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Ethics in the Public Sphere

Exploring the ethical challenges facing contemporary society, UC San Diego’s Department of Philosophy is bringing relevant and timely topics to the forefront for greater understanding and discussion. Ethics in the Public Sphere (EPS) was established in 2012 as a forum to bring to light the discussions and debates where ethics and public life intersect. EPS has since become a distinguished lecture series.

Read more about the series here:
Interview with former Philosophy Department Chair, Donald P. Rutherford

To receive notices about UC San Diego Philosophy's EPS Series and other events, subscribe to our Events Mailing List.

Next Event: 

"Immigration and Morality: Invitation to a Dialogue" 

Joseph Carens. Professor of Political Science, University of Toronto

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.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

UC San Diego, Faculty Club, Dining Room, 4-7PM
Free Event: Talk, Q&A, and Reception
Information Flyer

Open to the Public
Please visit this registration page to RSVP.

Past Events: 

"#metoo and the Failure to Warn Others"    May 24, 2018

Elizabeth Harman. Associate Professor of Philosophy and Human Values, Princeton University

“The Roads To and From the Paris Climate Agreement”     December 1, 2017

Andrew Light. University Professor of Philosophy, Public Policy and Atmospheric Sciences, George Mason University; Distinguished Senior Fellow in the Climate Program, World Resources Institute 

“Death Squads and Death Lists: Targeted Killing and the Character of the State”     May 4, 2017

Jeremy Waldron. University Professor and Professor of Law, New York University; former Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory, All Souls College, Oxford



“The Shape of the State”     October 27, 2016

Philip Pettit. L.S. Rockefeller University Professor of Politics and Human Values, Princeton University


“Consciousness Unbound: The Ethics of Neuroimaging After Severe Brain Injury”     April 29, 2015

Charles Weijer, M.D., Ph.D. Professor Philosophy, University of Western Ontario


“Can We Sustain Democracy and the Planet Too?”     March 12, 2014

Philip Kitcher. Dewey Professor of Philosophy, Columbia University


“Effective Altruism”     February 25, 2014

Peter Singer. Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics, Princeton University


“The Aims of Education” Panel     April 20, 2013

“Revising the Aims of Education”, Michael Tiboris, UC San Diego

“Molding Conscientious, Hard-Working, and Perseverant Students”, Jennifer Morton, Professor of Philosophy, The City College of New York

“Education in Human Values: Are There Standards of Humanity and Ethics in Education and Teacher Preparation?”, John Johnson, Professor of Education, San Diego State University

“Making Meaning Out of the School Day”, Dan Lang, Head of Francis Parker Middle School

“High Commitment Charter Schools and Principles of Educational Justice”, Gina Schouten, Professor of Philosophy, Illinois State University


“War Ethics” Panel    March 1-2, 2013

Helen Frowe, University of Kent; Commentator: David Reed Mapel, University of Colorado-Boulder

Adil Ahmad Haque, Rutgers School of Law; Commentator: François Tanguay-Renaud,Osgoode Hall Law School, York University

Seth Lazar, Australian National University; Commentator: Saba Bazargan, UC San Diego

Larry May, Vanderbilt University and Law School; Commentator: Kai Draper, University of Delaware

Jeff McMahan, Rutgers University; Commentator: Richard Arneson, UC San Diego

David Rodin, Institute for Ethics, Law, and Armed Conflict, Oxford University; Commentator: Mattias Iser, Goethe University, Frankfurt

Nancy Sherman, Georgetown University; Commentator: Bradley Strawser, US Naval Postgraduate School

Victor Tadros, University of Warwick School of Law; Commentator: Dana Nelkin, UC San Diego


“Our Duties to Distant Needy Persons”     November 3, 2012

“Fortune and Fairness in Global Economic Life”, Aaron James, Professor of Philosophy, UC Irvine. Commentator: Richard Arneson, Professor of Philosophy, UC San Diego.

“Reconsidering Singer’s Drowning Child Example”, Douglas Portmore, Professor of Philosophy, Arizona State University. Commentator: K. Violet McKeon, UC Irvine.

To see our past events and video record of events please visit our Ethics in the Public Sphere archive.