Centre for Ethical Philosophy

CEP Events

Future CEP Events

Contact us if you would like further information about CEP events by email or telephone 0191-334-6553 

Cancelled: Harms to Persons as Workers

A CEP workshop in association with the Institute of Advanced Study Hatfield College, Durham, was due to be held on 19-20 March 2009. Unfortunately due to illness this workshop has had to be cancelled. Apologies to all who hoped participate. Please note that the workshop may be rescheduled in 2010, in which case all potential participants will be contacted. Please check the CEP website for updates.

For further details or to answer queries, please write to Soran Reader at centre.ethphil@durham.ac.uk

Past CEP Events

Seminar: Jenifer Booth, Newbattle Abbey College, Edinburgh: Museums and the Politics of Vulnerability

Tuesday 21st October 2008, Hild Bede College, Durham

In this paper Jenny Booth explored the possibility that museums can be sites of Alasdair MacIntyre`s updated Aristotelianism and, in particular, tradition-constituted enquiry. But she replaced MacIntyre’s idea that such enquiry must proceed in communities from which rational dissent has been excluded by an arbitrary post-holder such as the Pope, with the idea of enquiry within communities of different identities who have suffered different hurts. She argued that museums could be used by such groups to negotiate with other groups who have suffered other hurts. Assemblies could be used by the groups to decide the contents of their museums. Combinations of  assemblies and museums would then be used to discuss practices, in a way which starts to resemble the ideal speech situation described by Jurgen Habermas. Some problems of vulnerability can occur when hitherto private things become public. Ethical transcendence can occur between groups by tolerance, friendship and forgiveness.To flesh out these ideas, she developed the concept of a narrative, Aristotelian form of friendship, which she argued can be embodied in the museum. She argued that to avoid the dangers inherent in this form of friendship, and achieve ethical transcendence, requires negotiation between narrative friendship and deontological friendship.

Finally, she argued that the University involves communities debating, and sometimes displaying, their own canonical knowledge in what would previously have been thought of as an ‘adult education’ context.

Workshop Series: Ethics at the Receiving End

Workshop Series, Tuesday Evenings 7.15 - 9.15pm 30 October to 27 November 2007, Durham Clayport Library 

In these workshops we explored ethics from the point of view of the done-to rather than the doer. What issues concern us? We identified concerns with four themes: victims, children, injustice and responses to harm. We read some philosophical, political and psychological writing about each theme in preparation for the workshop, and then spent two hours discussing how this theme had affected us, and the issues it raised. We reached several important insights, one of which was just how important a harm the experience of injustice, or failure of justice, can be.


Seminar: Penelope Deutscher, Northwestern University, USA: Simone de Beauvoir and the Ethics of Ambiguity 

Tuesday 27th February 2007 18:30.  Philosophy Common Room, 51 Old Elvet
Penelope Deutscher spoke about Simone de Beauvoir's original ethics, showing how it is distinct and different from the existentialism Sartre was trying to formulate at that time. De Beauvoir's conception of human being is as essentially involving a lack or negativity which is equivalent to freedom. Women and others' consent to appropriation can then be seen as a way of trying to escape the ambiguity freedom imposes. Ethical achievement for de Beauvoir is then a recognition of ambiguity, lack and otherness which is a rarely achieved ideal. The tension of ambiguity is alleviated by reciprocal recognition, by seeing the self in the other. The political significance of this approach for victims was explored in discussion, when Deutscher explained how de Beauvoir saw the capacity to encounter alterity as connected to political action: to be able to recognise the other as 'like me' is the starting point for political action, as shown in de Beauvoir's significant political work on aging.