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Symposium 2018 - 2019

 

Carens_Joseph.jpg"Immigration and Morality: Invitation to a Dialogue" 

Joseph Carens. Professor of Political Science, University of Toronto

Abstract: In this talk, I want to invite those in the audience to set aside partisan political concerns and even their own immediate interests for a short time and to reflect upon the ways in which immigration raises questions about our most fundamental moral values, about what we think is right and wrong, just and unjust. I will provide a brief overview of the range of moral questions that are raised by immigration, but I’ll focus mainly on three particularly controversial ones: What should we do about irregular migrants (i.e., immigrants who have settled without official authorization)? What are our responsibilities towards refugees? 

Finally, are we really entitled to control immigration at all or should borders be generally open? I will offer some challenging views on these questions, but my hope is that whether those who attend agree with me or not, they will experience what I say as an invitation to think more deeply about this important topic and perhaps to talk with people with whom they disagree.


Picture_Buchanan_Allen.jpg"Condemned to Tribalism? Us Versus Them in Contemporary America"

Allen Buchanan. Professor of Philosophy at Duke University and also professor of the Philosophy of International Law at the Dickson Poon School of Law at King's College, London

Abstract: Many people are aware that in the U.S. at present there is an increase in “tribalism” but there is much unclarity about what “tribalism” is. In this presentation, I contrast tribalistic or exclusive moralities with inclusive ones. I first argue that the standard evolutionary story about how human morality originated among our remote ancestors between 1.8 million and 10,000 years ago suggests to many people that we are condemned to tribalism, that humans are “hard-wired” by evolution to have exclusive moralities, moralities that relegate “outgroup” people to an inferior status. I then argue for a revisionist account of the evolutionary origins of morality according to which humans have an adaptively plastic moral capacity: in certain environments, tribalistic or exclusive moral responses will dominate, but in different environments a more inclusive moral orientation is possible.

I explain how morality, for many people, has become more inclusive during the last 300 years, in some parts of the world, but argue that there is a new form of tribalism: intrasocietal tribalism, where the inferior, dangerous other is not thought of as a member of another society, but rather is a group within our society. I next show that this new form of tribalism threatens to undue the recent progress that some humans have made in developing a more inclusive moral orientation. I then explain how ideology, properly understood, creates this new kind of tribalism and who that ideology is an adaptation for cooperation in modern, complex societies in which there is a plurality of groups competing for economic, political, and cultural dominance.


Harman_Elizabeth.jpg"#metoo and the Failure to Warn Others"

Professor Elizabeth Harman of Princeton University

Abstract: Many people are aware that in the U.S. at present there is an increase in “tribalism” but there is much unclarity about what “tribalism” is. In this presentation, I contrast tribalistic or exclusive moralities with inclusive ones. I first argue that the standard evolutionary story about how human morality originated among our remote ancestors between 1.8 million and 10,000 years ago suggests to many people that we are condemned to tribalism, that humans are “hard-wired” by evolution to have exclusive moralities, moralities that relegate “outgroup” people to an inferior status. I then argue for a revisionist account of the evolutionary origins of morality according to which humans have an adaptively plastic moral capacity: in certain environments, tribalistic or exclusive moral responses will dominate, but in different environments a more inclusive moral orientation is possible.

I explain how morality, for many people, has become more inclusive during the last 300 years, in some parts of the world, but argue that there is a new form of tribalism: intrasocietal tribalism, where the inferior, dangerous other is not thought of as a member of another society, but rather is a group within our society. I next show that this new form of tribalism threatens to undue the recent progress that some humans have made in developing a more inclusive moral orientation. I then explain how ideology, properly understood, creates this new kind of tribalism and who that ideology is an adaptation for cooperation in modern, complex societies in which there is a plurality of groups competing for economic, political, and cultural dominance.

Symposium 2017 - 2018

Symposium 2016 - 2017

Symposium 2015 - 2016

Symposium 2014 - 2015

Symposium 2013 - 2014

Symposium 2012 - 2013