Category Archives: 2004

Is Honesty the Best Policy?

Jon Dorbolo
Oregon State University
May 6th, 2004, 3:00 to 5:00 pm
Stocker 192

oath1sAmerican culture certainly does not act as though honesty were the best policy. Whistle blowers and dissenting voices are routinely punished, while deceivers frequently thrive. It is even questionable whether complete honesty is possible given current social conditions. Yet, when viewed as a goal rather than a trait, complete and radical honesty is a genuine live human option. Is the honest option desirable? What does it require? This seminar will investigate the nature and values of honesty and various forms of dishonesty; such as lying, self-deception, and plagiarism.

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On Religious Toleration

On Religious Toleration
Thomas Christiano
University of Arizona
May 27th, 2004, 8:00 to 9:30 pm
Bentley 227

tchristiano_sThe ideal of religious toleration is one of the original inspirations for modern liberal democratic thought. And it is certainly one of the most urgent subjects we must think about today. Yet the reasons for religious toleration and its connection with liberal thought are not very well understood to this day. In this lecture, we will discuss the ethical ideas that have been traditionally thought to underpin religious toleration. These ideas fail to give a cogent rationale for much of what we think of as religious toleration. Once we have fully explored the puzzle of religious toleration, we will discuss some ways of making sense of it.

Thomas Christiano is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Law at the University of Arizona. He will be a Visiting Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford in the Fall of 2004. He is currently finishing a book on the foundations of democracy and constitutionalism. He has written a number of papers on issues of distributive justice, democratic theory and political moral philosophy. And he has published The Rule of the Many (Boulder: Westview Press, 1996).

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An Egalitarian Foundation for Liberal Rights

Thomas Christiano
University of Arizona
May 28th, 2004, 4:00 to 6:00 pm
Ellis 113

tchristiano_sIn this paper I explore the foundations of liberal rights such as freedom of association, freedom of expression, and freedom of conscience as well as those freedoms associated with the private pursuit of one’s own good. I discuss some alternative conceptions of liberal rights and I show how the best account of these liberal rights is one that founds them in an egalitarian principle of distributive justice. This is important for its own sake but also because the very same egalitarian principle is at the basis of the justification of democracy.

Thomas Christiano is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Law at the University of Arizona. He will be a Visiting Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford in the Fall of 2004. He is currently finishing a book on the foundations of democracy and constitutionalism. He has written a number of papers on issues of distributive justice, democratic theory and political moral philosophy. And he has published The Rule of the Many (Boulder: Westview Press, 1996).

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Proof in Science and Law: Gatekeeping Expert Testimony

Cassandra Pinnick
Western Kentucky University
October 14th, 2004, 7:00 to 8:30 pm
Walter 235

pinnickA practical application of that formal notion: proof, arises at the intersection of science and law. Courts of law depend upon expert testimony to adjudicate matters at trial. This dependency requires minimally that there be criteria by which a court may certify that an individual is an expert. And, as science plays a growing pivotal role in litigation, it is apparent that courts need standards of proof by which an additional, prior, question can be decided, namely: Is the very content of the expert testimony scientific? I consider how, if at all, the current state of the interaction between science and law, and the implications this has for public affairs, places any burden on philosophy.

Cassandra Pinnick, a California native born in Watts, completed her undergraduate degree in 1973, at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, in Philosophy with a minor in Mathematics. She practised law as a private practitioner from 1976 through 1987, in California and Hawaii. In 1993, under the supervision of Larry Laudan, she completed the Ph.D. in Philosophy, at the University of Hawaii – Manoa. She joined the faculty at Western Kentucky University in 1992, and has primary responsibility for courses in logic and philosophy of science.

She is a Fellow at the Center for the Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh, and was a Resident Fellow at the Center for the academic year 2000-2001. Since 2001, she has been Visiting Faculty in Philosophy and Logic, at the Universidad de Guanajuato, Mexico. In 2004, she became the first Executive Secretary for the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science (HOPOS). In 2003, Pinnick was an invited speaker at the GAP.5 meetings, the Fifth International Congress for Analytic Philosophy, in Bielefeld, Germany. In 2004, she was a speaker at the 5th Quadrennial International Fellows conference, Krakow (Rytro), Poland, and at the Fifth Biennial Congress for the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science (HOPOS), San Francisco.

