Past Events @ C4E

  • Fri, Jul 23, 2021
    Conferences, Ethics of AI in Context
    POSTPONED … Conference: The Ethics of AI in Medicine

    ► This event has been postponed until further notice.

    The Ethics of AI in Medicine: An Interdisciplinary & International Workshop:

    There is a growing literature in the ethics and philosophy of AI on one side and an already strong literature in the philosophy of medicine and medical ethics on the other side. Few attempts at bringing together the two disciplines have been made, despite many connections. The questions of bias or of transparency, for instance, have been studied in both disciplines, yet in a somewhat disjointed manner. This workshop thus aims to confront different disciplines on the topic of AI in medicine: philosophy of medicine, ethics and social sciences. The goal is to understand how conceptual and ethical issues in AI in medicine interact and may impact health.

    Schedule

    11am [= 8am Pacific/4pm UK/5pm Europe]
    Panel 1: Uncertainty and Trust
    Benjamin Chin-Yee (Medicine, Western University), AI, Ethics and the Quest for Medical Certainty
    Paola Nicolas (Biomedical Ethics, New York Medical College), Mistrust and Fear of Replaceability in the Age of Big Data in Health Care

    12pm [= 9am/5pm/6pm]
    Panel 2: Explainability and Effectiveness
    Juliette Ferry-Danini (Philosophy & Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto), What Is the Problem with the Opacity of Artificial Intelligence in Medicine?
    Alex John London (Philosophy & Center for Ethics and Policy, Carnegie Mellon University), The Structure of Clinical Translation: Why We Need Prospective Clinical Trials of AI in Medicine

    1pm [= 10am/6pm/7pm]
    Panel 3: Practical Challenges
    Océane Fiant (Centre François Viète, Université de Nantes), The Deployment of Artificial Intelligence in Medicine: A Perspective Based on the Study of the Use of a Decision Tree for the Diagnosis of Pulmonary Embolisms in Emergency Medicine
    Niccolo Tempini (Data Studies, University of Exeter & Alan Turing Institute), Practical Considerations for Ethics Review of DS/AI Research: A Preliminary Summary of Challenges and Best Practices

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 11am, Friday, July 23 [= 8am Pacific/4pm UK/5pm Central Europe]. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream.

    11:00 AM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto

  • Sat, Jul 17, 2021
    Conferences
    Ethics, Intersections, Reflections (C4E Undergraduate Research Conference 2021)

    Ethics, Intersections, Reflections (C4E Undergraduate Research Conference 2021) 

    The conference will bring together UofT students and recent graduates from across disciplines to present and discuss research on current issues, in the spirit of the C4E’s mission to explore the ethical dimensions of individual, social, and political life. We aim to publish a special conference symposium in the Centre’s multimedia online journal, C4eJournal. All departmental affiliations and disciplines are welcome!

    ➡️  Registration is required to attend this event. Register here to receive the Zoom link for the conference.

    Conference Schedule

    12 pm – Welcome 

    Panel I Ethics in Context

    12:05 – Jeffrey Ma, Rearranging Arranged Marriage in Modern India: How Netflix’s Indian Matchmaking Elucidates the Positionality of the Modern Neoliberal Subject

    12:15 pm – Bailey Irene Midori Hoy, My Family’s Haunted Left Stairway: An Autoethnography on Trauma and Memory through the Lense of Haunting Studies, Japanese Folklore and Material Culture

    12:25 pm Discussion

    Panel II Ethics in Policy 

    12:45 pm – Maliha Sarwar, It Takes a Village… Or Maybe a Lottery?: Contextualizing Covid-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Among Black Americans

    12:55 pm – Tsitsi Macherera, Surveillance in Higher-Education and How Campuses Can Resist

    1:05 pm – Discussion 

    Panel III Ethics in Theory

    1:25 pm – Alex Heyman, Information Utilitarianism 

    1:35 pm – Ariel LaFayette, An Existentialist Challenge to Karl Marx’s Vision of Jewish Emancipation

    1:45 pm – Discussion

    Speakers

    Jeffrey Ma is a recent graduate of the University of Toronto, having completed his undergraduate Bachelors of Arts degree with a major in History and Anthropology in 2021. He is looking forward to pursuing a J.D. at the University of Michigan Law School starting this fall. His academic interests involve topics related to the history of the Asian diaspora in North America, the history and development of cultural foodways, as well as the realities of neoliberalism and globalization in Asia. In his free time, he enjoys baking, listening to podcasts, and a variety of arts & crafts.

    Bailey Irene Midori Hoy is a recent graduate of the University of Toronto. A fourth generation Japanese Canadian, she developed an interest in her community’s history while completing a history specialist. This passion, coupled with an interest in fashion, has led to work related to diaspora, feminism, and material culture. In 2020 she was a co-recipient of the Richard Lee Insights Through Asia Challenge, where she conducted research on the relationship between kimono and Japanese Canadian women, currently under review for publication in Re: locations journal. Recently, she finished her senior thesis on Japanese American Beauty Queens. Bailey is currently working as a research assistant, and helping curate an exhibit on origami for the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre. Other interests include historical reenactment, stand-up paddleboarding, and bubble tea.

    Maliha Sarwar (she/her) is pursuing a double major at the University of Toronto in Sociocultural Anthropology and History. Her presentation at the Ethics Intersections Reflections conference examines the institutional medical racism in the United States, and its impact on COVID-19 vaccine uptake in Black Americans. Through her research she hopes to shed light on the importance of working directly with communities to better understand intergenerational medical trauma and create long term solutions for a more equitable future. Maliha is incredibly interested in the intersection of ethics and policy, and enjoys examining contemporary global issues through a historical lens. When she’s not working, Maliha loves to take long walks through Toronto and explore new parts of the city.

    Tsitsi Macherera is a recent graduate from the University of Toronto. Their research interests include black feminist thought, urban planning, and more recently surveillance studies. In her free time, she enjoys film photography, jump rope, and finding new music.

     

     

    Ana Brinkerhoff is a fourth-year undergraduate student at University College. She is completing Majors in Political Science and Sociology. Her research interests include political sociology, intersectional gender studies, critical carceral studies, and unenforced policy. Ana wishes to continue her education at the graduate level in the future and hopes to conduct research on the failures of the Canadian state and how this failure reinforces societal inequalities. Ana is from Vancouver, BC and is excited to return to campus in the Fall.

    Alex Heyman is a former C4E Undergraduate Fellow (2020-21) and a recent graduate from U of T (Class of 2021) with a BSc in Computer Science and Cognitive Science, plus a Philosophy minor. They have been interested in philosophy since being introduced to it by their parents in middle school, with chief interests including ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of mind. They take a consequentialist approach to ethics, and hope to help integrate ethical and safety concerns into the field of AI research in their future career. Outside of academia, they are an amateur writer of both fiction and non-fiction, as well as a hobbyist designer and programmer of retro-style video games.

    Ariel LaFayette‘s research interests are in the phenomenology of religious experience and ethical debates in the philosophy of mind. She is particularly interested in how topics in the philosophy of religion can be re-interpreted to shed light on progressive solutions to contemporary ethical problems. Ariel is also an editor of Pensées Canadiennes—the national philosophy undergraduate journal, and the editor-in-chief of Noesis—UofT’s philosophy undergraduate journal. She is currently in the final year of her undergraduate degree, double-majoring in philosophy and cognitive science.

    12:00 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto

  • Thu, Jul 15, 2021
    Conferences, Race, Ethics + Power
    Unbound Questions / Ethical Interventions (Race, Ethics + Power Capstone Event)

    Unbound Questions / Ethical Interventions (Race, Ethics + Power Capstone Event)

    This gathering brings together undergraduate and graduate fellows as well as research associates as they share their current scholarly work as part of the Race, Ethics, and Power project. As an interdisciplinary collective of researchers, the presentations offer interventions across a variety of fields of study to address ethical concerns regarding methodology and practice.

    Session I: Ethical Geography and Itinerancy

    Chelsey Liu, Ethics in Research: Exploring Indigeneity
    My research will centre around the ethics of research in Indigenous communities, and the ways it should be conducted in order to preserve and strengthen Indigenous ecological knowledge and culture. Drawing from guidelines such as Linda Smith’s “Decolonizing Methodologies”, which uses Kaupapa Maori as an approach to culturally appropriate research protocols and methodologies, I want to evaluate the impacts of colonial research and how to de-colonialize current Indigenous ecological research conducted for extraction and the expansion of Western knowledge. When it comes to Indigenous ecological knowledge, how can extractivism occur with knowledge? How should Indigenous ecological knowledge research be conducted when considering the complex cultural layering of principles which have emerged through colonization? By engaging with various methodologies, I endeavour to explore the importance of research in establishing self-determination, legitimacy, and resistance for Indigenous peoples.

    Andrew M. Thomas, Ontological Abduction: Black Geographies & Bodies as Problem of Thought within Germany
    This research project is a thematic literature review of the source of and reality of anti-Black racism within present-day Germany. It explores the early sources of anti-or proto-anti-African (Black) racism that stretches back to antiquity, found in medieval cartography, in medieval literature, and within modernity’s school of thought. Specifically, it explores proto-anti-African thought or rather cartographical race or racism that Europeans projected onto the African continent and its people that continues to haunt people of African heritage in Germany.

