1st Global Conference: Ethics in Public Life - Understandings, Applications, Controversies

Venue: Salzburg

Location: Salzburg, Austria

Event Date/Time: Mar 13, 2009 End Date/Time: Mar 13, 2009
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1st Global Conference Ethics in Public Life: Understandings, Applications, Controversies Friday 13th March - Sunday 15th March 2009 Salzburg, Austria Call for Papers This inter-disciplinary project seeks to explore the role, character, nature and place of ethics in public life. Politicians might use moral rhetoric and justifications for their actions, and public agencies and institutions claim to have ethically informed constitutions, policies and practices, but contemporary critiques have raised significant questions about how ethical public life is. Critics point to an absence of deliberative public engagement with ethical debates, the instrumentality and functionality to ethical processes in policies and institutions and a decided gap between moral rhetoric and ethical thinking. Ethical discourse has arguably become the domain of legitimation for self-interested and ideological preferences, mystification rather than clarity in public debate and moral imposition of rather than ethical debate in public policy, opinion formation and institutional practices and services. The purpose of this project is to provide an international network and space to explore these issues and debates, and to explore them across disciplinary and domain boundaries. Hence, we are open to papers, panels or workshops on any areas of applied ethical thinking from business ethics through bioethics to sexual ethics and all fields in between. We are interested in papers, panels and workshops from meta-ethicists and those whose work is mainly within an applied field. We are particularly interested, however, in papers, panels and workshops that transcend both sets of boundaries, seek synergies between different domains and levels of abstraction and application, and that seek to move forward the agenda for how we promote the understanding and application of ethical deliberation in public life. The Project underpinning this inaugural conference seeks to promote discussion that develops a critical understanding of ethics in public life, both in the past and present, and use that insight to speculate on the public understandings and applications of ethics in the future. In doing so, it recognises that the interdisciplinary basis of such an analysis will take in the fields of art, cultural studies, education studies, health and medicine, history, literature, philosophy, politics, sociology, social and public policy, social theory and open avenues to wider and more diverse disciplinary connections, and the project welcomes interdisciplinary explorations that cross boundaries as well as those that deepen understanding within their disciplines. Some broad indicative themes are suggested below to indicate the sorts of issues that might be addressed in conference papers and workshops. A. Public Understandings of Ethics and Ethical Education for Public Understandings What does the public understand by ethical conduct? How are we educated or socialised into what ethical conduct in public life is? What is the nature, scope and limitations of ethical education in promoting an ethical public life? To what extent does moral education promote or impede ethical thinking? How do we understand and evaluate political, cultural and educational ways of inculcating ethics in the public realm? B. Ethical Regulations, Codes and Scrutiny in Public Life What do ethical regulations, codes and scrutiny offer to more ethical practice in public life? What form and character should ethical regulations, codes and scrutiny take to effectively develop ethical practice in the public realm? Are current regulations, codes and scrutiny effective? To what extent do regulations, codes and scrutiny necessarily represent the cultural character and political interests of their practitioners? How can we improve regulation, code-making and scrutiny in public life and ensure its effectiveness? C. Ethics in Social and Public Policy-Making: from Governance to Implementation How do particular nations, agencies and organisations develop ethical governance for more ethical practice in public life? What form and character should ethical governance take in informing policy and practice in the public realm? How do those involved in ethical governance ensure principles are implemented effectively in policy and practice? To what extent does governance necessarily represent the cultural character and political interests of their practitioners? How can we improve ethical governance? D. Intellectuals, Academia, the Arts, Culture and Ethical Knowledge What special issues arise from intellectuals and academics engagement with ethics in their work? How effective is the ethical governance and regulation of academia and the arts? Is all intellectual and artist work (in all disciplines and fields) necessarily subject to ethical thinking and regulation? To what extent should artists and intellectuals be exempt from ethical regulation to speak to truth? In what ways can culture and the arts be ethical regulated and yet free to express themselves? E. Applied Ethics in Public and Private Life How do different industries, organisations and fields (business, health and medicine, education, politics and whatever other areas you have expertise in) perform ethically in public life? What general lessons can we learn from considering the ethical governance and regulation of particular examples in particular nations? What different areas of public life set contemporary challenges for those who seek to inculcate ethics in public life? How can ethical guidance inform ethical practice in both public and private realms? What relationship is there and should there be between ethics in public life and ethics in private life? F. Ethics and Public Life: Historical Perspectives What can we learn from historical examples of ethical governance, regulation, conduct and practice? How far are historical writings and examples of ethical principles and practice from the past applicable to the present? G. Applying Ethical Theories and Ideas to Public Problems and Issues How useful is ethical theory in guiding ethical governance, regulation, policy and practice? How