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The Ethics Center

2009-2010 Lecture Series

Click on the links below for streaming video.

Video provided by Michael Medina (

October 14, 2009: Andrew Jones, "Fallacies, Ethical Dilemmas, and Climate Change"

Andrew Jones will discuss the flawed logic employed by skeptics who argue that climate change either isn't taking place or isn't human caused.  Jones will critique some of the proposed solutions for mitigating the effects of global warming. He will also critically examine arguments that favor doing nothing about climate change or that advocate embracing global warming.

Andrew Jones is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Fresno State.  He has a Ph.D. from the University of Oregon, where his dissertation was: How the Media Frame Global Warming: A Harbinger of Human Extinction, or Endless Summer Fun?

October 28, 2009: Peter VandeWater, "Adaptation to Climate Change in Fresno, CA"

Climate change is occurring at an ever-increasing rate across the globe.  Here in Fresno the primary effects—warming temperatures and changes in precipitation—will directly impact our interactions with the environment.  Yet, the secondary and tertiary effects may have much greater impacts.  The discussion will present the current understanding of climate changes and the challenges they present to our immediate future.    

Peter Vandewater has a Ph.D. in Geosciences from the University of Arizona. His most recent work has focused on plant gene-flow from genetically modified crop plants into wild relatives growing nearby.  He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Fresno State.

December 2, 2009: Robert Maldonado, "The Ethics of Reading the Bible"

Robert Maldonado will explore the layers of meaning found in ancient scriptures. He will raise questions about the significance of religious texts and the value we place upon them. His theme is how the way we read influences the value we get out of our texts.

Robert Maldonado has a Ph.D. from the Graduate Theological Union. He is the former Chair of the Philosophy Department at Fresno State, an expert on the Gospel of Mark, and a serious origamist.

February 11, John Lachs, "Good Enough"

[Unfortunately John Lachs was detained due to a snow storm; and was unable to make it for the lecture.  His paper was ready by Andrew Fiala.  No video available.]

Why is the “good enough” not good enough? John Lachs reflects on our desire for perfection, which he connects with the longing for God and the experience of beauty. Suggesting that the ideal of moral perfection can be inhumane, Lachs concludes that “the fact that the world could be better does not imply that we are obliged to make it better.”

John Lachs is Centennial Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University. He is the author of many books and articles, including most recently The Cost of
Comfort (2010). He is the editor of the Encyclopedia of American Philosophy. This presentation is based on his article, “Good Enough” in the Journal of
Speculative Philosophy (2009).

March 23, 2010: Jacquelyn Kegley, "Are We Our Brains? New Ethical and Legal Challenges from Neuroscience"

New technologies in neuroscience can be used to make judgments about moral behavior and moral psychology. Jacqueline Kegley will question the ethical side of the new neuroscience. She will discuss assumptions about persons, questions about privacy and informed consent, and the proper use of science and expert judgment in law.

Jacquelyn Kegley is Professor of Philosophy at California State University, Bakersfield. She is the author of many books and articles, including Genuine Individuals and Communities most recently Josiah Royce in Focus (2010). She has written extensively on bioethics and is an expert in the field of American Philosophy.

April 6, Ovadia Ezra, "The Ethics of Selective Disobedience and Military Service in Israel"

Ovadia Ezra will reflect on the unique model of “Selective Disobedience” which has been developed in Israel for soldiers who refuse military service in the  occupied territories or in military jails in which Palestinians are kept. Ezra will share his personal experience and reflect on ethical issues connected with the topic.

Ovadia Ezra is Chair of the Philosophy Department at Tel Aviv University in Israel. He was incarcerated three times in a military jail for refusing military
service in the occupied territories. He is the author of several books, including Moral Dilemmas in Real Life: Current Issues in Applied Ethics (2006).

April 9, Nel Noddings, "Caring for Bullies and other Miscreants"

How do we care for bullies? Drawing on her extensive research on education and the ethics of care, Nel Noddings reflects on bullying and discipline and care. She

considers how caring relationships apply in the context of dealing with those who misbehave.

Nel Noddings is Lee Jacks Professor of Education Emerita at Stanford University and a founding thinker of “care ethics.” She has published many books and articles, including most recently Critical Lessons: What our Schools Should Teach (2006). Noddings’ lecture is co-sponsored by the Bonner Center for Character Education.

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