Ethics in Action Podcast

20
May

The Rise of Robot Overlords? A Conversation with Dan Feldman

Before Covid 19 turned the world upside down we worried about Artificial General Intelligence and, ultimately, Super-intelligence - the moment when our machines, powered by sophisticated AI, catch up with us and, ultimately, out-perform us. But how coherent, how pressing, are these concerns, really? 

Dan Feldman is a senior research fellow at the UMB Applied Ethics Center. He is a software engineering executive and advisor to startups. He has more than 40 years of experience developing leading edge computing systems in a wide variety of industries, including financial services, health care, and wearable computing. He has served as the senior engineering executive in a number of startups, including two MIT Media Lab spin outs and an early e-health company that received a Computerworld Smithsonian Innovation award. He has served in leadership roles at IBM, Thomson Financial Services, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Kayak. He is currently Chief Technology Officer at Touchplan, a construction collaboration technology company. 

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16
Apr

Thucydides and the Plague: A Conversation with Greg Fried

In the History of the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides provides a vivid description of the physical and social toll that a terrible plague took on Athens, a year or so into its war with Sparta. What explains the staying power of Thucydides' account? And what can we learn from it as we grapple with our own (albeit far less deadly) Covid 19 crisis? 

Greg Fried is Professor of philosophy at Boston College. He has taught at the University of Chicago, Boston University, California State University Los Angeles, and Suffolk University. He teaches and publishes in political philosophy, with a particular interest in responses to challenges to liberal democracy and the rise of ethno-nationalism. He also works in philosophy of law, especially law and hermeneutics; philosophy and race; practical ethics, including just war theory; public philosophy; the history of ethics; Ancient philosophy; and 20th century Continental philosophy, especially Heidegger. Greg's upcoming book is Towards a Polemical Ethics: Between Heidegger and Plato (London: Rowman & Littlefield International, forthcoming 2020). Other works include Confronting Heidegger: A Critical Dialogue on Politics and Philosophy (London: Rowman & Littlefield International), Because It Is Wrong: Torture, Privacy and Presidential Power in the Age of Terror (With Charles Fried. New York: W. W. Norton, 2010) and Heidegger’s Polemos: From Being to Politics (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000).

Reading

 

 

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9
Apr

Setting Priorities in a Pandemic: Who Gets Care? When do We Open the Economy? A conversation with J Hughes

What are the moral criteria for triaging patients when the healthcare system is overwhelmed? How is Massachusetts thinking about this? And, more broadly, what is the appropriate balance between preserving public health and limiting an economic meltdown?

Please note: the last 3 minutes of this conversation are missing due to a Zoom malfunction. So it ends a bit abruptly. But the important stuff is all there!   

James Hughes is a senior research fellow at the UMass Boston Applied Ethics Center. He is a bioethicist and sociologist who serves as the associate provost for institutional research, assessment, and planning at UMass Boston. He holds a doctorate in sociology from the University of Chicago where he taught bioethics at the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics. Since then, he has taught health policy, bioethics, medical sociology, and research methods at Northwestern University, the University of Connecticut, and Trinity College. He is the author of Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond to the Redesigned Human of the Future (2004) and is the co-editor of Surviving the Machine Age: Intelligent Technology and the Transformation of Human Work (2017). In 2005 he co-founded the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET) with Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom, and since then has served as its executive director. Hughes serves as associate editor of the Journal of Evolution and Technology, and as co-founder of the Journal of Posthuman Studies. He is also a fellow of the World Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of Humanity+, the Neuroethics Society, the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities, and the Working Group on Ethics and Technology at Yale University, and served on the State of Connecticut’s Regenerative Medicine Research Advisory Committee. He speaks on medical ethics, health care policy, and future studies worldwide. 

Readings:

Massachusetts Crisis Standards of Care for Covid 19:

https://d279m997dpfwgl.cloudfront.net/wp/2020/04/CSC_April-7_2020.pdf

When Can America Reopen From its Corona Virus Shutdown?

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/04/02/coronavirus-economy-reopen-deaths-balance-analysis-159248

 

 

 

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17
Dec

What is Social Democracy? A Conversation with Jeppe von Platz

Jeppe von Platz teaches philosophy at the University of Richmond. His research focuses on political philosophy, political economy, and the history of philosophy. He has published on questions of distributive justice, the status of economic rights, just war theory, how we should respond to systemic injustices, and Kant’s practical philosophy. Jeppe's book Theories of Distributive Justice: Who Gets What and Why will be coming out with Routledge this spring. In this episode we discuss his new project - on the nature and justifications of European style Social Democracy. 

 

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12
Jun

Philosophy and Our Understanding of Mental Disorders: A Conversation with Jennifer Radden

UMass Boston's Jennifer Radden has made numerous seminal contributions to the philosophy of psychiatry. She has just published an entry on Mental Disorders in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. We talk about how philosophy can help us think about mental health and disorders.  

