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Department of Philosophy

Department of Philosophy, Cornell University Cornell University Cornell University Department of Philosophy

Program on Ethics and Public Life

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(607) 255-8515




MONDAY, APRIL 13, 2015


Hatfield Award Flyer 2015



Kelsey Mollura ('15) has won a Neil Lubow prize for her essay, "The Right to Work:Dissonance Between Federal and Local Perspectives on the Undocumented Workers of Los Angeles." The prize is awarded every semester for an outstanding essay in ethics, including ethics and public policy, and is a joint initiative of EPL and the Knight Institute, funded by the Riger-Potash Family Fund.


Claudia GoldinAs part of the Arts College celebration of Cornell's Sesquicentennial, EPL, along with the Department of Economics, organized a visit by Claudia Goldin (Economics, Harvard) in which she presented some of her pathbreaking work on economic inequality. In her October 23 lecture, "A Grand Convergence: Its Last Chapter" (4:30 pm, Lewis Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall), she discussed how women might finally achieve equality in the labor market, emphasizing flexible work policies that would benefit many men, as well. The video of her lecture is available here.


white-boxThe 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.

"Where is China Headed?": EPL Online and On Campus. EPL is creating a structured set of free online videos on where China is headed. Topics will  include "At the Crossroads: Hopes and Fears for China's Economy", "Migrant Workers' Lives and Struggles, " (including extensive documentary material shot for the video), "Demystifying Chinese Governance," "Protest Past: Tiananmen 1989 in Depth" (including an audio recording made in the square on June 4, 1989),  "Protest Present: the Yue Yuen Strike and Beyond," "Where Is the New Leadership Headed?", and "Is Democracy in China's Future?"  The videos will present powerful documentary footage, and analysis, background and arguments from diverse perspectives by leading experts at Cornell and elsewhere, both in the United States and China. As part of their contributions to this project, Ching Kwan Lee (Sociology, UCLA) and Tony Saich (Kennedy School of Government, Harvard) will give public lectures at Cornell on the future of politics, protest and governance in China, on September 22 and November 3. These videos are planned as the first in a series of EPL online video sets, for access by individuals and use in courses, addressing controversial public topics of vital humane concern. They will be posted in this website and on YouTube. More information on this project (including videos of public lectures soon after they are delivered) is available here.

Semester series. EPL organizes semester-long series in which distinguished visitors address diverse aspects of a topic of vital ethical and political importance. The most recent topic was "After the American Century: Fears and Hopes for America's Future." Thomas Mann (Brookings Institution), Marilyn Young (History, NYU), Richard Freeman (Economics, Harvard), Daniel Rodgers (History, Princeton), Lisa Lynch (Economics, Brandeis), and Ellis Goldberg (Political Science, University of Washington) addressed widely prevalent worries that the new normal condition of the United States stifles important aspirations that were viable in the past. Other series topics have been "Deep Issues of the 2012 Elections: Equality, Liberty and Democracy" (with Jacob Hacker, Larry Bartels , David Schmidtz , Harry Brighouse, Doug McAdam, and Hilary Hoynes) and "The Politics and Ethics of the Rise of China" (with Justin Lin, Wang Shaoguang, Joseph Chan, Wang Jisi, Rosemary Foot and David Kang). An archive of videos of the public lectures in all three series is available here.

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 or (607) 255-8515.