    Christopher Smith, Route Thoughts: Wandering, Intuition, Itinerancy
    Itinerancy denotes various forms of movement and mobility and acquires manifold meanings through its synonyms such as “wandering,” “roaming,” and so on. In this presentation I opt for a notion of itinerancy to assemble a language to illuminate how Black queer diasporic performances of dissent disrupt and/or augment Pride festivities to offer alternate routes for Black LGBT+ communion. Thus, itinerancy or an “itinerant hospitality” enables a grammar that attends to moments of “surprise” instantiated by Black LGBT+ presence from an “elsewhere” that falls outside of and yet contests dominant historical accounts of queer liberation and its Black queer and Trans* progenitors.

    Session II: Colonial Failure & Systems Analysis

    Kamilah Ebrahim, The Limits of Anti-Trust Regulation: Refocusing Towards Epistemic Power
    The current monopoly over data production, collection and information platforms centralizes epistemic power and the capacity to accumulate economic capital through data. At the same time this process dispossesses marginalized and racialized communities from the data they are producing. The result is a dynamic that mirrors the dispossession created through colonialism in a new form of “techno-imperialism”. Current debates surrounding monopoly structures in technology tend to focus on the economic effects rather than the epistemic consequences, this talk will refocus this conversation and consider the pros and cons of anti-trust policy solutions currently being considered in Canada.

    Vasuki Shanmuganathan, Colonial Failure and Race in Paul Heyse’s Medea
    In the nineteenth century, European imperialists were long used to being at a crossroad with biopolitics reshaping constructions of race, global abolitionism, and violent uprisings in the colonies. Studying debates in a post-abolitionist Germany and its literary salons and parliaments suggests ethics became central to deliberations on the conditions of racialized people albeit through the understanding of a relational and comparative approach to other imperialists.

    I demonstrate how German literature contributed to writing race histories within a global narrative of race, and illustrate how works were often influenced by and compared to the Second French Empire. I examine the novella Medea (1898) and early poem Urica (1852) by German writer Paul Heyse as an example where this relational and comparative mode of ethics is seen as initially hopeful. Heyse uses this understanding as a departure point to criticize genealogies of violence against the racialized body. He does this by casting the Black woman as protagonist in both his works and living legacies of violence. Through mentions of their family lineage, children, and other modes of reading gendered bodies, the reader learns that a sense of ethics among Europeans was entangled with economic survival of imperialists and less so about the changes abolitionists long called for.


    Kamilah Ebrahim is a Master of Information candidate concentrating in Human Centred Data Science at the University of Toronto. Kamilah recently graduated from the University of Waterloo with an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Economics. She is also a graduate fellow at the University of Toronto Center for Ethics where she hopes to explore her research interests in the intersection of technology and the political economies of data collection globally and locally. When Kamilah is not in class or working on her research, she enjoys finding new spots for gnocchi in Toronto.

    Chelsey Liu is an undergraduate student at UofT studying Political Science, Environmental Studies, and a minor in Environmental Ethics. This year, she is an undergraduate Fellow with the Race, Ethics, and Power project. Through her position as a fellow, she hopes to broaden her knowledge and research interests on the intersectionalities between climate justice, race, and ethics, and exploring the ways that political governance and hegemonic structures of racial inequality shape societal movements. During her free time, Chelsey enjoys snacking while curled up on the couch with a good book/movie.

    Dr. Vasuki Shanmuganathan is a Research Associate at the Centre for Ethics with the Race, Ethics, and Power (REP) Project. Her research is at the intersections of race, colonialism, and health. As a Research Lead with the SHADES study supported by Women’s College Hospital, she examines the impact of shadeism across racialized communities. Previously, she studied what constitutes promising care practices in Canadian Long Term Care as part of a national research team with YU-CARE at the Faculty of Health, York University. Her current project looks at concepts of race and health in the colonial context and its impact on current policies. She is also the founder of the Tamil Archive Project (TAP).

    Dr. Christopher Smith (they/them) is a Research Associate at the Center for Ethics at University of Toronto with the Race, Ethics, and Power Project. They received their Ph.D. from the Dept. of Social Justice Education – Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) / University of Toronto in 2020. Their research interests reside in the productive interstices of Black Diaspora Cultural Studies, Black expressive cultures and practices, Queer and Feminist Theory, including Post-Colonial and Decolonial studies.

    Andrew M. Thomas (he/him) is a queer Jamaican-born Canadian settler who has lived much of his life in Canada. However, he now splits his time between Munich, Germany, and Toronto, Canada with his partner and two cats, Reds and Fats, while pursuing graduate studies in human geography at the University of Toronto, St. George. His interest spans various subjects that include, but is not limited to, Black feminist thoughts, post-colonialism, queer colour of critique, intersectionality, native studies, philosophy of knowledge, ontology, and affect theory. Through the Race, Ethics, and Power fellowship, he hopes to interrogate the ethics of understanding racism as primarily, as advanced by its advocates, as rooted in implicit bias, through which racism and racial hegemony can be dismantled through the implicit bias test, as taken up by many institutions both here in North America, and Europe. During the summers, he works as an English camp counsellor and as an ESL facilitator in Munich, Germany, working with children, teens, and adults, and where he has lived and worked for the last twelve years.


    ➨ please register here

    ★ This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on July 15, 2021. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream.

    ► To stay informed about other upcoming events at the Centre for Ethics, opportunities, and more, please sign up for our newsletter.

    03:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto

  • Fri, Jul 9, 2021
    Conferences
    CANCELLED … Conference: The Ethics of Human Rights

    ► This event has been cancelled until further notice.

    The Ethics of Human Rights

    This international and interdisciplinary conference tackles several key questions concerning human rights today: What is the most claims to human rights can achieve? How can human rights be a starting point for making claims on the nation-state? Are human rights claims necessarily addressed to nation-states? And what alternative political visions do human rights exclude? Panels of leading anthropologists, legal theorists, political scientists, and philosophers will discuss and debate these questions. Workshop proceedings will appear in a special symposium issue of C4eJournal.net.

    Preliminary Schedule

    12pm [= 9am Pacific/5pm UK/6pm Central Europe]
    Panel 1: Human Rights and Africa
    Catherine Bolten
    , Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Notre Dame
    “What Counts as a Right? Formal Education, Vocational Training, and Bad Faith in Sierra Leone”
    The right to education was enacted into law in Sierra Leone in 2007. This right ostensibly enabled universal access to education; in practice it codified a devaluation of vocational training, implying that apprentices have “failed” at their rights, and that artisans who train apprentices are encouraging children to “violate their own rights.” The government focused on packing children into overcrowded and under-resourced classrooms, even as they did not alter the policy that forces children to leave school when they fail their exams, and fewer than 1% of students advance to tertiary education. School dropouts often seek vocational training, however, because of the government’s narrow emphasis on formal instruction, most vocational workshops are unfunded, under-resourced, and are denied credibility as educational institutes because they are not allowed to issue paperwork certifying the qualifications of their journeymen. I argue that the emphasis on formal education—especially in an economy that relies on artisanal work and has an extremely small professional sector—reveals that “the right to education” in Sierra Leone was designed and implemented as a bad-faith imitation of the Global North. Rather than creating opportunities for people to reach their potential and recognizing the diversity of that potential, this narrow conceptualization of rights has unethically prioritized a sector that benefits only a few, exacerbating social and economic inequalities rather than overcoming them.

    Ayça Çubukçu, Associate Professor in Human Rights and Co-Director of LSE Human Rights, London School of Economics
    “On Afropolitanism”
    In Out of the Dark Night (2021), Achille Mbembe develops the notion of Afropolitanism as he points toward new, “liberatory” models of community and humanity. In this talk, I will think with Mbembe about Afropolitanism in an effort to rethink the imperial trappings of liberal cosmopolitanism as an ethics of human rights.

    1pm [= 10am/6pm/7pm]
    Panel 2: State Borders and Rights
    Ayten Gündoğdu, Tow Associate Professor of Political Science, Barnard College
    “Border Deaths and the Crisis of Human Rights”
    Borders have become increasingly lethal with the adoption of ever more restrictionist policies and technologies of immigration control. Taking its starting point from the regime of impunity surrounding migrant deaths, this paper offers a critique of existing juridico-political frameworks, including universal human rights norms, that render migrants precarious in life and in death. I mobilize the term “forced disappearances” to capture how various border control practices push migrants beyond the pale of the law, make it difficult for their families and friends to locate their whereabouts, and render their lives disposable. To the extent that domestic and international laws offer various justifications of these practices in the name of territorial sovereignty, they actively participate in making migrants invisible, or “dead,” in the eyes of the law. A form of civil death precedes migrants’ physical deaths, in other words, and it can help explain why the latter remain unaccounted for, legally and politically.

    Yanilda González, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School of Government
    “Democratic Participation in Policing and the Reproduction of Asymmetric Citizenship: The Contradictions of Participatory Security in São Paulo, Brazil”
    This paper explores a fundamental paradox between democratic participation and policing. For some citizens, formal spaces for participation in policing can expand their citizenship rights by opening up access to the state and by fomenting government responsiveness to their demands. Yet for marginalized groups, expanded opportunities for citizen participation in policing often generates demands for repression against them, thereby contracting their citizenship rights. We contend that democratic participation in policing often engenders these contradictions, resulting in what we call asymmetric citizenship: when the expansion of rights for some citizens is achieved through the contraction of others’ citizenship rights. We propose three mechanisms by which participatory security institutions, which create formal spaces for citizen participation in policing and security, produce asymmetric citizenship: (1) by defining some groups as virtuous citizens while labeling marginalized groups as security threats; (2) by acting as gatekeeper that amplifies the voice of virtuous citizens and silences those deemed to be security threats; and (3) by articulating demands for police repression of security threats to protect the rights of virtuous citizens. We illustrate the framework through a qualitative analysis of São Paulo’s Community Security Councils, demonstrating how that expanding citizen participation in policing deepens the experience of citizenship for some by generating exclusion and police repression of marginalized segments of society. In contrast to much of the literature on participatory democracy, our analysis elucidates mechanisms through which democratic participation can reproduce, rather than ameliorate, unequal policing.

