana Philosophy, like other courses, is best taught by a scholar in that specific area, it is clear that smaller public universities, and other institutions, do not have such scholars or offer such courses of study. Many of those institutions thus have student populations that are not given the opportunity to learn about such important subject matter and are thus not exposed to the rich and stimulating ideas and practices of Africana intellectual traditions. What, then, can and should be done in order to deliver courses that students are sorely missing, ones that can contribute to their understanding of the world and what it means to be a human being in the world? Why should institutions and faculty feel compelled to offer such courses? Who can, and should, accept the challenge?
These and other questions will be addressed in light of a personal yet professional reflection on the ways in which universities can and should contribute to the development of informed citizens of the world through the inclusion of Africana thought throughout the curriculum with a view toward securing a better understanding of the historical and philosophical assumptions underlying much of what is learned in the ‘academy.’ Moreover, speaker-audience dialogue is encouraged in an attempt to determine some of the best pedagogical approaches that can be utilized in the development of such programs and courses.
Domestic Terrorism, Racism, and White Supremacy: An Anticipatory Ethical Analysis (F5C)
Richard Wilson (Towson University)
In contrast to international terrorism, domestic terrorism is perpetrated by individuals and/or groups inspired by or associated with primarily U.S.-based movements that espouse extremist ideologies of a political, religious, social, racial, or environmental nature.
--for example, the June 8, 2014 Las Vegas shooting, during which two police officers inside a restaurant were killed in an ambush-style attack, which was committed by a married couple who held anti-government views and who intended to use the shooting to start a revolution.
Racism is the belief in the superiority of one race over another. It may also include prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against other people because they are of a different race or ethnicity, or the belief that members of different races or ethnicities should be treated differently. Modern variants of racism are often based in social perceptions of biological differences between peoples. These views can take the form of social actions, practices or beliefs, or political systems in which different races are ranked as inherently superior or inferior to each other, based on presumed shared inheritable traits, abilities, or qualities
White supremacy or white supremacism is the racist belief that white people are superior to people of other races and therefore should be dominant over them. White supremacy has roots in scientific racism, and it often relies on pseudoscientific arguments. Like most similar movements such as neo-Nazism, white supremacists typically oppose members of other races as well as Jews.
The term is also typically used to describe a political ideology that perpetuates and maintains the social, political, historical, or institutional domination by white people (as evidenced by historical and contemporary sociopolitical structures such as the Atlantic slave trade, Jim Crow laws in the United States, the set of White Australia policies from the 1890s until the mid-1970s, and apartheid in South Africa. Different forms of white supremacism put forth different conceptions of who is considered white, and different groups of white supremacists identify various racial and cultural groups as their primary enemy.
This analysis will focus on the connection between the 3 themes above and identify ethical issues at the center of domestic terrorism through this examination. An anticipatory ethical analysis will then be employed as the basis for developing policy related to addressing to current issues related to domestic terrorism
KKK Narratives and Master Narrative of Racial Hate: An Anticipatory Ethical Analysis (R2C)
Richard Wilson (Towson University)
The Ku Klux Klan has occupied an important role in the social and political life of Americans since its inception following the American civil war. The Ku Klux Klan commonly called the KKK or the Klan, is an American white supremacist hate group. The Klan has existed in three distinct eras at different points in time during the history of the United States. Each has advocated extremist reactionary positions such as white nationalism, anti-immigration and—especially in later iterations—Nordicism and anti-Catholicism. Historically, the Klan used terrorism—both physical assault and murder—against groups or individuals whom they opposed. All three movements have called for the "purification" of American society and all are considered right-wing extremist organizations.[ In each era, membership was secret and estimates of the total were highly exaggerated by both friends and enemies.
This analysis will focus on the narratives and master narrative of the KKK. Since the founding of the KKK in the late 1860’s there have been 2 other resurgences of the organization. The 2nd resurgence of the KKK flourished nationwide in the early and mid-1920s, The 3rd and current manifestation of the KKK emerged after 1950, In one respect there is a master narrative of the KKK that is common to all 3 iterations of the KKK but each iteration also exhibits its own unique sub narrative.
