Category Archives: 2005

Who's Your Daddy?

Donald Hubin
The Ohio State University
January 12th, 2005, 8:00 to 9:00 pm
Walter Hall 145

donhubinThe question is so easy that small children can answer it.  But this question that most small children can answer has repeatedly stumped courts and led them render decisions that are bizarre and unjustifiable.  This question, that seems so simple, turns out to be anything but simple.  The meaning of ‘paternity’ is complex and difficult and our legal system has yet to come to grips with the challenging questions that arise when the various elements of stereotypical fatherhood are exhibited in different men.  It is unlikely that progress will be made on this issue until we re-think the notion of fatherhood from the ground up.  This talk is the beginning of an examination of the philosophical, moral and legal foundations of paternity.

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Nanotechnology and Journalism

Hosted by the School of Journalism, with the participation of the Institute for Applied and Professional Ethics and the Nanoscale and Quantum Phenomena Institute
January 14th, 2005, 12:00 to 5:00 pm
Sing Tao

trianglesasThis workshop provides an introduction to nanotechnology, and more specifically, toward developing awareness and working knowledge of ethical issues in this emerging field. The workshop will examine media coverage of nanotechnologies, and provide a forum for discussion of interaction of society and business regarding this new global technology frontier.

The program includes a welcome lunch, presentations by practitioners in the fields of journalism, ethics, business and nanoscience, and a discussion session.

Registration is required, as space is limited. Participants may register until 5pm January 10, 2005 at the registration page.


Travel grants available for Ohio undergrads

2005 February 24th, 12:00 to February 27th, 12:00 pm
San Antonio, Texas

Any Ohio University undergraduate reading a paper at the 14th annual meeting of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics is eligible for a travel grant from the IAPE. Grants cover round-trip air fare from Columbus to San Antonio, hotel, and meals.

To apply, send a letter of intent, along with a copy of your acceptance letter from the APPE, to 202 Ellis Hall.

APPE submission deadline: October 29, 2004.
Grant submission deadline: December 31, 2004.

Details here: http://www.indiana.edu/~appe/program.html.

Details from the APPE follow:


This year at the Annual Meeting, the Association will hold a special session for the presentation of undergraduate papers. Undergraduate students are invited to submit papers on any topic in practical and professional ethics. The papers will be reviewed and the authors of the best papers will be invited to present their papers during a special concurrent session of the Annual Meeting. To submit a paper, students are asked to follow the guidelines for all paper submissions for the Annual Meeting but the deadline for papers will be October 29. Be sure to indicate on the Submission and Registration Form that you are submitting a paper for the undergraduate program. The Annual Meeting registration fee will be waived for those students whose papers have been accepted.


Intending a means, expecting a side-effect: what is the difference?

Michael Bratman
Durfee Professor in the School of Humanities & Sciences and Professor of Philosophy
Stanford University
March 31st, 2005, 8:00 to 10:00 pm
Bentley 140

In much of our thinking about action and its moral assessment we draw on a distinction between intending a means and expecting a side-effect. One much discussed example involves a pair of bombers in a war. Terror Bomber intends to bomb the children in a school as a means to promoting victory. Tactical Bomber intends to bomb a munitions plant as a means to promoting victory. Tactical Bomber knows, however, that next to the munitions plant is a school, and so that as a result of destroying the munitions plant he will be killing the children in the school. Many say that whereas Terror Bomber intends to kill the children as a means, Tactical Bomber does not intend to kill them as a means, though he does fully expect to kill them as a side effect. And many think that this difference between the two bombers can sometimes matter a great deal to our moral assessment of them and their actions. (A version of this idea is built into the Principle of Double Effect.)

But what exactly is this difference between intending a means and expecting a side-effect? And does this distinction survive critical scrutiny? I will sketch an approach to the nature of intention that helps us understand the intuitive force of this distinction, and an approach to the nature of practical reasoning (reasoning about what to do) that helps us articulate skeptical doubts about this distinction. Thoughtful response to these skeptical doubts will take us to complex issues about intention, practical reasoning, and human agency.


mb2Michael E. Bratman is U. G. and Abbie Birch Durfee Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences, and Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University. He is the author of Intention, Plans, and Practical Reason (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1987; Re-issued by CSLI Publications, 1999), Faces of Intention: Selected Essays on Intention and Agency (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), and various articles in philosophy of action and related fields. Some his recent work on agency and self-governance will be collected in his Structures of Agency: Essays (Oxford University Press, in preparation).


Three Theories of Self-Governance

Michael Bratman
Durfee Professor in the School of Humanities & Sciences and Professor of Philosophy
Stanford University
April 1st, 2005, 4:00 to 6:00 pm
Ellis 113

We care a lot about autonomy, about governing our own lives. But what is it to govern one’s own life? I begin by considering two different approaches to this question that have been prominent in the recent philosophical literature. One approach is associated with work of Harry Frankfurt. The main idea, roughly, is that in self-governance one’s practical thought and action is under the control of appropriately stable higher-order desires – desires about what desires are to move one to act. A second approach is broadly Platonic in spirit and associated with work of Gary Watson. The main idea here is that in self-governance one’s practical thought and action is under the control of one’s judgments about what is good. Both approaches face a basic problem of explaining why it is that when certain desires or judgments shape thought and action, it is the agent who is directing and governing the thought and action. Reflection on these approaches and this problem leads me to a third theory, one that highlights the guidance of thought and action by policy-like commitments to treat certain considerations as reasons, and that understands these policy-like commitments by appeal to what I have called the planning theory of intention.


bratmanMichael E. Bratman is U. G. and Abbie Birch Durfee Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences, and Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University. He is the author of Intention, Plans, and Practical Reason (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1987; Re-issued by CSLI Publications, 1999), Faces of Intention: Selected Essays on Intention and Agency (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), and various articles in philosophy of action and related fields. Some his recent work on agency and self-governance will be collected in his Structures of Agency: Essays (Oxford University Press, in preparation).

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What Sport Is and Is Not

Martin Bertman
September 8th, 2005, 8:00 to 9:00 pm
Bentley 140

bertman_SThe philosophy of sport is a neglected field, despite the great interest in sport. This lecture defines it, showing it to be the creation of a world by rules that provides stable expectations for the audience and yet, as a game within those rules, it provides the unpredictable excitement of play. Further, sport in its cultural import will be discussed, including the historical traces of the Greek Olympics and the Roman Gladitorial contests; also. discussed will be the distinctions between individual and team sports, sports that use machines or animals, and sports with an aesthetic element for measuring victory.

Professor Martin Bertman, Ph.d was educated at Syracuse, Columbia and Princeton Universities. He has been a member of the Philosophy Faculty of Helsinki University, Finland since 1995 and has lectured in ove 50 European universities. He has been NEH Professor at University of Scranton 1980-81 and Distinguished Visiting Professor at California State University 1981-83. He is President of the International Hobbes Association and Editor-in-Chief of Hobbes Studies. He has published 5 books and 90 articles on various philosophical subjects, including sport. He is an associate faculty member of the Institute for the History and Law of Sport of Univesita di Teramo, Italy.

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