CSU, Chico News

Ethics Forum: Scientific Investigation and Morality

Date: 11-08-2010

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs
Robert Jones

The Center for Applied and Professional Ethics (CAPE) at California State University, Chico is presenting its third fall forum on Wednesday, Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m. A panel of ethics philosophers and a biologist will debate what role, if any, scientific investigation plays in our understanding of morality. The forum, “Can Science Determine Human Values?” will be held in PAC 134 at 7:30 p.m.

Robert Jones, director of CAPE, said that the topic for this forum was explored in the book “The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values” by Sam Harris. “Harris argues that questions about moral and human values are questions that can ultimately be best understood scientifically,” said Jones. “But many object, claiming that, though scientific inquiry into the biological, physiological and psychological basis of human well-being can be fruitful, there remain important ways in which questions of ethics and morality fall outside the scope of scientific investigation.”

The panel members include John Mahoney, a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, and Troy Jollimore, Becky White and Zanja Yudell, professors in the Department of Philosophy, California State University, Chico.

Prof. Jollimore specializes in meta-ethics, normative ethics and philosophy of literature and film. He has also had published scores of popular essays, reviews, and interviews, including an interview with Richard Dawkins for the Voices of Reason video series.

Prof. Mahoney specializes in host-pathogen interactions, inflammation, and signal transduction.

Prof. White specializes in ethical theory and biomedical ethics, areas that first engaged her interest when she was working as a critical care nurse.

Prof. Yudell specializes in philosophy of science, with focus on the philosophy of physics.

The forum is free and open to the public.

The Center for Applied and Professional Ethics promotes ethical reflection about issues of concern within and outside the University. For more information on CAPE go to http://www.csuchico.edu/cape.