The Cornell Program on Ethics and Public Life promotes interdisciplinary learning about morally central questions concerning public policies and social, political and economic processes. Here are some of our activities, with links to further information.
Semester series. EPL organizes semester-long series in which distinguished visitors address diverse aspects of a topic of vital ethical and political importance. Each visitor gives a public lecture, leads a workshop, and meets informally with Cornell faculty and students. The Fall 2012 series addressed the deep issues concerning economic inequality, liberty, and democracy raised by the 2012 presidential campaigns. The visitors were Jacob Hacker (Political Science, Yale) on the realities and prospects of the American Dream; Larry Bartels (Political Science, Vanderbilt) on the interaction of politics and economic inequality; David Schmidtz (Philosophy, Arizona) on realistic hopes for American politics; Harry Brighouse (Philosophy, Wisconsin-Madison) on equality of opportunity and education; Doug McAdam (Sociology, Stanford) on race, inequality, and polarization; and Hilary Hoynes (Economics, UC Davis) on economic insecurity and the safety net. Videos of their public lectures are posted here.
The Spring 2012 series was on the politics and ethics of the rise of China. The visitors were David Kang (International Relations, USC) on the role of East Asian culture and history in shaping the international impact of China's rise; Justin Yifu Lin (Chief Economist, World Bank) on the causes of China's economic success and its lessons for ending global poverty; Rosemary Foot (International Relations, Oxford) on China's role in the international human rights regime; Joseph Chan (Politics, University of Hong Kong) on neo-Confucian ethics as a modern political guide; Wang Shaoguang (Government, Chinese University of Hong Kong) on efforts to reduce inequality and construct a social safety net in China; and Wang Jisi (International Studies, Peking University) on Beijing's strategic distrust of the U.S. and prospects for overcoming it. Videos of their public lectures are available here.
The Fall 2013 topic will be "After the American Century?: Hopes and Fears for America's Future," addressed by leading figures in diverse fields including political science, economics, history, and philosophy.
Conferences, workshops and seminars in which visitors and Cornell faculty and graduate students share their current research. For example, major figures in ethics and its history came to discuss the diverse, fundamental topics of the work of Barbara Herman in a conference in September 2011.
Initiatives in undergraduate education. The Law and Society minor, open to all undergraduates, provides an opportunity for focused study of law and society from an interdisciplinary perspective. EPL-affiliated faculty and post-doctoral fellows teach a wide array of courses in ethics, social and political philosophy and the philosophy of law, including topics in international justice, biomedical ethics and environmental ethics.
Student awards. Our awards include the Neil Lubow Memorial Essay Prize, awarded each semester to an outstanding essay in ethics or ethical aspects of public policy in a Cornell writing course, and the Robert A. Hatfield Award supporting students in research on ethics in business.
Public lectures. EPL organizes and co-sponsors public lectures on leading issues of ethical and political concern.
If you would like to receive e-mail listserve event notifications, please contact the EPL Administrative Assistant, Margaret Nichols, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (607) 255-8515.