The Center keeps archives of past events. To view events from a specific series, choose a category from the menu. If looking for a video recording of a past event, please visit our YouTube channel for archived videos.
7:00pm on Tuesday, September 29, 2015 At Stanford Law School, Room 190
What does it mean to devote yourself wholly to helping others? We honor high ideals, but when we call people “do-gooders” there is skepticism in it, even hostility. How much should we help, and how much can we help?
1:15pm on Friday, September 25, 2015 At Encina Hall West, Room 400 (GSL)
The Political Theory Workshop offers faculty and other scholars an opportunity to present "in progress" or recently completed work to a diverse audience from political science, philosophy, law, and other social sciences and humanities. All members of the university community are welcome to attend the workshop.
5:30pm on Thursday, April 30, 2015 At Levinthal Hall, Humanities Center
Secular Humanism is a positive position, not merely the denial of anything transcendent. Secular Humanists face familiar challenges, some intellectual, some practical. Prominent among the former is the charge that secular humanism can
Hollinger will address the question of the Christian religion’s relation to democracy as illuminated by the particular (and almost never discussed) case of Paul Blanshard, whose best-selling book of 1949, American Freedom and Catholi
5:30pm on Thursday, January 22, 2015 At Cubberley Auditorium
The American political system traditionally emphasized institutions of constraint—the rule of law and democratic accountability—over state power, leading in the 19th century to what Stephen Skowronek has characterized as a state of "cour
4:30pm on Tuesday, November 11, 2014 At Room 190, Stanford Law School
Because of Edward Snowden’s remarkable public service, we know that the National Security Agency, with the cooperation of some large firms, has amassed an unprecedented database of personal information.
4:00pm on Tuesday, September 23, 2014 At Encina Hall, Bechtel Conference Center
In this panel discussion, hosted by the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford experts will discuss the recent outbreak of Ebola in West Africa in relation to issues of health, governance, and ethics.
12:00pm on Friday, May 16, 2014 At Encina Hall, Room E008
Are you interested in working in government or politics? Then perhaps you've considered some of the tricky ethical terrain that people in these realms must navigate in their jobs. What is your responsibility to those you serve?
8:00pm on Thursday, May 15, 2014 At Pigott Theater in Memorial Auditorium
An Inspector Calls by J. B. Priestley is a three-act drama that takes place on a single night in 1912, and involves a wealthy middle-class family that is interrogated about the suicide of a young working-class woman.
5:30pm on Thursday, May 8, 2014 At Annenberg Auditorium
Noted performance artist Andrea Fraser explores the motivations—everything from prestige to financial investment to personal fulfillment—that drive artists, collectors, art dealers, and corporate sponsors.
5:00pm on Wednesday, April 16, 2014 At Cemex Auditorium
William Deresiewicz will discuss his forthcoming book, Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life. As a professor at Yale, Deresiewicz saw something that troubled him deeply.
4:15pm on Wednesday, March 12, 2014 At Center for Inter-Religious Community, Learning and Experiences, Old Union, 3rd Floor "Sanctuary"
This event is part of the Howard M. Garfield Forum, the Department of Religious Studies's annual afternoon conference, focussed on a theme at the intersection of religion, ethics, and public life.This is the eighth annual Howard M.
7:30pm on Monday, March 3, 2014 At Cemex auditorium
In this lecture, the eminent historian Peter Brown will explore the wider social and imaginative implications, for the Christian churches of late antiquity, of the well-known sayings of Christ that His followers should place “treasure in
5:30pm on Thursday, February 6, 2014 At Koret-Taube 130
We read novels for many reasons: for interest, to learn about writing techniques, to be intellectually challenged, for sheer pleasure. Some have speculated that reading novels also serves moral purposes.
5:30pm on Thursday, October 10, 2013 At Dinkelspiel Auditorium
(This event has been canceled.) In a talk called, "Poverty In The Context Of Plenty: Life, Death And Hope In A Mumbai Undercity," journalist Katherine Boo will discuss her recent book "Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope
7:00pm on Thursday, May 30, 2013 At Cubberley Auditorium
Does the law take mental illness into account when determining guilt and punishment? Should it? Stanford Law Professor Robert Weisberg will discuss the insanity defense and related doctrines. Judge Stephen Manley, a leader in the men
7:00pm on Thursday, May 23, 2013 At CEMEX Auditorium
What is the link between violence, guns and mental illness? What is the appropriate medical, legal and social response? Two leading scholars and policymakers discuss these issues at this public forum. Commentary will be provided by f
5:30pm on Thursday, May 16, 2013 At Annnenberg Auditorium, Cummings Art Building
Concern about rising economic inequality arises because of its implications for today’s society and of what it implies about where we are headed in the future. Are inequalities within countries going to continue to widen? This lecture asks what can be learned from historical experience and from economic models of the generation of inequality. It explores the long-run development of inequality of income and wealth in the US and in Europe. When have we succeeded in reducing inequality? It argues that we need to go beyond first year economics in order to understand the forces influencing wages and capital incomes, and that the subject of inequality should be re-integrated into the mainstream of economics.
