Barney Frank, former U.S. Congressman from Massachusetts, will deliver the 2015-16 Wesson Lecture in Problems of Democracy.
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.
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.