    2:00pm [= 11am/7pm/8pm]
    Panel 3: Human Rights and Ethical Claims
    Kelly Staples, Associate Professor of International Politics, School of History, Politics and International Relations, University of Leicester
    “Claiming Human Rights: Solidarity and Statelessness”
    This talk will consider human rights claims in the context of stateless persons and refugees, considering both to be in the position of having to claim their human rights. The perspective on human rights which underpins the talk is a quasi-foundational one in which what it means to “claim” human rights is argued to be contingent on the relationship between claimant and community. Given the continuing role of nation-states in protecting, respecting and fulfilling human rights, the talk will first consider what might be achieved through claims on states. However, it will also attempt to de-center the state by considering the role of other sub- and supra-state communities in responding to the human rights claims of refugees and stateless persons. Given the challenges in particular of ending statelessness, this opens up an alternative vision for their emancipation and empowerment.

    Benjamin Davis, Post-doctoral Fellow in Ethics, University of Toronto, Centre for Ethics
    “Stuart Hall’s Use of Human Rights: An Ethics for the Left”
    In developing a method for cultural studies, Stuart Hall endorsed the use of human rights. Rights claims, he suggested, are a key part of a Left vocabulary. In this talk, I develop Hall’s claim by arguing that human rights are a starting point not only for Left politics, but also for Left ethics. “The Left has rarely talked about that space in which the difference between the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ is defined,” Hall maintained in his final lecture of what became Cultural Studies 1983. Human rights, I suggest, provide a secular mode for Left ethics to enter this ethical space, what Hall calls “the domain of the moral.” In addition to reading his lectures on cultural studies, I also consider his essay “Marx’s Notes on Method,” where he suggests that social phenomena can only be understood in particular contexts. Taken together, Hall’s lectures and essay present Left actors today with a way to address the traditional tension between the universal and the particular in rights claims: the vocabulary gains traction only through ethical reiterations in varying contexts.

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 12pm, Friday, July 9 [= 9am Pacific/5pm UK/6pm Central Europe]. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream.

     

    12:00 PM - 03:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto

  • Wed, Jun 9, 2021
    Author Meets Critics, Ethics in the City, Ethics in Context
    POSTPONED … Author Meets Critics: Mark Kingwell, The Ethics of Architecture (Ethics in Context)

    ► This event has been postponed until further notice.

    The Ethics of Architecture (OUP 2021)

    Mark Kingwell
    Department of Philosophy
    University of Toronto

    Participants
    Martin Bressani
    (McGill, Architecture)
    Theresa Enright
    (UofT, Political Science)
    Mary Louise Lobsinger (UofT, Architecture)
    Thilo Schaefer
    (UofT, Political Science) (moderator)

    The Book: The Ethics of Architecture

    A lively and accessible discussion of how architecture functions in a complex world of obligation and responsibility, with a preface offering specific discussion of architecture during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

    What are the special ethical obligations assumed by architects? Because their work creates the basic material conditions that make all other human activity possible, architects and their associates in building enjoy vast influence on how we all live, work, play, worship, and think. With this influence comes tremendous, and not always examined, responsibility. This book addresses the range of ethical issues that architects face, with a broad understanding of ethics. Beyond strictly professional duties – transparency, technical competence, fair trading – lie more profound issues that move into aesthetic, political, and existential realms. Does an architect have a duty to create art, if not always beautiful art? Should an architect feel obliged to serve a community and not just a client? Is justice a possible orientation for architectural practice? Is there such a thing as feeling compelled to “shelter being” in architectural work? By taking these usually abstract questions into the region of physical creation, the book attempts a reformulation of “architectural ethics” as a matter of deep reflection on the architect’s role as both citizen and caretaker. Thinkers and makers discussed include Le Corbusier, Martin Heidegger, Lewis Mumford, Rem Koolhaas, Jane Jacobs, Arthur Danto, and John Rawls.

    The Series: Ethics in Context

    The Ethics of Architecture is the first book in a new series, Ethics in Context, published by Oxford University Press under the auspices of the Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto, that explores the ethical dimensions of interesting, provocative, and timely questions. Written to be read, and priced to be bought, books in the series are accessible, yet provide something rigorous that stimulates thought and debate, in keeping with the interdisciplinary and inclusive vision that animates the Centre for Ethics at the interface between academic research and public discourse.

    Like its institutional home, Ethics in Context takes a broad, contextual, view of ethics: not as falling within the purview of a specific discipline but as a mode of normative analysis particularly well suited for interdisciplinary and public-facing reflection.

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 4pm, Wednesday, June 9. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other C4E events, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    ► To stay informed about other upcoming events at the Centre for Ethics, opportunities, and more, please sign up for our newsletter.

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Fri, May 7, 2021
    Conferences, Ethics of AI in Context
    Conference: Transparency in the Digital Environment

    Transparency in the Digital Environment

    Transparency has become an astonishingly popular ideal over the last couple of decades. Its traditional habitats, public law and political theory, have lost their monopoly to define it. It has globalized and spilled over to new disciplinary discourses – quite prominently, in algorithms and automation – thus becoming a well-nigh self-justificatory virtue, “the cultural signifier of neutrality.” Transparency promises that we can witness, immediately, what happens in the chambers of power, and by virtue of this witnessing, fix what needs to be fixed.

    Can we, really? In the wake of post-truth politics, fake news and alternative facts, this promise needs to be reassessed. Governance uses increasingly computerized forms, automated decision-making and even machine learning, often taking place in opaque “black boxes.” At the same time, due to our online behavior, big data and even deliberate manipulation, we are pulled towards solipsistic realities: echo chambers and filter bubbles. These trends may distance us from interactive democratic deliberation, which presupposes some shared understanding of reality.

    Can transparency deliver its promise in a digitalized environment? Does power hide not only from transparency but in transparency? Is it just a figurative placeholder for information release practices, or has it become a meta-discourse to assess the successfulness of those practices? To what extent is it legal, social, cultural, technical, material? These questions are important.

    Algorithmic governance may not have a human understandable form to represent. What would be made visible, then?

    There is a growing literature on critical transparency studies which argues convincingly that transparency is not an avenue to objective truth. Additionally, critical algorithm studies suggest, in turn, that algorithmization of our society cannot take place in a social vacuum. So far, law has not contributed much to those debates. To a large extent, it seems to subscribe quite uncritically to the realist theory of knowledge and concentrate on doctrinal analysis of freedom of information acts, or data protection law.

    ★ This online conference will feature contributors to a special issue, guest edited by Ida Koivisto (Law, Helsinki), in the open-access online journal Critical Analysis of Law: An International & Interdisciplinary Law Review. ► Access the special issue here.

    Schedule

    10am [= 7am Pacific/3pm UK/4pm Central Europe/5pm Finland]
    Panel 1: Digital Transparency Between Truth and Power
    10:00 Introduction
    10:05 “Transparency-Washing” in the Digital Age: A Corporate Agenda of Procedural Fetishism (Monika Zalnieriute, in absentia) (summary by Ida Koivisto)
    10:10 Crafting Digital Transparency: Implementing Legal Values into Algorithmic Design
    (Riikka Koulu)
    10:25 The Digital Rear Window: Epistemologies of Digital Transparency
    (Ida Koivisto)
    10:40 Three Sides of the Same Coin: Datafied Transparency, Biometric Surveillance, and Algorithmic Governmentalities (Oana B. Albu & Hans Krause Hansen)
    10:55 Discussion & Q&A

    11:30am [= 8:30am/4:30pm/5:30pm/6:30pm]
    Panel 2: The Promise and Perils of Digital Transparency
    11:30 Algorithmic Transparency and Explainability for EU Consumer Protection: Unwrapping the Regulatory Premises (Mateusz Grochowski, Agnieszka Jabłonowska, Francesca Lagioia & Giovanni Sartor)
    11:45 Notified But Unaware: Third-Party Tracking Online (Stefan Larsson, Anders Jensen-Urstad, & Fredrik Heintz)
    12:00 A “Public” Journey Through COVID-19: Donald Trump, Twitter, and the Secrecy of U.S. Presidents’ Health (Mark Fenster)
    12:15 Transparent Dreams (Are Made of This): Counterfactuals as Transparency Tools in ADM (Katja de Vries)
    12:30 Discussion & Q&A

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 10am, Friday, May 7 [= 7am Pacific/3pm UK/4pm Central Europe/5pm Finland]. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream.

    Contributors:

    Co-sponsor:

    10:00 AM - 01:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto

  • Wed, Apr 28, 2021
    Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars
    Julian Posada, Disembeddedness in Data Annotation for Machine Learning (Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars)

    Disembeddedness in Data Annotation for Machine Learning

    What happens when data annotation and algorithmic verification occurs in a significantly deregulated market? Today, many AI companies outsource these essential steps in developing machine learning algorithms to workers worldwide through digital labour platforms. This labour market has experienced a race to the bottom environment where most of the workers are situated in Venezuela, a country experiencing a profound social, political, and economic crisis, with the world’s highest inflation rates. This talk presents preliminary findings of ongoing research to explore how the “disembededness” of this market, in which economic activity is unconstrained (or deregulated) by institutions, affects workers’ livelihoods and, ultimately, the algorithms they are shaping. The talk explores this situation through the working conditions of platform users, the composition of their local networks, and the power relations between them, ML developers, and platforms.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Wednesday, April 28. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    ► To stay informed about other upcoming events at the Centre for Ethics, opportunities, and more, please sign up for our newsletter.

