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Be the first to hear about upcoming events, research, and media!

Hope House Scholars Program

The Center sponsors humanities courses at Hope House, a residential treatment facility for recovering alcoholics and drug addicts.

2016-17 Interdisciplinary Ethics Postdoctoral Fellows

We're happy to announce our first cohort of Interdisciplinary Ethics Postdoctoral Fellows!

The Buzz

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

Undergraduate Honors Program

Don't just study, take a stand! Explore the ethical dimensions of your major.

Upcoming Events

Mon 2 May
5:30pm on Monday, May 2, 2016 At McMurtry Building, Oshman Lecture Hall

Kirk Savage (Art History, University of Pittsburgh) presents a talk entitled "Democracy, Militarism, and Art: The View from a Soldier Cemetery."

Thu 5 May
8:00pm on Thursday, May 5, 2016 At Stanford Law School, Room 280A

Women in Theater (WIT) presents Twelve Angry Men

Fri 6 May
1:15pm on Friday, May 6, 2016 At Encina Hall West, Room 400 (GSL)

Political Theory Workshop led by Niko Kolodny

Fri 6 May
7:30pm on Friday, May 6, 2016 At Campbell Recital Hall

Doubles, Jonathan Berger's fourth string quartet, recalls songs of peace, freedom, and resistance that were influenti

Mon 9 May
12:45pm on Monday, May 9, 2016 At Stanford Law School, Room 280A

A lunchtime panel discussion on voting rights as part of The Ethics of Democracy series.

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 Ruairi Arrieta-Kenna and Truman Chen on April 29, 2016

Former US Secretary of Labor Robert Reich delivered the Arrow Lecture in Ethics and Leadership.

Picture of Rob Reich and Rob Reich
By Michael Taylor on April 7, 2016

Alexander Nemerov, Chair of the Art & Art History Department speaks with Oakland artist Greg Edwards about his life and work.

By Doron Dorfman on March 29, 2016

Book review of "Telethons: Spectacle, Disability, and the Business of Charity" by Paul K. Longmore