The Exception and the Rule is a short play by German playwright Bertolt Brecht and is one of several Lehrstücke (Teaching plays) he wrote around 1929/30. These Teaching plays were taken on tour and performed in schools or in factories to educate the masses about socialist politics.
5:30am on Thursday, April 18, 2013 At Annenberg Auditorium
A forthright conversation about the role of money in the art world. How do wealth and its privileges shape art, patronage, and curatorial practice today? This dialogue, addressing the phenomenon of the artist as celebrity, and the spectacular presentation of art in the auction house and the museum, will feature Amy Cappellazzo, Chairman, Post-War and Contemporary Development at Christie's, Scott Rothkopf, Curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and, Julia Bryan-Wilson Associate Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art, UC Berkeley. Moderated by Professor Richard Meyer ( (Art and Art History, Stanford).
5:30pm on Thursday, April 4, 2013 At Annenberg Auditorium
Can libertarians care about social justice? In "Free Market Fairness," John Tomasi argues that they can and should. Drawing simultaneously on moral insights from defenders of economic liberty such as F. A.
5:00pm on Thursday, March 7, 2013 At Stanford University
When Uly Mörnach was found murdered on a cold November morning in 1502, no one was surprised. He had been the most hated member of the butchers' guild, and the other guildsmen had conspired to kill him
10:00am on Sunday, October 28, 2012 At Memorial Church
Rosa Lee Harden, co-founder of Social Capital Markets (SOCAP), will be preaching at Memorial Church in their University Public Worship series. SOCAP is a multi-platform organization dedicated to the flow of capital towards social good.
5:30pm on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 At Levinthal Hall, Stanford Humanities Center
After ten years of research, Kathryn Lofton published Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon, a study that uses the works of Oprah Winfrey to define the history and structure of religion in modern America. The world of Oprah Winfrey is many things; it is entertaining, philanthropy, therapeutic, and corporate
Thinking of going to Law School? Already at the Law School? Then you don't want to miss this lecture. What are the ethical issues unique to the legal profession? As a lawyer, what are some of the challenges you'll face?
7:00pm on Tuesday, October 2, 2012 At Tresidder Memorial Union, Oak West
The Gilded Age -- the time when the nation’s egalitarian ideals get overwhelmed by an acceptance of corporate capitalism, unbridled accumulation, and social inequality. Not quite. According to historian Richard White and literary critic Gavin Jones, the Gilded Age saw surprising responses to the embarrassment of riches.
12:00pm on Friday, May 25, 2012 At Bldg 110, Rm 112
What is economic freedom, and how important is it? These questions represent a crucial junction point in the history of liberal thought. Some liberals, like JS Mill and John Rawls, place little importance on economic liberties (the liberties of working and owning, as we might put them).
12:00pm on Friday, May 18, 2012 At Bldg 200, Rm 303
Engstrom will examine a peculiar form of unexamined personal injury law practice that has proliferated across the United States. These law firms, which she calls settlement mills, are characterized by their high claim volume, aggressive advertising, significant delegation to non-attorneys, entrepreneurial focus, and quick resolution of claims, typically without initiation of suit.
12:00pm on Friday, May 4, 2012 At Bldg 110, Rm 112
Leaders of military commands and government organizations operating in conflict zones often face ethical dilemmas as they carry out their missions. Integrity in reporting is vital, but bearers of "bad news" are sometimes understandably concerned with professional ramifications.
12:00pm on Friday, April 27, 2012 At Bldg 110, Rm 112
American universities and the local communities in which they reside often interact in the spirit of pursuing the common good. Their noble intentions may appear simple, but the relationships and processes necessary for the partnership can become complex, nuanced and ever-changing.
12:00pm on Friday, April 6, 2012 At Bldg 110, Rm 112
Over the past decade, public support for the death and the number of death sentences imposed have decreased substantially. Several jurisdictions have abolished the death penalty during this period. Marshall -- who has been involved in death penalty cases for more than two decades -- will discuss these developments, with a particular focus on the current effort to repeal the death penalty in California, the State with the largest number of death row inmates.