What has been referred to as “the narrative turn” amounts to, “uncoupling themes of narratives from theories of the novel and shifting scholarly attention from a particular genre of literary writing to all discourse (or, in an even wider interpretation, all semiotic activities) that can be narratively organized.” (Hermann, Basic elements of narrative, p. 24).
“In the narratological framework, narrators can be concerned as a communication process in which information about the story level Jakobson is conveyed by a particular kind of narrative to a particular kind of narratee.” (Hermann, Basic elements of narrative, p. 64-65).
This analysis will identify the narratives and master narrative of racial hate projected by the KKK and identify the ethical issues with these narratives. An anticipatory ethical will be employed to develop strategies for countering these narratives.
Hate Speech, Inflammatory Speech, Dangerous Speech, Race, and Domestic Terrorism: An Anticipatory Ethical Analysis (S10C)
Richard Wilson (Towson University), Ion Iftimie (Central European University), and Michele Iftimie (Formerly USCYBERCOM)
Hate Speech is abusive or threatening speech or writing that expresses prejudice against a particular group, especially on the basis of race, religion, or sexual orientation. Hate speech in the United States is not regulated, in contrast to that of most other liberal democracies. The U. S. Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that hate speech is legally protected free speech under the First Amendment.. The most recent Supreme Court case on the issue was in 2017, when the justices unanimously reaffirmed that there is effectively no "hate speech" exception to the free speech rights protected by the First Amendment.
Inflammatory Speech and Inflammatory language are a form of speech that is used with the intent to stir up emotions, elicit anger, or invoke a physical reaction. Name calling is one form, but the use is generally wider in scope, in the sense that it is used to attack, oppress, or denigrate groups of people, or focus hate or anger on a public figure.
In the early 2000s, Benesch noticed striking similarities in the rhetoric that political leaders in many countries have used, during the months and years before major violence broke out. Since such messages seem to have special power to inspire violence, we have studied them, in search of ways to diminish their effect and preserve peace. We call this category Dangerous Speech and have defined it as:
Any form of expression (e.g. speech, text, or images) that can increase the risk that its audience will condone or commit violence against members of another group.
Importantly, the definition refers to increasing the risk of violence, not causing it. We generally cannot know that speech caused violence, except when people are forced by others to commit violence under a credible threat of being killed themselves. People commit violence for many reasons, and there is no reliable way to find them all or to measure their relative importance. Often even the person who commits violence does not fully comprehend the reasons why. To say that speech is dangerous, then, is to make an educated guess about the effect that the speech is likely to have on other people.
This analysis is concerned with defining hate speech, inflammatory speech, and dangerous speech, examining how they are used by domestic terrorists to attack individuals based upon race. An anticipatory ethical analysis will be employed to draw conclusions about what needs to be done in order to mitigate domestic terrorist acts.
From "Minority" to "Minoritized": The Fluidity of Racial Identity and the Quest for Racial Justice in America (R1A)
Erik Wingrove-Haugland (U.S. Coast Guard Academy)
I recently served on my institution's "Equity Task Force," which recommended (among many other things) that we stop referring to "racial minorities" or "under-represented minorities" and refer instead to individuals who are "minoritized." While this initially seemed like a minor change, I have come to see it as a huge shift in perspective regarding racial identity, and a key to promoting racial justice. Calling someone a member of a "racial minority" views race as an attribute of that person, a characteristic they have that makes them a "minority" because most other people don't have that characteristic. Referring to someone as "minoritized," however, makes it clear that being a minority is something that has been done to them as a result of the context they are in, not the characteristics they have. African-Americans are minoritized at my (predominantly white) institution, but they are not minoritized at Lincoln University; white students are. Women in the U.S. have been minoritized, although they are a majority of the population. Using "minoritized" makes it clear that someone's identity as a minority (that is, who is a minority and who is not) changes depending on their context. It allows us to make sense of "intersectionality" as being a minoritized member of a minoritized group. Finally, it gives us a powerful tool to promote racial justice: almost everyone has had the experience of being minoritized at some point, and that experience can stimulate empathy for those who are currently being minoritized and treated unjustly in America.
Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl as a Pedagogical Tool (R1C)
Sandy Woodson (Colorado School of Mines)
The Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl (IEB) is a program sponsored by the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE). As the title indicates, IEB is designed as a competition for (undergraduate) students, where “teams argue and defend their moral assessment of some of the most troubling and complex ethical issues facing society today.” (https://appe-ethics.org/ethics-bowl/). The competition revolves around case studies, and many of the cases address American race and/or justice issues.
The Colorado School of Mines fielded its first Ethics Bowl team in 2014, and since then our approaches have evolved with respect to 1) preparing the team for competition, e.g., running a course vs. a student club; 2) experimenting with different ways to approach the cases themselves; and 3) exploring ways to use the IEB cases in a variety of courses.
This paper traces the trial and error process of using the IEB as an organizing principle for teaching ethics, and the strengths and weaknesses of operating it as an extracurricular activity vs. a 1-credit hour free-elective course, vs. a 3-credit hour honors course in ethics. IEB has proved to be a powerful method to engage students in critical thinking and dialogue about complex issues. There are ongoing challenges, however, in using it as the foundation for a 3 credit-hour course. Thus, we have opted to offer a 1 credit-hour, free elective class, and continue to experiment with using the cases to supplement content in other courses. This presentation charts the trajectory of introducing IEB into the culture and classrooms at the Colorado School of Mines, sharing successes and challenges of the same.
Talent Development Programs Perpetuate Racial Injustice (S11A)
Claire Worthington Mills, graduate student (University of Georgia)
In the United States, about 7% of public-school children are considered to be ‘gifted and talented’ and participate in talent development programs; the attribution of innate talent potential is used to justify extra attention and resources given to these students. Participation in these programs has been statistically shown to have a substantial positive effect on the adult lives of the children chosen to participate, and thus it is important to ask if these programs are set up to distribute that benefit fairly.
A child’s abilities and potential displayed at the time of selection for these programs are to a great extent influenced by their family and environment. A child’s family provides them with a certain level of two important resources, money and attention. These two factors determine if a child has the opportunity for skill-development outside of the classroom; for example having enough food to concentrate during school hours, having opportunities to develop skills through hobbies, and how much a child is read to all require some amount of time or money from that child’s family. The fact that the amount of resources each child’s family is able to devote to that child varies can cause a corresponding variation in a child’s perceived abilities. If talent development programs make use of indicators that are in large part the result of a child’s economic privileges, then it seems to me that these programs are perpetuating injustice due to their selection process and the distribution of extra resources to those children who have already received more resources outside of school than their peers.
This problem is more specifically a racial justice issue, because of the comparative likelihood minority students are to experience these lower level of resource-access due to the institutionalized racism inherent to our basic structures of society towards minority adults, as well as the compounding factors of biases towards minority children such as lower expectations of ability and success. The existence of racial inequality in gifted programs is recognized by the National Association for Gifted Children, who estimate that African American, Hispanic American, and Native American students are underrepresented by at least 50%. My conclusion is that America’s large-scale use of gifted programs therefore reinforces existing racial inequalities, which results in a perpetuation of racial injustice in education and beyond.
Professional Responsibility in a Case of Noninformed Consent (S9D)
Daniel Wueste (Clemson University)
In a short piece, in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, Dr. Robert Sade presents a fictitious case involving what he calls “noninformed consent” (hereafter NIC). According to Sade, NIC is “a special case of uninformed consent” that occurs in a situation most surgeons have encountered, viz., a situation where “a patient wants a procedure done but refuses to hear the information that will ensure that the patient’s decision is informed.”