    Julian PosadaJulian Posada
    Faculty of Information
    University of Toronto

    04:00 PM - 05:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Apr 21, 2021
    Ethics of Songs
    The Ethics of Songs: Deep River (African American spiritual, arr. H.T. Burleigh), with Ellie Hisama

    Join us for the Spring 2021 Season of The Ethics of Songs, the Centre for Ethics YouTube series that explores the ethical dimensions of songs familiar and new! (The full schedule is available here.)

    Ellie Hisama
    Music and Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality
    Columbia University

    Produced and edited by Laura Menard (Music & Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto)

    Ellie Hisama is Professor of Music and a member of the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Columbia University, where she has taught since 2006. The author of Gendering Musical Modernism, she has published on the music of Geri Allen, Joan Armatrading, Benjamin Britten, Ruth Crawford, Julius Eastman, and DJ Kuttin Kandi. She will join the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music in July 2021 as Professor of Music and its next Dean.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event, available on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    ► To stay informed about other upcoming events at the Centre for Ethics, opportunities, and more, please sign up for our newsletter.

    03:00 PM - 03:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Apr 14, 2021
    Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars
    Noam Kolt, Predicting Consumer Contracts with GPT-3: A Legal Case Study in Computational Language Models (Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars)

    Predicting Consumer Contracts with GPT-3: A Legal Case Study in Computational Language Models

    Computational language models can perform a wide range of complex tasks by predicting the next word in a sequence. In the legal domain, language models can summarize laws, draft case documents, and translate legal jargon into plain English. While language models could potentially empower consumers, they could also provide misleading legal advice and entrench harmful biases. By exploring the extent to which GPT-3 can understand consumer contracts, this case study sheds light on the opportunities and challenges of using language models to inform consumers of their legal rights and obligations.
    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Wednesday, April 14. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    ► To stay informed about other upcoming events at the Centre for Ethics, opportunities, and more, please sign up for our newsletter.

    Noam Kolt
    Faculty of Law
    Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society
    University of Toronto 

     

    04:00 PM - 05:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Mon, Apr 12, 2021
    Public Lectures, Events on Campus
    Aniruddhan Vasudevan, Translating Ethical Gestures: Notes on Language from Ethnographic Practice

    Translating Ethical Gestures: Notes on Language from Ethnographic Practice

    This is an academic talk hosted online by the JHI Working Group on Tamil Studies at the University of Toronto.

    Important ethical acts are often accomplished in short stretches of language. In interactional settings, word choices, substitutions, juxtapositions, and avoidances can perform acts of care, signal inclusion, communicate ethical stances, and keep open or foreclose possibilities for relationality. This talk explores the pleasures and challenges of getting at the ethical surround of such interactional speech in ethnographic settings. Based on his ethnographic fieldwork with thirunangai-maruladis (thirunangai trans women committed to ecstatic devotion to the goddess) in Chennai, India, Vasudevan’s talk will explore both the ethical accomplishments of everyday Tamil speech among his thirunangai interlocutors as well as the scales of social context that come into play. How do people seize the ethical affordances of situations they encounter and the language that is available to them? What happens when they fail to do so, or think they have failed to do so? Do particular words and expressions shimmer with ethical significance? What kinds of translation can help us see the ethical labor our interlocutors do with language? The talk will explore such questions through ethnographic vignettes.

    Dr. Aniruddhan Vasudevan is a sociocultural anthropologist whose research focuses on the intersections of gender and sexuality, religion, and ethics of relationality and care. He is also a translator of celebrated works of fiction by Tamil authors Ambai and Perumal Murugan. He is currently a Link-Cotsen Postdoctoral Fellow in the Society of Fellows and Lecturer in the Council of the Humanities and Anthropology at Princeton University.

    ► please register here

    12:00 PM - 02:00 PM


  • Wed, Apr 7, 2021
    Ethics, Aesthetics, Feminisms
    Ara Osterweil, The Aesthetics of Care (Ethics, Aesthetics, Feminisms)

    The Aesthetics of Care

    In this talk, artist, scholar, and writer Ara Osterweil considers the tensions between art-making and caregiving. How does the ethical imperative to care for others conflict with the felt imperative to create? How can the constraints of caregiving be imagined anew as generative limits for more urgent and expansive ways of making art and being in the world? How has this eternal dilemma for women artists and writers been exacerbated in our current state crisis and emergency? Amidst considerations of the poems of Sylvia Plath, the paintings of Alice Neel, and the charged work of a handful of other women artists, Osterweil reflects on her own beleaguered practice as mother-artist-writer-teacher as a way of articulating the impossible necessity of an aesthetics of care.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Wednesday, April 7. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    ► To stay informed about other upcoming events at the Centre for Ethics, opportunities, and more, please sign up for our newsletter.

    Ara Osterweil
    English
    McGill University

    Ara Osterweil is a writer, abstract painter, and scholar. She is also an Associate Professor of Cultural Studies in the English Department, as well as Director of the World Cinema Program at McGill University. Her first book, Flesh Cinema: The Corporeal Turn in American Avant-Garde Film (Manchester University Press, 2014), examines the representation of sexuality in experimental film of the 1960s and 1970s. She writes for Artforum and has published essays in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Film Quarterly, Film Culture, Camera Obscura, Little Joe, Framework, The Brooklyn Rail, and Millennium Film Journal. She is currently working on two books: The Pedophilic Imagination: A History of American Film, and a collection of experimental prose entitled Stains & Fragments. You can explore more of her work here: www.araosterweil.com

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Apr 7, 2021
    Ethics of Songs
    The Ethics of Songs: "Glück, das mir verblieb" from Die tote Stadt (by Erich Wolfgang Korngold), with Amanda Hsieh

    Join us for the Spring 2021 Season of The Ethics of Songs, the Centre for Ethics YouTube series that explores the ethical dimensions of songs familiar and new! (The full schedule is available here.)

    Amanda Hsieh
    Historical Musicology
    Chinese University of Hong Kong

    Produced and edited by Laura Menard (Music & Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto)

    Amanda Hsieh is Research Assistant Professor of Historical Musicology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Their scholarship explores categories of gender and nation and their intertwined manifestations within opera of the late nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries. While their doctoral work locates opera in the Austro-German context, their next book-length project treats opera as a transnational—and even global—phenomenon between Germany and Japan. They are the latest winner of the Jerome Roche Prize and their work has been supported by grants and fellowships from, among others, the DAAD, the Austrian Cultural Forum New York, and the Jackman Humanities Institute at the University of Toronto. Their writing can be found in the Journal of the Royal Musical Association and Music & Letters. They have just been appointed as Reviews Editor of both the Journal of the Royal Musical Association and the RMA Research Chronicle.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event, available on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    ► To stay informed about other upcoming events at the Centre for Ethics, opportunities, and more, please sign up for our newsletter.

    03:00 PM - 03:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Mar 30, 2021
    Ethics of AI in Context
    Ben Green, Algorithmic Governance: The Promises and Perils of Government Algorithms (Ethics of AI in Context)

    Algorithmic Governance: The Promises and Perils of Government Algorithms

    Governments increasingly use algorithms (such as machine learning predictions) as a central tool to distribute resources and make important decisions. Although these algorithms are often hailed for their ability to improve public policy implementation, they also raise significant concerns related to racial oppression, surveillance, inequality, technocracy, and privatization. While some government algorithms demonstrate an ability to advance important public policy goals, others—such as predictive policing, facial recognition, and welfare fraud detection—exacerbate already unjust policies and institutions. This talk will explore some of the technical, political, and institutional factors that lead to algorithmic harms and will introduce an agenda for developing and regulating algorithms in the interest of equity and social justice.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Tuesday, March 30. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    ► To stay informed about other upcoming events at the Centre for Ethics, opportunities, and more, please sign up for our newsletter.

    Ben GreenBen Green
    Postdoctoral Scholar
    Michigan Society of Fellows

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Thu, Mar 25, 2021
    Critical Race Studies, Race, Ethics + Power
    Michael Dawson, Why Race and Capitalism Not Racial Capitalism? (Critical Race Studies: Interdisciplinary Perspectives)

    Why Race and Capitalism Not Racial Capitalism?

    I discuss three frameworks that are designed to describe and analyze the interaction between race and capitalism. They are Cedric Robinson’s original framework of “racial capitalism;” the framework of “race and capitalism” frame adopted by me and some colleagues at the National Race and Capitalism Project; and a third category that Satnam Virdee has labeled “racialized capitalism.”  All three frameworks specify the relationship between race, (usually signifying a structural phenomenon such as systemic racism, institutional racism, and/or white supremacy), and capitalism or the capitalist social order.*  There is substantial divergence on how capital/capitalism/the capitalist social order is conceived. A key question is whether structural racism and/or patriarchy are internal to, if constitutive of a capitalist social order, or if patriarchy, white supremacy, and capitalism represent three systems of domination that while tightly articulated with each other still have their own internal logics (including sets of privileges, exclusions, and modes of violence specific to each).  I conclude by analyzing what is at stake, what are the critical differences and where do the family resemblances end.

    * There are extensive literatures that I do not address in this chapter.  For example, as Peter Hudson and Adom Getachew have independently demonstrated, there is an extensive literature on “race and class” that emerges from the struggles in Southern Africa, the Caribbean as well as anti-racist struggles in continental Europe and the United Kingdom.  On both sides of the Atlantic, particularly during the 20th century there was extensive discussion of the relationship between race, class, and sometimes gender by theorists such as Claudia Jones, CLR James, W.E.B. Du Bois, and later during the black power era those such as James Boggs.  These literatures are not addressed here but will be in future work. As Hudson has forcefully argued, the term seems to first have been used extensively in South Africa.  See Jenkins and Leroy, p. 4, for a specific citation of a South African theorist’s usage.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Thursday, March 25. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    ► To stay informed about other upcoming events at the Centre for Ethics, opportunities, and more, please sign up for our newsletter.