Pinnick’s research concerns the epistemology of evidence, justification, and belief, and she is interested to link these philosophical topics to important public policy debate.

She is co-editor, with Noretta Koertge and Robert F. Almeder, of Scrutinizing Feminist Epistemology: an Examination of Gender in Science (Rutgers University Press 2003). Her work is published in journals such as Philosophy of Science, Metascience, Science & Education, Social Epistemology, Social Studies of Science, and the International Journal for Philosophy of Science.


Science, Women, and Feminist Theory: Public Interest Implications

Cassandra Pinnick
Western Kentucky University
October 15th, 2004, 4:00 to 5:30 pm
Ellis 113

pinnick2Science needs money. And, significant sums of public monies are spent to support science. As a matter of course, we expect that public expenditures are made based on reasoned and well-supported policy. Anything less would be an outrage. Feminist theories about science, and a feminist project to reform science, would shape policy about, and affect funding for, science. Yet decisions, based on feminist theory about science, are decisions based on a house of cards. This is because the feminist rationale remains unsubstantiated. In particular, we have no data that would test the strength of the hypothesis as asserting a causal relationship between women and cognitive ends. Thus, we must remain agnostic about the evidentiary merits or demerits of this feminist project. And, by extension, any funding or policy decisions taken in the name of this project rest on no more than dogma.

Cassandra Pinnick, a California native born in Watts, completed her undergraduate degree in 1973, at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, in Philosophy with a minor in Mathematics. She practised law as a private practitioner from 1976 through 1987, in California and Hawaii. In 1993, under the supervision of Larry Laudan, she completed the Ph.D. in Philosophy, at the University of Hawaii – Manoa. She joined the faculty at Western Kentucky University in 1992, and has primary responsibility for courses in logic and philosophy of science.

She is a Fellow at the Center for the Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh, and was a Resident Fellow at the Center for the academic year 2000-2001. Since 2001, she has been Visiting Faculty in Philosophy and Logic, at the Universidad de Guanajuato, Mexico. In 2004, she became the first Executive Secretary for the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science (HOPOS). In 2003, Pinnick was an invited speaker at the GAP.5 meetings, the Fifth International Congress for Analytic Philosophy, in Bielefeld, Germany. In 2004, she was a speaker at the 5th Quadrennial International Fellows conference, Krakow (Rytro), Poland, and at the Fifth Biennial Congress for the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science (HOPOS), San Francisco.

Pinnick’s research concerns the epistemology of evidence, justification, and belief, and she is interested to link these philosophical topics to important public policy debate.

She is co-editor, with Noretta Koertge and Robert F. Almeder, of Scrutinizing Feminist Epistemology: an Examination of Gender in Science (Rutgers University Press 2003). Her work is published in journals such as Philosophy of Science, Metascience, Science & Education, Social Epistemology, Social Studies of Science, and the International Journal for Philosophy of Science.

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Building Ethics Modules into Courses

Building Ethics Modules into Courses
2004 December 2nd, 8:00 am to December 3rd, 5:00 pm
Ellis 024

Building Ethics Modules is a two-day workshop designed to help Ohio University instructors include ethics components in their classes. The workshop will focus on the development and implementation of ethics modules tailored to the field and subject matter covered in individual courses.

Participants will work individually, with other faculty, with members of the institute, and with former workshop participants to develop ethics modules. Each participant will receive a $300 implementation grant upon completion of the workshop.

Enrollment in the 2004 workshop is limited to 20 (first come, first served). Register by filling out the on-line registration form.

Almost 150 Ohio University faculty members have participated in the institute’s Building Ethics Modules program since the first workshop, in 1990. Participants have come from a wide variety of disciplines, ranging from industrial engineering to dance. Some have incorporated ethics into existing classes, while others have created new courses focusing on ethics.

Applications must arrive by Tuesday, November 23, 2004.

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