Ethics in the Public Sphere Lecture Series

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

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"#metoo and the Failure to Warn Others"

Professor Elizabeth Harman of Princeton University


“The complicated feeling I have about Harvey is how bad I feel about  all the women that were attacked after I was.  I am one of the reasons that a young girl would walk into his room alone, the way I did.”  

— Uma Thurman, interviewed by the New York Times, February 3, 2018

What is the significance of Thurman’s failure to warn the many women who were attacked by Harvey Weinstein after she was?  What complicated feeling does she have?  What complicated feeling should she have?  Do victims who fail to warn others thereby wrong the future victims?  What duties do victims have to warn others?  I will argue that sexual assault wrongs victims in an underappreciated way, by imposing duties to warn others on them and by thrusting them into moral relationships with future victims that are burdensome and that indeed make certain complicated feelings warranted and appropriate.  Thurman is right — she was one of the reasons that young girls fell victim to Weinstein — and she is right to have complicated feelings about it.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

UC San Diego Faculty Club 4-7PM
Free Event: Talk, Q&A, and Reception
Please visit this registration page to RSVP.

Past Events:

“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.