12:00pm on Friday, March 9, 2012 At Bldg 110, Rm 112
Watch the news and it's impossible to miss the many morality plays as they unfold -- whether in politics, sports, business, or even in academia. Large and small organizations all have cultures that endorse or prohibit, cultures that celebrate or condemn, cultures that expose or ignore. In the midst of those cultures, however, it's individuals that make decisions, and their ethics and their courage to act upon those beliefs will determine how those decisions get made. This will be a conversation about real cases involving these issues and how we can learn from them.
12:00pm on Friday, March 2, 2012 At Bldg 110, Rm 112
The goals of Public Health, broadly speaking, are the greatest good for the greatest number. The goals of the physician, as dictated by the Hippocratic oath, are to the good of the individual. The moral imperatives of both Public Health and Medicine immediately lead to competing priorities, processes and policies.
12:00pm on Friday, February 24, 2012 At Bldg 110, Rm 112
A Socratic dialogue with attendees about dealing with personal moral risk. The centerpiece will be a case by Bowen McCoy entitled "The Parable of the Sadhu," which describes ethical issues he faced on a trek in the Himalayas.
12:00pm on Friday, February 17, 2012 At Bldg 110, Rm 112
Military leaders at the tactical level routinely face ethical dilemmas on the battlefield. Often they are required to make tough decisions under time constraint in hostile, ambiguous situations. Training and education alone do not prepare these leaders for the complex environment in which they operate.
12:00pm on Friday, February 3, 2012 At Bldg 110, Rm 112
Ms. Meredith will explore the ethical dilemmas facing philanthropy. Philanthropy in the USA boasts $300 billiion annually in unconstrained private resources as gifts from individual philanthropists, foundations and corporations to impact social change. Is that reasonable and should philanthropy have such influence on society as a whole? What are the issues on the blurring of the lines as nonprofit organizations want a revenue stream and for-profit businesses want a mission? What are the ethcial dilemma's facing nonprofits daily as they accept private gifts or government funds then they must manage to outcomes, or not? How do nonprofits report on their successes or failures as they meet compliance issues for reporting to the government and their donors? The IRS has a 99.4% acceptance rate for nonprofit organization applications so should anyone really be able to create a nonprofit that can accept charitable gifts? What are the implied conflicts of interest? These are just a few of the many issues that we will discuss.
12:00pm on Friday, January 27, 2012 At Bldg 110, Rm 112
Mental illness is an important topic of public debate but journalists reporting on the issue face a special set of circumstances when interviewing those affected by psychological or neurological disorders. How do reporters obtain full and willing consent to publish sometimes intimate or potentially embarrassing details about a person with a mental disorder? The issues becomes more intense when involving soldiers and others whose careers may be harmed by a public airing of their conditions. This talk will use specific stories to illustrate how the media and the public can balance reporting on subjects with mental disease and brain injury with public interest in the topic.
12:00pm on Friday, January 13, 2012 At Bldg 110, Rm 112
The U.S. military completed the drawdown in Iraq in December 2011. That drawdown was made possible by a variety of factors, to include the so-called "Surge" in 2007 and 2008. The Surge itself was hugely controversial at the time it was announced and remained so through the Presidential election cycle. This talk will provide insight on the political pressure senior leaders in Baghdad were under and how they thought about assessing the success of the Surge as they reported back to Washington, to include the heated September 2007 testimony to Congress by General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker. The example of how General Petraeus, who Colonel Miller worked directly for at the time, set the parameters for thinking about the problem and preserved his decision space will be the focus of the discussion.
12:00pm on Friday, December 2, 2011 At Bldg 110, Rm 112
For the past two years, Winograd has collaborated with Joshua Cohen to teach a course at the Stanford d.school called Designing Liberation Technologies. Small interdisciplinary student teams develop new ideas for dealing with problems in health and development in some of the poorest neighborhoods (“informal settlements”) of Nairobi, Kenya. The ideal is for the students to create innovations that can bring real improvements to people’s lives. The reality is that we are only one part of a larger technical/economic system, and our efforts to do good may actually create more problems than they solve. We don’t have answers, but have grappled with some of the questions about how students with a bounded amount of commitment can ethically work in an environment that is distant, both in miles and in culture and wealth.
12:00pm on Friday, November 18, 2011 At Bldg 110, Rm 112
This talk focuses on the issues of justice that arise in listing decisions, the way organs are distributed, and in the solicitation of organs; as well as the ethical challenges and opportunities present in Donation after Cardiac Death.
