Centre for Ethics brings together graduate students from U of T and beyond

Centre for Ethics brings together graduate students from U of T and beyond

Policy and power, identity and federalism. These were some of the themes explored at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Ethics on Friday. The interdisciplinary conference, Imagining 150: The Ethics of Canada’s Sesquicentennial brought together graduate students from diverse disciplines – religion, history, law, and political science – to explore ethical issues as Canada approaches its 150th birthday. [U of T News]

Joint Working Group on Refugee Board Credibility Assessment

Under the direction of Hilary Evans Cameron, Postdoctoral Associate at the Centre for Ethics, undergraduate students from Trinity College’s Ethics, Society & Law program, along with students from Osgoode Hall Law School, came together at the Centre for Ethics for the final stage of a year-long research project. The Osgoode-Trinity Credibility Assessment Working Group set out to produce guidelines to help Refugee Board members make better decisions about refugee claimants’ credibility. Policy documents in Canada and abroad warn of the dangers of rejecting a claimant’s evidence based on certain kinds of factors (the claimant’s demeanour, memory for dates, minor inconsistencies, etc.). Rather than repeat these important warnings, the Osgoode-Trinity Credibility Assessment Guidelines propose a new way of looking at credibility assessment and its role in a refugee hearing, drawing on recent cognitive scientific research. These Guidelines, presented to the Immigration and Refugee Board in April 2017, use a novel evidence-based framework that suggests that Board members should approach this task with a new set of aims and processes.

The Ethics of Fake News

In March 2017, UofT’s Ethics, Society, and Law Students’ Association in collaboration with the Centre for Ethics hosted an academic panel discussion on The Ethics of Fake News. We are living in what is repeatedly referred to as the post-truth era, witnessing a loss of trust in traditional media outlets, and social media accelerating the circulation of false, unverified, and exaggerated information. The term “fake news” itself has become deeply controversial as its use has devolved from a critique of the proliferation of false stories and conspiracy theories, to an attack on the legitimacy of political opposition; even the pervasiveness of the problem remains contentious. This discussion will explore the ethical obligations that apply to both producers and consumers of journalism, recognizing that inflammatory distortion of facts is not a partisan issue, but a threat to the function of a free, open, and critical press.

Jeffrey Dvorkin, lecturer and director of the Journalism Program at UTSC, and also a board member of the Canadian Journalism foundation, is a frequent commentator on ethics of media in the digital age and the future of the journalism industry.

Kathy English, the public editor of the Toronto Star, and a member of the Canadian Journalism Association Ethics Panel and the executive committee of the Canadian Journalism foundation brings a unique perspective through her direct experience of upholding and enforcing journalistic ethics and responsibility.

The Ethics and Economics of Incentivizing the Uninformed

eFORUM (feat. Sandro Ambuehl) [☛ Event]

Sandro Ambuehl
Department of Management UTSC &
Rotman School of Management

Economists often espouse incentives, since they can lead to desirable outcomes simply by enlarging the set of voluntary choices available. Becker and Elias (2007), for instance, argue that allowing incentives for living organ donation would be a Pareto-improvement. Ethicists, by contrast, are typically queasy about incentives, in particular as they apply to transactions like organ donation, medical trial participation, or surrogate motherhood. Continue reading

Leonard Cohen: Ethics and the Artist

eFORUM (feat. George Elliott Clarke, Laura Menard, Norman Ravvin & Leo Zaibert) [☛ Event[☛ eVideos]

george_elliott_clarke_1024x1024KADDISH FOR LEONARD COHEN
George Elliott Clarke
E.J. Pratt Professor of Canadian Literature, University of Toronto, Department of English & Parliamentary Poet Laureate

Kaddish for Leonard Cohen
(à la manière d’Allen Ginsberg)

This terrible, irritable dawn—
This morning of Mourning
His obituary crowbars apart
Prophecy and Nostalgia…. Continue reading

The Ethics of Ethics and Literature

eFORUM (feat. Eva-Lynn Jagoe, Emma Planinc & Simon Stern) [☛ Event]

Eva-Lynn JagoeJAGOE_E
Professor of Comparative Literature & Spanish and Portuguese, University of Toronto

I have two things to say about ethics and literature, and when I think about them, I sometimes don’t know how to square the circle of my strongly held assertions. I’ll try to do it here. So, the first one: Continue reading