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28
Jan

AI, Algorithms and the Post Human Future of Governance: A Conversation with J Hughes

How will the rise of AI change state and federal bureaucracies? Are AI mediated politics more democratic? More fair? What does post human governance look like?

James Hughes is a senior research fellow at the Applied Ethics Center at Mass Boston. He is a bioethicist and sociologist who serves as the associate provost for institutional research, assessment, and planning at UMass Boston. He holds a doctorate in sociology from the University of Chicago where he taught bioethics at the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics. Since then, he has taught health policy, bioethics, medical sociology, and research methods at Northwestern University, the University of Connecticut, and Trinity College. He is the author of Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond to the Redesigned Human of the Future (2004) and is the co-editor of Surviving the Machine Age: Intelligent Technology and the Transformation of Human Work (2017). In 2005 he co-founded the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET) with Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom, and since then has served as its executive director. Hughes serves as associate editor of the Journal of Evolution and Technology, and as co-founder of the Journal of Posthuman Studies. He is also a fellow of the World Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of Humanity+, the Neuroethics Society, the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities, and the Working Group on Ethics and Technology at Yale University, and served on the State of Connecticut's Regenerative Medicine Research Advisory Committee. He speaks on medical ethics, health care policy, and future studies worldwide. 

J will be giving a talk on this topic at UMass Boston on February 20th at 2PM. Please join us! email nir.eisikovits@umb.edu for details. 

 

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25
Aug

Should we rename Faneuil Hall? A Conversation with Dana Miranda

Faneuil Hall, one of Boston's most celebrated public spaces and tourist attractions, is named after Peter Faneuil - an 18th century merchant and slave trader. Nir Eisikovits and UConn's Dana Miranda discuss the debate around renaming Faneuil Hall and place it in the context of the national debate around problematic monuments and memorials - from Charlottesville to Yawkey Way. 

Dana Francisco Miranda  is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Connecticut and a Research Fellow at UMass Boston's Applied Ethics Center. His research is in political philosophy, Africana philosophy, and 19th century and contemporary European thought. His research includes examining the political and narrative role of monumentalization. In particular, he has analyzed the reconciliatory significance of the Verdun Monument, the mutable narratives of the Bunker Hill Monument, and the difficulties that arise when dealing with racist monuments. His dissertation investigates the philosophical significance of suicide, depression and well-being for members of the Africana Diaspora. He also currently serves as the secretary of graduate outreach and chair of architectonics for the Caribbean Philosophical Association.

 

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1
Mar

Kant’s Liberal International Order: A Conversation with Claudio Corradetti

Eisikovits and Corradetti discuss the relevance of Kant's celebrated essay "Towards Perpetual Peace"

Is peace a process to be constantly managed or an outcome? Why does Kant think that republicanism is conducive to peace? What's the best way to understand his call for creating a world state? Is that a concrete political proposal? A tool for assessing our own political behavior? In what ways is Kant a realist?

Claudio Corradetti is Associate Professor of Political Philosophy at the University of Rome, Tor Vergata. He has written extensively on transitional justice and human rights theory.  

 

 

 

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28
Feb

No Ethics on Campus: A Conversation with James Keenan

Eisikovits and Keenan discuss the need to create a culture of ethics on college campuses.

How is it that the university - one of the few institutions that teaches ethics - does not give much thought to what it means for it to create an ethical climate on campus? How are the prevalence of sexual assault, the mistreatment of adjunct faculty and racial tensions on campuses related to this failure?

James Keenan is the Canisius Professor and Director of the Jesuit Institute at Boston College. His Book University Ethics: Why Colleges Need A Culture of Ethics was published by Rowman and Littlefield in 2015.

 

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29
Jan

Hate anger and Resentment: A conversation with Thomas Brudholm

Nir Eisikovits hosts Thomas Brudholm of the University of Copenhagen for a discussion about the philosophy of hate, anger, and resentment. The two discuss whether there are more and less legitimate forms of hate, whether it should be understood as an emotion or as an attitude, and whether a philosophical understanding of hate can help us make better sense of these very tense political times.

  • Resources for Further Reading:
    ‘’Hatred Beyond Bigotry," in Hate, Politics, Law: Critical Perspectives on Combating Hate, Oxford University Press, co-edited with B.S. Johansen, forthcoming May 2018.
    "Pondering Hatred" (co-authored with B.S. Johansen), in Emotions and Mass Atrocity, Cambridge University Press, co-edited with J. Lang, forthcoming April 2018.
    "Conceptualizing Hatred Globally: Is Hate Crime a Human Rights Violation?" in J. Schweppe and M.A. Walters (eds.), The Globalization of Hate: Internationalizing Hate Crime?, Oxford University Press, 2016.
    "Hatred as Attitude," Philosophical Paper 39: 3, 289-313 (2010).
    Resentment’s Virtue: Jean Améry and the Refusal to Forgive, Temple University Press, 2008. 
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