12:00pm on Friday, November 4, 2011 At Bldg 110, Rm 112
Under what conditions does the American public support using nuclear weapons? Is there a general "nuclear taboo" and, if so, how strong are the public's inhibitions against using nuclear weapons? New survey experiments there is only a weak normative aversion against the use nuclear weapons and the aversion has few characteristics of a taboo. When nuclear weapons are seen to offer significant advantages over conventional weapons, large portions of the American public prefer nuclear strikes over conventional optio
12:00pm on Friday, October 28, 2011 At Bldg 110, Rm 112
At Stanford, undergraduate students have many opportunities to participate in research: in required writing courses, through independent study, in lab or other research assistantships, in capstone courses or Honors theses. When engaging in this research, do students see themselves as responsible for upholding the highest standards of ethical research—the way their instructors or faculty directors do? Drawing on her experiences teaching a PWR2 course, “Ethics in Research and Technology,” this presentation focuses on ways Bleakney has encouraged students to see themselves as ethical actors in designing research and through upholding the guidelines and principles of human subjects’ research. Bleakney will discuss the goals of her course, challenges faced, and some techniques used to engage students in ethical research; she will also showcase some exemplary student projects
12:00pm on Friday, October 21, 2011 At Bldg 110, Rm 11
In an age of farmers’ markets, CSAs, and a generally heightened awareness of our food system and the perceived importance of buying organic and eating locally, there remains a rather large, but hidden and largely unknown truth about so-called sustainable food: it is entirely possible that it was picked by the hands of a slave. This may seem absurd considering the liberties guaranteed by our Constitution and that we have a legal system that functions reasonably well. But the reality is that farm workers are an excluded class of people from the labor laws that protect the rest of us and the consequences are often appallin
12:00pm on Friday, October 14, 2011 At Bldg 110, Rm 112
Political Photography, traditionally known as documentary photojournalism, has exploded upon our digital universe in ways that trigger as well as test our aesthetic sensibilities and moral judgments. The iconic Vietnam war-era photos of napalm victims, burning Buddhist monks, shootings at Kent State, and the Saigon street execution photo, for instance, attest to the prickling longevity of certain images in our individual as well as collective visual consciousness. Recently, the Abu Ghraib prison pictures and the searing images from 9/11 have raised a dialectical volley of reactions, fears, and ethical concerns for editors, photographers, and audiences.
7:00pm on Wednesday, October 12, 2011 At Cemex Auditorium, Zambrano Hall, Knight Management Center
Award-winning documentarian and Stanford alumna Abigail Disney will talk about her latest project, PBS mini-series Women, War & Peace — the most comprehensive global media initiative ever mounted on the roles of women in pe
12:00pm on Friday, September 30, 2011 At Bldg 110, rm 112
Lori Shoemaker has been a Delegate with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Uganda, Yugoslavia and Albania and she will be discussing how the ICRC operates and what this means to its Delegates on the ground.
12:00pm on Thursday, January 20, 2011 At Bldg 110, Rm 112
Having a chance to comment regularly on current events is not the ordinary ambition of 18th-century historians, but having worked on the origins of the American Constitution for the past quarter century, I have encountered numerous opportunities to discuss current events from a historian's perspective. This talk will discuss the ethical issues that arise when one combines political argument about the present with a historian's obligation to be responsible to the evidence of the past.
7:00pm on Thursday, November 11, 2010 At Annenberg Auditorium
Richard Rhodes is the author or editor of twenty-three books including The Making of the Atomic Bomb, which won a Pulitzer Prize in Nonfiction, a National Book Award and a National Book Critics Circle Award; Dark S
9:30am on Friday, October 31, 2008 At Stanford University
The Theodore and Frances Geballe Research Workshops bring together groups of Stanford faculty and advanced graduate students, as well as visiting scholars and those at other local institutions to present their current research and otherw
10:00am on Friday, March 21, 2008 At Stanford University
In collaboration with the Humanities Center and the Philosophy Department, the Center co-sponsored a year-long graduate-faculty workshop that addressed foundational issues in the study of normative ethics, bringing together leading philo
10:30am on Friday, October 14, 2005 At Stanford University
Along with the Humanities Center and the Program in Ethics in Society, the Center co-sponsored a year-long workshop that explored issues in global justice from both empirical and theoretical perspectives.
10:30am on Thursday, November 18, 2004 At Stanford University
With grant assistance from the Mellon Foundation, the Center sponsored a year-long interdisciplinary workshop entitled Ethics in the Professions that included Stanford faculty as well as national experts.