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Fall 2015 logo for Center for Ethics program

In academic year 2015-2016, the Center for Ethics will present programming on two themes: “Influence & Information: Whose Safety? Whose Security?” and “Influence & Information: Manipulation Nation.” While these themes overlap in significant ways, the Center will focus on exploring “Whose Safety? Whose Security?” in the fall semester and “Manipulation Nation” in the spring semester.


Victor Pickard lecture, "Media Democracy in an Age of Corporate Libertarianism"

Paul Offit lecture, "The Strange Case of Vaccine Exemptions"

Wendell Potter lecture

Robert Epstein Lecture, "The New Mind Control"

Michael Cholbi Lecture

Maajid Nawaz and Richard Kerbaj interview

Dawn Porter: "Defending America in the Age of Mass Incarceration."

"Domestic Extremism: Radical Subcultures in America" with Daryl Johnson

Orin Kerr lecture, “Security Panics and Privacy Panics: Government in Times of Crisis”

Event Schedule

Whose Safety/Whose Security?

The central purpose of this theme is to explore questions about policies that are claimed to protect some group of persons from others and which may endanger those ‘others’ and even compromise the safety of those they are purported to protect.

Among such policies are the global ‘war on terror’ that has produced the U.S. Patriot Act, widespread surveillance of citizens and foreign allies, and several armed conflicts. U.S. involvement in the Middle East raises further questions: do our actions in that arena really make us more secure, or have they generated more animosity against the country and its citizens?

Here, in the U.S., we have also been waging a ‘war on drugs’ that has been a leading cause of our having 25% of the world’s incarcerated population while having only 4% of the world’s total population. Experts in law and social systems cite this ‘war’ as also having had a devastating effect on disadvantaged persons and communities. The international outcomes of our ‘war on drugs’ have been dire.

Recently, much attention has been directed towards the militarization of domestic law enforcement bodies and police-citizen relations. The uniquely high rate of ‘officer-involved’ shootings in the U.S. is a related issue: we wish our law enforcement personnel to be safe, but we also wish our citizens to safe from those personnel. Policing policies such as ‘stop and frisk’ and ‘broken windows’ policing raise the specter of racial discrimination: we must ask if such policies oppress some of our citizens for the purported protection of others.

Citizens and nations are told that the policies are for their own protection. But are these claims accurate? To what extent are we manipulated, or outright deceived, by these claims? 

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Chris Sistare, Director
Professor, Philosophy
Co-Director, Philosophy and Political Thought
(484) 664-3372
Thaddeus Robinson, Program Director
Associate Professor, Philosophy
(484) 664-3071