    Michael DawsonMichael Dawson
    Political Science
    University of Chicago

     

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Mar 24, 2021
    Ethics, Aesthetics, Feminisms
    Grace Lavery, Pleasure and Efficacy: Techniques of Trans Feminist Criticism (Ethics, Aesthetics, Feminisms)

    Pleasure and Efficacy: Techniques of Trans Feminist Criticism

    “She really knows how to have a good time.” Such an assessment presupposes two premises, neither of which we conventionally take for granted: that following certain procedures will produce a good time, and that those procedures can be known in advance. In this lecture, I will explore the logical foundations of these claims, and their implications for the techniques of pleasure-giving and receiving that I take to be essential to the possibility of trans feminist thriving, and the focus of both suppressive patriarchal epistemologies, and anti-trans feminist thought. Through brief and critical readings in the work of the feminist eugenicist Marie Stopes, the cult leader and science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, and the anonymously published “big book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, I sketch an historiography of the “one weird trick your doctor doesn’t want you to know,”– by which feminists can create anew our own bodies, communities, and politics. In so doing, I aim to refresh Michel Foucault’s call in 1977, to “withdraw allegiance from the old categories of the Negative (law, limit, castration, lack, lacuna), which Western thought has so long held sacred as a form of power and an access to reality,” and instead to rebuild our world with our own knowledge-practices, trained not on what satisfies, intrigues, or expresses, but on what works.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event co-hosted by the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies and the English & Drama Department at University of Toronto, Mississauga. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Wednesday, March 24. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    ► To stay informed about other upcoming events at the Centre for Ethics, opportunities, and more, please sign up for our newsletter.

    Grace LaveryGrace Lavery
    English
    University of California, Berkeley

    Grace Lavery is Associate Professor in the Department of English at UC Berkeley, and general editor of Transgender Studies Quarterly. She is the author of Quaint, Exquisite: Victorian Aesthetics and the Idea of Japan (Princeton 2020), which won the NAVSA “Best Book of the Year” prize, and of Please Miss, an experimental memoir which will be published by Seal Press in 2021. Her essays have appeared in Critical Inquiry, Differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, English Literary History, and elsewhere. She is currently completing two books––one on trans feminist rhetorics of technique, from which this lecture is drawn, and one on the problem of narrative closure in the age of the sitcom.

    Co-sponsored by:

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Mar 24, 2021
    Ethics of Songs
    The Ethics of Songs: Collegiate A Cappella, with Roger Mantie

    Join us for the Spring 2021 Season of The Ethics of Songs, the Centre for Ethics YouTube series that explores the ethical dimensions of songs familiar and new! (The full schedule is available here.)

    Collegiate A Cappella: Examining the Ethics of Collegiate A Cappella Ensembles Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto, March 24, 2021

    Roger Mantie
    Arts, Culture & Media
    University of Toronto

    Produced and edited by Laura Menard (Music & Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto)

    Roger Mantie (PhD) is Associate Professor, Department of Arts, Culture and Media at University of Toronto Scarborough, with a graduate appointment at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Mantie is co-author (with Brent Talbot) of Education, Music, and the Social Lives of Undergraduates: Collegiate A Cappella and the Pursuit of Happiness (Bloomsbury Press), and co-editor (with Alex Ruthmann) of the Oxford Handbook of Technology and Music Education (2017) and co-editor (with Gareth Dylan Smith) of the Oxford Handbook of Music Making and Leisure (2016). Complete info at rogermantie.com

    ► please register here

    This is an online event, available on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    ► To stay informed about other upcoming events at the Centre for Ethics, opportunities, and more, please sign up for our newsletter.
    03:00 PM - 03:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Mon, Mar 22, 2021
    Ethics & Caribbean Philosophy
    Miguel Gualdrón Ramírez, Édouard Glissant’s Ethics (Ethics & Caribbean Philosophy)

    Édouard Glissant’s Ethics

    Miguel Gualdrón Ramírez is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at The University of North Texas. His work focuses on the interconnection between history, politics, and aesthetics in Latin America and the Caribbean, and philosophical attempts at approaching these topics collectively. In his Ethics and Caribbean Philosophy presentation, we will discuss his recent essay “To ’stay where you are’ as a decolonial gesture: Glissant’s philosophy of Caribbean history in the context of Césaire and Fanon.”

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Monday, March 22. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Miguel Gualdrón RamírezMiguel Gualdrón Ramírez
    Philosophy

    University of North Texas

    06:00 PM - 07:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Thu, Mar 18, 2021
    Race, Ethics + Power: Emerging Scholars
    Jonathan Kwan, Transitional Legitimacy: A Framework for Theorizing Structural Racism, (Race, Ethics + Power: Emerging Scholars)

    Transitional Legitimacy: A Framework for Theorizing Structural Racism

    Structural racism is not only unjust but also undermines the legitimacy of political institutions. Legitimacy makes a weaker but prior demand to justice and refers to a political entity’s right to rule in the first place whereas justice concerns whether that rule is exercised in keeping with what subjects are owed. By analogy to the concept of transitional justice which applies to post-conflict or post-war societies, I argue that a concept of transitional legitimacy is needed for theorizing how to realize legitimate political institutions from within ill-ordered societies marked by structural racism and oppression. Theories of legitimacy by themselves are inadequate to the task because they simply specify the conditions that constitute legitimacy and operate from within an ideal theory approach that does not sufficiently account for non-ideal circumstances of oppression and domination. Taking structural racism against African Americans in the U.S. as a case study, I argue that transitional legitimacy requires the public affirmation of everyone’s equal political status (via e.g., truth commissions and legitimate apologies for past harm), the rule of law to guard against racial discrimination, the dismantling of racialized mass incarceration, de facto protection of democratic rights rather than voter suppression, and reparations for past and enduring injustices.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Thursday, March 18. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Jonathan KwanJonathan Kwan is the Inclusive Excellence Postdoctoral Fellow in Immigration Ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University. As a social and political philosopher, Jonathan works on contemporary issues such as immigration, climate justice, Indigenous rights, and structural racism. He also has interests in Chinese philosophy, Buddhist philosophy, and the philosophy of art. He earned his philosophy PhD and a Women’s Studies Certificate from The Graduate Center, CUNY. He has taught at Hunter College, Brooklyn College, Baruch College, and LaGuardia Community College and served as the Managing Editor of the Journal of Social Philosophy.


    04:00 PM - 05:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Mar 10, 2021
    Ethics, Aesthetics, Feminisms
    Rey Chow & Austin Safar, "We Other Victorians"? Novelistic Remains, Therapeutic Devices, Contemporary Televisual Dramas (Ethics, Aesthetics, Feminisms)

    As part of our Ethics, Aesthetics, Feminisms series, the Centre for Ethics is excited to present a unique seminar event with Dr. Rey Chow and Austin Safar where they will discuss their recent co-authored paper, ‘”We Other Victorians”? Novelistic Remains, Therapeutic Devices, Contemporary Televisual Dramas.’ This seminar will take place on Wednesday, March 10th, 4-5:30pm EDT. This event will not be live-streamed, so attendees must register in advance to receive the seminar’s Zoom link. We will be capping the event at 100 participants. Please register with your name and email using this form. Attendees should also read the paper in advance of our meeting. You can find the paper here. Please contact Doctoral Fellow Amanda Greer with any questions or concerns at amanda.greer@mail.utoronto.ca.

    Rey ChowRey Chow
    Literature
    Trinity College of Arts and Sciences, Duke University

     

     

     

    Austin Sarfan is a Ph.D. candidate in the Program in Literature at the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences at Duke University. He is completing a dissertation on the postcolonial reception of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, with broad research interests in literary modernism, poststructuralism, and the cultural study of the emotions.

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Mar 10, 2021
    Ethics of Songs
    The Ethics of Songs: Making Plans for Nigel (by XTC), with David Jager

    Join us for the Spring 2021 Season of The Ethics of Songs, the Centre for Ethics YouTube series that explores the ethical dimensions of songs familiar and new! (The full schedule is available here.)

