Vol. 117 No. 9

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RESTORATIVE JUSTICE IN CENTRAL AMERICA Mike Phipps
A highly detailed account of the repressive character of many governments in Central America, a region described as “the most violent on the planet.” Emphasis is placed on the role of successive U.S. governments in training, funding and arming these repressive forces. The latter oppose social reform and any attempt to improve the living-standards of the majority of people. Parallels are drawn between the current policies toward the region of the Obama Administration and those of previous administrations, such as of the Bushes and of Reagan. Abstract by Tom Rubens. 

THE MENACE OF SCIENCE WITHOUT WISDOM Nicholas Maxwell
A call for a radical re-thinking of the nature and scope of academic enquiry, so that the latter emphasises wisdom-enquiry rather than knowledge-enquiry. By wisdom-enquiry is meant ways of relating factual knowledge to moral issues and values i.e. to problems of living. The aim of wisdom-enquiry is to create a better world, by defining moral problems and proposing solutions to them. This objective involves educating the general public, by reference to both the sciences and the humanities. Abstract by Tom Rubens. 

HEMMING PRIZE ESSAY 2012 1st Prize: Peter Jones
A clear distinction must be made between a morality imposed from above, by some source of authority, and one in which we as individuals are actively involved through the process of making ethical choices. The latter kind bases itself on the experience and rationality of the people who commit to it. Hence, these people can fully justify their commitment as something voluntary and fully thought-out; as distinct from being merely a form of obedience. Also, research has shown that the happiest societies are those in which individuals decide for themselves what moral positions to adopt. Abstract by Tom Rubens. 

HEMMING PRIZE ESSAY 2012 2nd Prize: Lucy Mahon
A moral system could depend exclusively on authority only if that authority were infallible, which is an impossibility. No authority, divine or human, should have the power to override an individual’s rational ethical choices. The aim of any authority is to harmonise the individual’s moral outlook with universally accepted values, so that justice and the common good can both be realised. Abstract by Tom Rubens. 

HEMMING PRIZE ESSAY 2012 3rd Prize: Emily Dyson
A genuine moral system should never be founded on authority, since it requires the individual to make independent decisions about principles governing behaviour. However, these decisions may well be influenced by the moral ideas of other people, especially people who have thought deeply on the subject. This influence is legitimate, provided it is viewed critically and is not a form of coercion. Only as the latter could it be a foundation for morality. Abstract by Tom Rubens. 

VIEWPOINTS: John Hyde, Barbara Smoker

81ST CONWAY MEMORIAL LECTURE 2012 Roger Penrose

SPES EVENING COURSES 2012

ETHICAL SOCIETY EVENTS

 

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