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The Buzz

The Center's news portal fueled by Stanford students interested in ethics.

Undergraduate Honors Program

Interdisciplinary scholars developing a sophisticated understanding of the problems of social concern.

Hope House Scholars Program

The Center sponsors humanities courses at Hope House, a residential treatment facility for recovering alcoholics and drug addicts.
×Grad students, apply for The OpEd Project workshop!: Learn to communicate your research to a broader audience and get your work published in media outlets. The workshop is Nov. 6-7, 2015. Your work should have an ethical dimension you wish to highlight. Apply by Oct. 12, 5pm! Learn More »

Upcoming Events

Thu 8 Oct
5:30pm on Thursday, October 8, 2015 At LECTURE: Encina Hall, Bechtel Conference Room / DISCUSSION: Oksenberg Room, Encina Hall

2nd Tanner Lecture: The consequences of America's War for the Greater Middle East.

Fri 16 Oct
1:15pm on Friday, October 16, 2015 At Encina Hall West, Room 400 (GSL)

Oded Na’aman focuses on practical reason, moral and political philosophy, as well as philosophy and literature.

Fri 23 Oct
3:30pm on Friday, October 23, 2015 At Memorial Auditorium

French economist, Thomas Piketty, will present the 2015-16 Kenneth J. Arrow Lecture.

Mon 26 Oct
1:00pm on Monday, October 26, 2015 At TBA

The "Trust, Transparency, and Replication in the Social Sciences" workshop will gather a small group of prominent sch

Thu 5 Nov
7:00pm on Thursday, November 5, 2015 At TBA

Lythcott-Haims discusses her new book "How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success."

Welcome to Ethics in Society

The McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society is committed to bringing ethical reflection to bear on important social problems through research, teaching, and community engagement. Drawing on the established strengths of Stanford interdisciplinary faculty, the Center develops initiatives with ethical dimensions that relate to pressing public problems.

Letter from the Director

Rob Reich
Faculty Director, Center for Ethics in Society

The roots of Stanford’s Center for Ethics in Society stretch back more than twenty five years. In 1986 an interdisciplinary group of faculty, including Kenneth Arrow (Economics), Patrick Suppes (Philosophy), David Kennedy (History), and Arnold Eisen (Religious Studies) stimulated the creation of an honors program in ethics. From its inception, this program – and the larger Center that now houses the program – has supported research, teaching, and public discussion. Ethics in Society ranks as one of the earliest university centers devoted to bringing ethical reflection to bear on important social problems.

Of course, ethical inquiry and dialogue are fundamental to the human condition and date back not decades, not centuries, but millennia. And social, economic, technological, and cultural changes are constantly forcing us to confront age-old questions in new ways. This fact provides every cohort of students and scholars at the university with novel questions that nevertheless draw upon long-standing ethical traditions. Ethics is evergreen material.

We believe that every nook of the university – each school and department – provides ample opportunity to pose innumerable ethical questions. We also believe that, outside the university walls, nearly all social, economic, and political problems – whether local or global – contain deeply important ethical dimensions.

The Center for Ethics in Society supports a wide range of programs designed to prompt ethical reflection across the university and in public forums. We sponsor post-doctoral and graduate student fellowships to promote teaching and research in ethics; we provide an exceptional honors thesis experience for undergraduate students across many different majors; we host annual public lectures – including the Tanner, Wesson, and Arrow lectures – that bring notable scholars to campus; we created an award-winning community engagement initiative, the Hope House Scholars Program; and we sponsor a wide range of programming under an annual theme (past themes include Ethics of Food and the Environment, Ethics and War, Ethics of Wealth).

This year our theme is Ethics and Inequality. As the new faculty director, I hope to develop additional programming on ethics and technology in the coming years.

Take a look here for an overview of our public events this year, and sign up for our bi-weekly email newsletter that provides details of the full range of activity at the Center. We welcome you to join us.

Learn More About the Center

Recently from The Buzz

By Patrick Taylor Smith on June 6, 2015

A group of Stanford graduate student and postdoc political theorists - affectionately known as "the Dirty Leviathan" - attended their sixth annual retreat at a beach house outside Watsonville on May 15th through 17th, 2015.

By Maya Krishnan on May 19, 2015

Philosopher Philip Kitcher describes what secular ethicists can learn from religion in a talk on April 30th at the Stanford Humanities Center.

By The Buzz Staff on April 24, 2015

Speaking to a packed crowd of students, faculty, and community members on April 8th, philosopher Peter Singer championed the “Effective Altruism” movement, led by people who, as Singer describes it, seek to apply “evidence and reason to determining the most effective ways to improve the world.”