    David Jager
    Faculty of Music
    University of Toronto

    Produced and edited by Laura Menard (Music & Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto)

    David Jager is a writer, musician and performer living in Toronto. He has been keyboardist for the Montreal Ska Band The Kingpins, lead singer and pianist for French Jazzy swing band Swing Dynamique, and was musical director and arranger for the Toronto avant-burlesque troupe The Scandelles. David shifted to composition with his original musical “Get To Nomi”, about the New Wave counter tenor Klaus Nomi, which debuted at NYC’s La Mama Theatre in 2016. He currently has two additional scripts in production. David Jager recently completed his doctorate at the U of T faculty of music, addressing the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze and its possible implications for music education, titled “Listening to Difference: Deleuze and Music Education”.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event, available on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    03:00 PM - 03:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Mon, Mar 8, 2021
    Perspectives on Ethics
    Rima Basu, Normative Expectations (Perspectives on Ethics)

    Normative Expectations

    In supplementing the familiar ways that our interpersonal relationships are morally fraught, recent work in epistemology on doxastic wronging has highlighted how these relationships can be epistemically fraught as well. However, in focusing predominantly on beliefs— mental states that arguably constitute a small fraction of our mental lives—these theories have their own theoretical blindspots. In this paper, I expand the scope of analysis to expectations. Typically, we notice the failures of expectations when we’re the targets of them: when we let our loved ones down. Key indicators of normative expectations are feelings of disappointment and betrayal. Contexts in which we these feelings manifest most vividly involve parents and their hopes and dreams for our lives. Focusing on these contexts, I argue that normative expectations play three distinctive roles: a predictive role, a prescriptive role, and a proleptic role. Each role, I conjecture, comes with its own avenue for moral, epistemic, and conceptual failure. Ultimately, in precisifying the heterogeneous class of attitudes that constitute normative expectations, I reveal just how expansive the ‘doxastic’ in doxastic wronging ought be.

    please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Monday, March 8. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Rima BasuRima Basu
    Philosophy
    Claremont McKenna College

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Fri, Mar 5, 2021
    Race, Ethics + Power
    Ricky Varghese & Benjamin Weil, Privilege, Race & Imagined Immunities in the Time of COVID (Race, Ethics + Power Flash Event)

    Privilege, Race & Imagined Immunities* in the Time of COVID

    As the COVID-19 pandemic endures into 2021 there are many ways to describe this moment such as “catastrophic”. We might also add “revelatory” to this list of descriptors. Revelatory in the sense that in moments of crisis, such as a pandemic, power structures of racial and economic inequality and inaccessibility to health care become more visible. These structures were present prior to, yet become more acute, when we consider the profile of the “good” or “responsible” citizen. But what constitutes the “bad or irresponsible citizen”? For example, individuals who ignore lockdown protocols, travel restrictions, or in recent trends wherein elites utilize power and privilege to travel and acquire a vaccine from regions with vulnerable communities? The desire to imagine the “bad citizen” is equally revelatory because in their actions an assumed social contract – perhaps founded upon an ethics of “care” has been breached or disregarded entirely. Who is empowered to do so without impunity? More importantly do crises such as a pandemic prompt us to critically question the “social contract” assumed to encapsulate an ethics of care that is seen as a collective aspiration and practice, but enacted differently?

    *Wald, Priscilla. Contagious: Cultures, Carriers and the Outbreak Narrative. Duke UP (2008)

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Friday, March 5. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

     

    Ricky Varghese
    Gender, Disability, and Social Justice

    Ryerson University

    Ricky Varghese received his PhD in Sociology of Education from the University of Toronto. He holds the Tanis Doe postdoctoral research fellowship in Gender, Disability, and Social Justice at the School of Disability Studies at Ryerson University. He will be heading a SSHRC-funded speakers’ series titled “Sex and the Pandemic: Convergences and Divergences in Queer Men’s Sexual Health in the Midst of HIV/AIDS and COVID-19” which will run from May through to October of this year. He is also a psychotherapist in private practice since 2014, and a candidate in training to become a psychoanalyst through the Toronto Institute of Psychoanalysis.

     

    Benjamin Weil
    Science and Technology Studies

    University College London

    Benjamin Weil is a PhD candidate in the Science and Technology Studies Department at University College London. His thesis, supported by the Economic and Social Research Council, is a critical inquiry into the protest of the so-called “gay blood ban” in the UK. He works at the intersection of queer and science and technology studies and is also a founding member of the Decolonise STEM collective.

    01:00 PM - 02:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Mar 3, 2021
    Ethics, Aesthetics, Feminisms
    Jodi Byrd, What Remains: Colonial Racial Capitalism, Videogames, and an Empire in Play (Ethics, Aesthetics, Feminisms)

    What Remains: Colonial Racial Capitalism, Videogames, and an Empire in Play

    As videogame designers respond to critiques of and demands for gendered and racial representations, more and more games have started to offer alternative embodiments and narratives to consider the gendered dynamics of who is imagined to design, play, and otherwise consume videogames. In a close reading of two videogames, What Remains of Edith Finch (Giant Sparrow/Annapurna, 2017) and Until Dawn (Supermassive Games/Sony, 2015), Jodi Byrd will present a chapter from her next book, Indigenomicon: American Indians, Videogames, and the Strutures of Play, and discuss how the lingering imperial horror of settlement and capitalism shape how race and indigeneity are (not) legible within the stories videogames want us to inhabit through play. In requiring but not engaging settlement as a structure of the sublime, the horror that both games produce ultimately obscures US settler imperialism shaped through what Iyko Day terms alien capital and in the process flattens indigeneity into the environments and atmospheres of each game’s denouement of families unable to survive and grieve.

    Jodi A. Byrd is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, Associate Professor of English and gender and women’s studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a faculty affiliate at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. Byrd is the author of The Transit of Empire: Indigenous Critiques of Colonialism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011) and their work has appeared most recently in Social Text, South Atlantic Quarterly, and in Joanne Barker’s Critically Sovereign: Indigenous Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies (Duke UP, 2017).

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Wednesday, March 3. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Jodi ByrdJodi Byrd
    Illinois
    English & Gender and Women’s Studies

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Mon, Mar 1, 2021
    Perspectives on Ethics
    Clare Hemmings, Unnatural Feelings: The Affective Life of ‘Anti-Gender’ Mobilisations (Perspectives on Ethics)

    Unnatural Feelings: The Affective Life of ‘Anti-Gender’ Mobilisations

    This paper explores the spatio-temporal and affective tricks that are central to the success of current, transnational ‘anti-gender’ mobilisations. In these increasingly powerful movements (in Europe, the US, and Latin America in particular) gender equality is presented as needing to be tempered by the ‘common sense’ of ‘sex’ over ‘gender, as a way of resisting the destructiveness of both a feminism gone too far, and the reactionary cultural patriarchalism of the interloper. The focus here is on the affective life of anti-‘gender ideology’ claims, as a way of trying to short-circuit efforts to displace violence onto feminist, queer or migrant others. I explore the ‘anti-gender’ logic of the privileging of ‘sex’ as natural and complementary as precisely the locus of aggression, and make a claim for the importance of rooting feminist, queer and critical race approaches in anti-white supremacist affect in turn. Overall, I am interested in exploring feminist methods for undoing the misogynist, homophobic and racist fantasies of annihilation – their own and ours – as an urgent task for our troubled present.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Monday, March 1. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Clare HemmingsClare Hemmings
    Gender Studies
    LSE

    12:30 PM - 01:45 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Thu, Feb 25, 2021
    Race, Ethics + Power: Emerging Scholars
    Gayathri Naganathan, Shadeism, Sexual Health, and Diasporic Women's Experiences (Race, Ethics + Power: Emerging Scholars)

    Shadeism, Sexual Health, and Diasporic Women’s Experiences

    Shadeism is the process by which lighter skin is equated with perceived health and social benefits. Studies suggest racialized women have an additional burden to adhere to Eurocentric beauty standards in order to be seen as employable, attractive, and socially and culturally desirable (Charles & McLean 2017; Veenstra, 2011). However, what remains to be studied is how shadeism mediates 1) priorities (gender, self-image, lifestyle, social relationships, familial networks, employment, social mobility, class, caste) leading to lightening practices; 2) the narrative of ‘looking healthy’ to be connected to lighter skin beauty; and 3) how the ethics of researching racialized communities influences which health issues are prioritized. How racialized women treat their skin reveals much about the pressures of societal expectations (Rozen et al., 2012). Through a combination of informant interviews, focus groups with arts-based activities (photo voice, oral histories (Forbear, 2016) and one-on-one interviews, this qualitative pilot project led by ASAAP first aims to examine how racialized cis and transwomen ages 16-35 from the Caribbean, South Asian, Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) regions are affected by shadeism and how it impacts their sexual health. The approach will be from an anti-oppressive, Intersectional Feminist analysis, and in this talk I will call attention to the complex ways in which shadeism, gender, sex, caste, race, class, location, religion, and age inequities create societal pressure for cis and transwomen.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Thursday, February 25. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Gayathri Naganathan
    General Surgery Resident
    University of Toronto

    Dr. Naganathan is a General Surgery Resident Physician at the University of Toronto and an alumna of McMaster University Medical School. She also holds a Master of Science in Health Services Research from the Institute for Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation at the University of Toronto. Her body of work includes research examining the experiences of immigrants, refugees, homeless, and racialized communities in the areas of primary care, mental health, migration, and aging. Her current interests include health policy, health equity, global health, and the application of qualitative methodology within health systems and surgical research.

    04:00 PM - 05:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Feb 24, 2021
    Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars
    Suzanne Kite and Scott Benesiinaabandan, Indigenous Protocols and Artificial Intelligence (Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars)

    Indigenous Protocols and Artificial Intelligence

    Scott Benesiinaabandan and Suzanne Kite will be in conversation around their research, practice, and contributions to the Indigenous Protocol and Artificial Intelligence Position Paper.

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Wednesday, February 24. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    ► please register here

    Kite Suzanne Kiteaka Suzanne Kite is an Oglala Lakota performance artist, visual artist, and composer raised in Southern California, with an MFA from Bard College’s Milton Avery Graduate School, and is a PhD candidate at Concordia University, Research Assistant for the Initiative for Indigenous Futures, and a 2019 Trudeau Scholar. Her research is concerned with contemporary Lakota ontologies through research-creation, computational media, and performance practice. Recently, Kite has been developing a body interface for movement performances, carbon fiber sculptures, immersive video & sound installations.