The patient in the case, R.E. Fyooznik, is a 75-year-old philosopher. Widowed 3 years ago, he is working “in semi-retirement…at State University, where he continues to be well-liked and respected as an outstanding teacher and mentor.” After he is “is found to have a heart murmur on routine physical examination” he is referred to a cardiologist, who, after tests reveal “severe degenerative mitral regurgitation,” refers him to Dr. Marcats, a cardiac surgeon, who determines that mitral valve surgery is indicated.
For consent to be valid, “medical ethics requires, and the law demands” that a patient be informed about the procedure and the risks involved. However, Fyooznik doesn’t want to know about the procedure; he says that “he knows he needs an operation, does not want to hear or read anything more”; he will sign the consent document. “The patient is asymptomatic, and the operation is not urgent, so Dr. Marcats tells Mr. Fyooznik that he will not commit to taking care of him, thanks him for coming, and asks his nurse to show the patient out.” Four years later Fyooznik has developed signs of heart failure and is once again referred to Marcats. The drill plays out in the same way: NIC. Marcat’s question is whether he should operate on Fyooznik.
The case presents an ethical dilemma the prongs of which involve algorithmic and conscientious concepts of professional responsibility. The former is legalistic, focusing on the conditions of valid consent; the latter is thoroughly ethical calling for a decision based on consideration of, for example, the reasons that consent is sought (e.g., to be sure one would be acting in accord with rather than against the will of the patient), and the related questions of whether a decision to decline information deserves respect as an exercise of autonomy, and whether it’s possible that the desiderata of ethically efficacious consent are satisfied by a patient’s having “consented while refusing all relevant information.” The paper argues for the conscientious concept of professional responsibility and an affirmative answer to Dr. Marcats’ question.
Implicit Professional Formation of Engineers: Making Visible the “Hidden Curriculum” of Engineering Ethics Education (F5A)
Qin Zhu and Dean Nieusma (Colorado School of Mines)
Dominant approaches to engineering ethics education often focus on the “explicit” curriculum that includes standalone ethics classes, ethics modules in technical classes, and rewritten technical assignments incorporating ethical concerns. Such explicit ethics curriculum components are expected to be designed (or “engineered”) with measurable student learning outcomes and assessed based on the extent to which these learning outcomes have been achieved. However, students come to understand ethics through both explicit and implicit messaging, both within and outside of the classroom. This paper advances a more holistic approach to studying how students develop their understandings of the ethical implications of engineering and its practice. Beyond the explicit curriculum, we suggest there exists an “implicit” or hidden curriculum in engineering education that contributes to students’ overall experience with ethics education. This curriculum is typically unintentional, unplanned, and less “controllable”: seemingly irrelevant to formal ethics education. Nevertheless, this hidden curriculum subtly yet powerfully communicates values and assumptions about engineering practice. The hidden nature of this curriculum makes it especially difficult to anticipate, estimate, and manage its impacts on students’ moral development. Drawing on an example from our research, one student reflected on his experience in an introduction to nuclear engineering course with rotating professors. When at various times in the term, different instructors were asked by students about whether a particular nuclear technology could be weaponized or how nuclear weaponization worked, the instructors responded consistently by laughing uncomfortably, making some general comments about nuclear weapons, and continuing their lessons without further reference to the question. As a set, these responses entailed a strong if implicit lesson: That such questions are beyond the scope of the course, perhaps beyond the scope of the curriculum, and, most acutely, outside the comfort zone of their own nuclear engineering professors. This paper draws on 18 semi-structured interviews with undergraduate engineering students to make visible how they experience the hidden curriculum of engineering ethics education. First, it teases out some of the typical locations and contexts within undergraduate engineering education where students experience this hidden ethics curriculum. Then, it discusses how such a hidden curriculum can shape student perceptions of the professional responsibility of engineers as well as broader social and ethical impacts of technology generally. We end by drawing out some implications of the study for guiding engineering ethics education research and practice.
 Cf. https://crowd.loc.gov/campaigns/mary-church-terrell-advocate-for-african-americans-and-women/