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The Ethics Center

Ethics Lecture Series 2008-2009

September 10, 2008: Vince Biondo, Usury, Debt Bondage and Payday Loans (no video available)

The Abrahamic Religions condemn usury—the practice of charging excessive rates of interest.  But modern day credit card and payday loan industries exploit this practice, creating the problem of contemporary debt bondage.  This lecture will consider this problem, its religious dimensions, and examples of contemporary remedies.

Vincent F. Biondo III is Assistant Professor of Western Religious Traditions at Fresno State.  He earned his Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara .

October 1, 2008: Steve Walker, Quit Blaming the Victim! (for video click here) (for text click here)

This lecture will present a brief history of victim rights highlighting

 various ethical concerns and dilemmas.  Discussion will describe the work

that led the Department of Justice to award Professor Walker the Victims of Crime Allied Professional Award for his work on Victim Services.

Steven Walker is Associate Dean of the College of Social Sciences and former Chair of the Criminology Department.  He developed the first Victim Services Certificate and the first Victimology Major in the United States.

October 29, 2008: Joyce Ester, and Jim Prince, Academic Integrity at CSU-Fresno (for video click here)

Members of Fresno State’s Honor Code committee will discuss academic ethics issues on campus: how the honor code works, issues arising in reporting cheating, and why academic integrity should matter to students and faculty.

Jacques Benninga is Professor of Education and Director of the University’s Bonner Center for Character Education, Joyce Ester is Assistant V.P for Judicial Affairs, Jim Prince is Professor of Biology.

November 19, 2008: Edie Jessup, Food and the Politics of Scarcity (for video click here) (for text click here)

Hunger, food, and politics mix as Edie Jessup discusses food and the politics of scarcity.  Her work aims to restore the food system and establish food justice.  This talk will draw on the experience of Fresno Metro Ministry in addressing hunger, food access, and policy here in Fresno County.

Edie Jessup works for Fresno Metro Ministry as coordinator of their program on Hunger & Nutrition Services.  She serves on several regional and statewide boards and committees that focus on hunger, food, and nutrition.

February 2, 2009: David Chan, "The Myth of Religious War " (for video click here)

Are religious wars more violent than imperialistic wars, civil wars and wars of liberation?  Would the world be more peaceful if people did not fight for religious reasons?  Is the conflict between Christianity and Islam unavoidable?  David Chan suggests that it is a misconception to answer ‘yes’ to such questions.  Not only are there myths about what takes place in so-called religious wars, but once we dispel these myths, the whole idea of religious war is placed in question

David K. Chan is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point. He holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University and has worked around the world including at the United Nations Association of Singapore. He is the editor of Moral Psychology Today.

March 4: Leonard Olson, "God, Darwin, and the Culture Wars" (click here for video)

Most observers would agree that there is something like a cultural war taking place in America today, especially over the question of the origins of life on Earth.  Is the choice as simple as one between evolution or creation?  Extremists on both sides frame the issue poorly.  As a result, a reasonable middle position is ignored.  This talk will examine the middle and criticize the extremes.

Leonard Olson is a Lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at CSU-Fresno, where he has been teaching ethics courses since 1986. A native of the Central Valley, he was educated at San Francisco State and U. C. Davis.

March 18: Jose-Antonio Orosco, "Cesar Chavez and Nonviolence" (for video click here)

Professor Orosco will present an overview of his new book, Cesar Chavez and the Common Sense of Nonviolence.  This book outlines and examines the deep spirit of nonviolence that is found in Chavez’s political activism.  Through comparison and contrast with Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., Orosco establishes Chavez’ unique contribution to social activism.

Jose-Antonio Orosco is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Oregon State University.  He is scholar of American philosophy and Latin American thought as well as a political activist.  In addition to his new book on Cesar Chavez, Orosco produces a webcast program: “Engage: Philosophy Podcasts.”

April 29: Robert Metcalf, "Ancient Philosophy and the 'New Atheists'" (for video click here)

The philosophical critique of religion has garnered attention in recent years thanks to those writers known collectively as the 'New Atheists'—Dawkins, Dennett, Harris and Hitchens.  This presentation will examine the New Atheists and contrast them with ancient Greek approaches to the critique of religion.

Robert Metcalf is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Colorado at Denver.  He writes on ancient philosophy and continental philosophy.  He is currently working on a translation of Heidegger’s Basic Concepts of Aristotelian Philosophy

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