    Scott BenesiinaabandanScott Benesiinaabandan
    Anishinabe Intermedia Artist

    Scott Benesiinaabandan is an Anishinaabe intermedia artist that currently works in experimental image-making and sonic materials. Scott’s current research interests are intersections of artificial intelligence and Anishinaabemowin, Scott has completed international residencies at Parramatta Artist Studios in Australia, Context Gallery in Derry, North of Ireland, and University Lethbridge/Royal Institute of Technology iAIR residency,  along with international collaborative projects in both the U.K and Ireland. Scott has completed residencies with Initiative for Indigenous Futures and AbTec in Montreal.  Scott is currently based in Montreal, where he is completing a MFA in photography.

    04:00 PM - 05:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Feb 23, 2021
    Ethics of AI in Context
    Elettra Bietti, From Ethics Washing to Ethics Bashing: Viewing Tech Ethics from Within Moral Philosophy (Ethics of AI in Context)

    From Ethics Washing to Ethics Bashing: Viewing Tech Ethics from Within Moral Philosophy

    The word ‘ethics’ is overused in technology policy circles. Weaponized in support of deregulation, self-regulation or hands-off governance, “ethics” is increasingly identified with technology companies’ self-regulatory efforts and with shallow appearances of ethical behavior. So-called “ethics washing” by tech companies is on the rise, prompting criticism and scrutiny from scholars and the tech community at large. In parallel to the growth of ethics washing, its condemnation has led to a tendency to engage in “ethics bashing.” This consists in the trivialization of ethics and moral philosophy now understood as discrete tools or pre-formed social structures such as ethics boards, self-governance schemes or stakeholder groups.

    The misunderstandings underlying ethics bashing are at least three-fold: (a) philosophy is understood in opposition and as alternative to law, political representation and social organizing; (b) philosophy and “ethics” are seen as a formalistic methodology, vulnerable to instrumentalization and abuse, and thus ontologically flawed; and (c) engagement in moral philosophy is downplayed and portrayed as mere “ivory tower” intellectualization of complex problems that need to be dealt with through alternative and more practical methodologies.

    This talk argues that the rhetoric of ethics and morality should not be reductively instrumentalized, either by the industry in the form of “ethics washing,” or by scholars and policy-makers in the form of “ethics bashing.” Grappling with the role of philosophy and ethics requires moving beyond simplification and seeing ethics as a mode of inquiry that facilitates the evaluation of competing tech policy strategies. In other words, we must resist narrow reductivism of moral philosophy as instrumentalized performance and renew our faith in its intrinsic moral value as a mode of knowledge-seeking and inquiry. Far from mandating a self-regulatory scheme or a given governance structure, moral philosophy in fact facilitates the questioning and reconsideration of any given practice, situating it within a complex web of legal, political and economic institutions. Moral philosophy indeed can shed new light on human practices by adding needed perspective, explaining the relationship between technology and other worthy goals, situating technology within the human, the social, the political.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Tuesday, February 23. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Elettra Bietti
    Harvard Law School

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Thu, Feb 18, 2021
    Race, Ethics + Power: Emerging Scholars
    Senthuran Varatharajah, Where Are You From? The Ethical Dilemma of Writing Dis/placed (Race, Ethics + Power: Emerging Scholars)

    Where Are You From? The Ethical Dilemma of Writing Dis/placed

    In conversation with novelist Senthuran Varatharajah, psychoanalyst Ricky Varghese explores a series of interconnected topics centering on the question: what responsibilities does a racialized writer hold through their writing? What promises cannot be made? How does trauma, remembrance, form, diasporic conditions, and theology impact living, writing, and representation for Varatharajah?

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Thursday, February 18. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Senthuran Varatharajah
    Philosopher
    Novelist

    Senthuran Varatharajah is a novelist and philosopher based in Berlin. Varatharajah studied Philosophy, Theology and Comparative Cultural and Religious Studies in Marburg, Berlin and London. His critically acclaimed first novel, Vor der Zunahme der Zeichen, was published in 2016 by S. Fischer. Varatharajah received several major awards, including the 3Sat-Preis, the Kranichsteiner Literaturförderpreis, the Bremer Literaturförderpreis, the Chamisso-Förderpreis and the Rauriser Literaturpreis. His second novel Rot (Hunger) will be published in 2021 by S. Fischer.

    04:00 PM - 05:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Mon, Feb 15, 2021
    Ethics & Caribbean Philosophy
    Kris Sealey, Creolizing the Nation: Nationalism and Caribbean Philosophy (Ethics & Caribbean Philosophy)

    Creolizing the Nation: Nationalism and Caribbean Philosophy

    Kris Sealey is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Fairfield University. Her scholarship is in the areas of Critical Philosophy of Race, Caribbean Philosophy and Decolonial Theory. In her most recent book, Creolizing the Nation, Dr. Sealey investigates how everyday practices of freedom shape both subject formation and community formation in decolonial contexts. Her book offers creolization as a conceptual tool through which such formations might be theorized and brought to bear on contemporary understandings of the nation. In her talk, we will discuss her new book.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Monday, February 15. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Kris SealeyKris Sealey
    Philosophy

    Fairfield University

    06:00 PM - 07:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Thu, Feb 11, 2021
    Critical Race Studies, Race, Ethics + Power
    Dorothy Kim, Race, Gender, and Sexuality: Premodern Critical Intersectionality (Critical Race Studies: Interdisciplinary Perspectives)

    Race, Gender, and Sexuality: Premodern Critical Intersectionality

    Sumi Cho, Kimberlé Crenshaw, and Leslie McCall, in their 2013 article “Toward a Field of Intersectionality Studies: Theory, Applications, and Praxis” (Cho et al. 2013) define the tripartite structure of Intersectionality Studies as “first consisting of applications of an intersectional framework or investigation of intersectional dynamics, the second consisting of discursive debates about the scope and content of intersectionality as a theoretical and methodological paradigm, and the third consisting of political interventions employing an intersectional lens” (Cho et al. 2013: 785). The first intersectional “engagement” really considers how a multi-axis, intersectional frame can help rethink specific, contextual “research and teaching projects” (Cho et al. 2013: 785). The second intersectional “engagement” addresses “theory and methodology,” and asks “whether there is an essential subject of intersectionality and, if so, whether the subject is statically situated in terms of identity, geography, or temporality or is dynamically constituted within institutions and structures that are neither temporally nor spatially circumscribed” (Cho et al. 2013: 785). This area is especially central to discussions in premodern fields because of the dynamic flux in constituting identities in different geographies and the transhistorical discussion that any work on premodern critical intersectionality must undertake. Finally, the third area addresses how intersectionality requires not just theory and methodology, but also praxis particularly in relation to politics, activism, and resistance. This talk resituates this work and then examines it in relation to the premodern archive. We demonstrate how premodern critical intersectionality should address all three areas discussed in Cho, Crenshaw, and McCall’s piece through two different medieval European case studies: St. Mary of Egypt in the Byzantine Empire and the legal documentation of Jewish women in court cases in medieval England. Of course, intersectionality is also always under construction, especially since the various identity categories we are discussing are always in flux in the premodern past. Thus, premodern critical intersectionality will also be dependent on local conditions, geographies, time periods, and group dynamics.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Thursday, February 11. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Dorothy KimDorothy Kim
    English & Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies
    Brandeis University

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Feb 10, 2021
    Ethics, Aesthetics, Feminisms
    Anjo-Marí Gouws, “EXTREMELY BAD MONOLOGUE IN HEAD”: Failure and Form in Anne Charlotte Robertson’s Confessionals (Ethics, Aesthetics, Feminisms)

    “EXTREMELY BAD MONOLOGUE IN HEAD”: Failure and Form in Anne Charlotte Robertson’s Confessionals

    In therapy since the age of 17, filmmaker Anne Charlotte Robertson had, she noted, been given a range of diagnoses over the course of her life: “adult life-crisis adjustment, anxiety, borderline psychotic, manic-depressive, obsessive.” Little documentation survives of these diagnoses; from what does survive, it seems that the diagnoses most consistently made were that of bipolar depression, and of schizoaffective disorder. Her magnum opus Five Year Diary (1981-1998), a multi-modal diary project that includes a forty-hour long Super 8-diary film, at different instances both facilitated her obsessive states of delusion and became a tool for pushing back against the nonsensical. In this talk I am interested in how Robertson employed particular formal devices to make sense of her illness to herself, but also, in an expanded manner, to make sense of her illness to others. She did so through her use of the close-up, in a register of confessional sequences that proliferate throughout the latter part of the film; and through an incorporation of the failure of her apparatus into a larger conversation about the failure of her body. Throughout this analysis I position Robertson’s interventions against the backdrop of the larger history of women’s psychiatric profiling and its capture on camera.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Wednesday, February 10. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Anjo-Marí Gouws

    Dr Anjo-marí Gouws is a SSHRC postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Cinema and Media Arts at York University. She is working on a monograph titled Recording the Work of a World: Anne Charlotte Robertson and the Domestication of Cinema.

     

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Feb 10, 2021
    Ethics at Noon
    Miriam Hird-Younger, The Productivity of Mistrust: The Ethics of Development Partnerships in Ghana (Ethics@Noon-ish)

    The Productivity of Mistrust: The Ethics of Development Partnerships in Ghana

    Trust has been a central tenet of foreign aid for decades, resting on the notion that trust-building will foster the right kind of social relations for development. Expectations on the need to build trust are associated with requirements to work through partnerships with government and private companies for Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) working on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Ghana. This presentation explores how Ghanaian NGOs experience the growing expectation that they work through an ethics of trust and the ways that they affirm, negotiate, and contest collaborations. This research draws on data collected during fifteen months of participant observation and in-depth interviews with national NGOs in an emerging and prominent network on the SDGs. By moving away from approaching trust as a disinterested truism and moral “good,” I identify the counterintuitive ways that mistrust is often an important ethical stance for NGO leaders in the partnerships I studied. Specifically, practices of mistrust are productive for the credibility and legitimacy of NGO-government partnerships. I illustrate how NGO leaders consider eating an “ethical thing” and that when they refuse to eat food at government events, they are publicly demonstrating an independence from government through a practice of mistrust. The perceived “uncompromised” position of NGOS is critical to the successful recognition of the NGO-government partnership by global development agencies. Thus, I open up to empirical study and theoretical consideration the productive potentiality of mistrust and the counterintuitive ways that mistrust can actually be required for a successful partnership.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Wednesday, February 10. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Miriam Hird-Younger
    Centre for Ethics Doctoral Fellow
    Anthropology
    University of Toronto

    12:30 PM - 01:45 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Feb 9, 2021
    Ethics of AI in Context, Race, Ethics + Power
    Devin Guillory, Combatting Anti-Blackness in the AI Community (The Ethics of AI in Context)

    Combatting Anti-Blackness in the AI Community

    The creation of Artificial Intelligence technologies is a communal act. As such, which ideas, people, and technologies are developed are deeply rooted in societal structures that are rarely questioned or thoroughly examined by AI researchers. This talk will focus on mechanisms within the AI community that perpetuate or amplify Anti-Blackness, both within our community and our greater societal structures. From research agendas and funding sources to collaborations and job opportunities, there are countless places where inequality manifest within our community. In addition to describing where and how Anti-Blackness occurs this talk will share lessons learned from community organizing within the AI community and describe some immediate steps that can be taken to build a more just community.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Tuesday, February 9. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Devin GuilloryDevin Guillory
    Computer Science
    UC Berkeley

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Fri, Feb 5, 2021
    Race, Ethics + Power: Emerging Scholars
    Ola Mohammed, The Black Nowhere: The Social and Cultural Politics of Listening to Black Canada[s] (Race, Ethics + Power: Emerging Scholars)

    The Black Nowhere: The Social and Cultural Politics of Listening to Black Canada(s)

    In “Black Like Who” cultural theorist Rinaldo Walcott suggests “settler colonies can be characterized by their struggles over race and space [and that] Canada is no exception” (43).

    More specifically these troublings with race become particularly clear in discussions of the nations’ contentious relation with Blackness. When it comes to Blackness in Canada national historical narratives tend to “render these racial geographies invisible, and many people continue to believe that any black presence in Canada is a recent and urban one spawned by black Caribbean, and now continental African, migration” (Walcott, 43).

    As such, my work explores how listening, despite often being deemed an unmediated physical act, is “an interpretive socially constructed practice conditioned by historically contingent and culturally specific value systems riven with power relations” (Stoever 14).  I ask, what disruptive possibilities exist via sound-thinking to our most conventional ways of thinking about and engaging in historical, social and political reflection of Blackness and anti-Black racism in Canada? How can listening transform the way we think about spatiality and power by tuning into “Black absented presences” (McKittrick 22), or what I call “The Black Nowhere”—which I define as a generative space that demands a nuanced understanding of black being in Canada—in order to consider how sound and forms of hearing play a crucial role in producing and policing spaces.

    Ola Mohammed (she/her) is an Assistant Professor of Black Popular Culture at York University, Toronto, Canada. Ola specializes in interdisciplinary research exploring Black cultural production, Black social life and Black being as sites of possibility. Her current project, The Black Nowhere: The Social and Cultural Politics of Listening to Black Canada(s), examines the sonic dimension of Black social life and anti-Blackness in Canada. Ola has an extensive background in student activism, and is a founding member of the York Black Graduate Students’ Collective which advocated and worked to implement Black Studies/ Black Canadian Studies at York at the undergraduate and graduate level. Some of her key sites of research interests include: Black Popular Music, Black Studies, Sound Studies, Diaspora Studies, Performance Theory and Digital Culture.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Friday, February 5. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Ola MuhammedOla Mohammed
    Humanities
    York University

     

    04:00 PM - 05:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Thu, Feb 4, 2021
    Critical Race Studies, Race, Ethics + Power
    Yolonda Wilson, Death, Pandemic, and Intersectionality: What the Failures in an End-of-Life Case Can Teach About Structural Justice and COVID-19 (Critical Race Studies: Interdisciplinary Perspectives)

    Death, Pandemic, and Intersectionality: What the Failures in an End-of-Life Case Can Teach About Structural Justice and COVID-19

    The case of Jahi McMath came to national prominence in December 2013 after McMath suffered brain death following a tonsillectomy at Children’s Hospital and Research Center in Oakland, CA. That month, the state of California issued a death certificate for McMath. On June 22, 2018, the state of New Jersey also issued a death certificate for McMath.

    Public sentiment about the case not only revealed fault lines along race and religion but also about what it means to die. Implicit in how the McMath case played out, both with various institutional decision-makers and in the court of public opinion, were sensibilities about the relative value of life when viewed through the lens of race, class, and disability.

    Similarly, the current COVID-19 pandemic has also revealed differing value placed on some lives due to race, class, and disability. Public opinion regarding mask mandates, ventilator allocation guidelines, and vaccine distribution plans have all, at various points, reinforced a hierarchy of whose lives mater most. Governmental and other institutional responses have also reinforced this hierarchy.

    Both the McMath case and the current pandemic highlight the importance of understanding how the conceptual framework of intersectionality could guide more just decision-making in individual cases and when creating institutional and government policies to address large-scale health crises.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Thursday, February 4. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Yolonda WilsonYolonda Wilson
    Health Care Ethics
    Saint Louis University

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Fri, Jan 29, 2021
    Author Meets Critics, Ethics of AI in Context, Ethics in the City
    Smart Cities in Canada: Digital Dreams, Corporate Designs (Author Meets Critics)

    Smart Cities in Canada: Digital Dreams, Corporate Designs (Mariana Valverde & Alexandra Flynn eds., 2020)

    Mariana Valverde
    Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies
    University of Toronto

    Alexandra Flynn
    Peter A. Allard School of Law
    University of British Columbia

    Commentators:
    Beth Coleman
    (Institute of Communication, Culture, Information and Technology & Faculty of Information, University of Toronto)
    Renee Sieber
    (Geography, McGill University)
    David Murakami Wood
    (Sociology, Queen’s University)

    Moderator:
    Jamie Duncan
    (Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies, University of Toronto)

    “Smart cities” use surveillance, big data processing and interactive technologies to reshape urban life. Transit riders can see the bus coming on a map on their phones. Cities can measure and analyze the garbage collected from every household. Businesses can track individuals’ movements and precisely target advertisements.

    Google’s failed Sidewalk Labs proposal in Toronto, which drew sharp criticism over surveillance and privacy concerns, is just one of the many smart city projects which have been proposed or are underway in Canada. Iqaluit, Edmonton, Guelph, Montreal, Toronto and other cities and towns are all grappling with how to use these technologies. Some cities have quickly partnered with digital giants like Uber, Bell and IBM. Others have kept their distance. Big tech companies are hard at work recruiting customers and shaping – sometimes making – public policy on data collection and privacy.

    Smart Cities for Canada: Promise and Perils is the first book on smart cities in Canada. In this collection, experts from across the country investigate what this new approach means for the problems cities face, and expose the larger issues about urban planning and democracy raised by smart city technology.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Friday, January 29. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    03:00 PM - 05:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Thu, Jan 28, 2021
    Race, Ethics + Power: Emerging Scholars
    Nisrine Rahal, A Real Battlefield for Emancipation: The Hamburg Kindergarten Movement 1849-1852 (Race, Ethics + Power: Emerging Scholars)

    A Real Battlefield for Emancipation: The Hamburg Kindergarten Movement 1849-1852

    From 1849 to 1852 a network of kindergartens were opened in the German port city of Hamburg. These kindergartens were funded and supported by the dissenting German-Catholic Congregation (established in the city in 1847), the Women’s Association to Support the German-Catholics, the Social Association for the Reconciliation of Confessional Differences, and the Women’s Association to Support Poor Welfare. These associations and the dissenting congregation provided the space for a new women’s activism that was centered on essentialized feminine characteristics such as maternal love and care. Love for these associations united women across religious lines and was essential for the project of social and cultural reform not only in the city-state but also for humanity. This love needed to be cultivated and practiced in educational and welfare institutions for the benefit of all of society. The kindergarten, these activists believed, was the ideal location for this love and care.  My presentation will focus on unpacking these associations and their support for the kindergarten in Hamburg. It will shed light on the new language of rights, women’s activism, and religious freedom that characterized the movement for the kindergarten during the revolutionary 1840s and early 1850s in German-Speaking Europe.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Thursday, January 28. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Nisrine Rahal is a doctoral candidate at the Department of History at the University of Toronto. Her dissertation, A Garden of Children and the Education of Citizens: The German Kindergarten Movement from 1837 to 1880 examines the early children’s education institution as a social reformist movement tied to the revolutionary 1840s. Her dissertation project follows the movement as a way to examine histories of social reform, gender, liberalism, and state power. Between June 2017 and March 2018, she was a doctoral fellow at the Leibniz Institute of European History. She also held a Leo Baeck Fellowship between October 2015 and October 2016. Her project received support from the Central European History Society, the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, and the Bibliothek für Bildungsgeschichtliche Forschung (BBF) des Deutschen Instituts für Internationale Pädagogische Forschung (DIPF).

    Nisrine Rahal
    History
    University of Toronto

    04:00 PM - 05:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Jan 27, 2021
    Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars
    Kamilah Ebrahim, The Limits of Anti-Trust Regulation: Reorienting Towards Considerations of Epistemic Power (Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars)

    The Limits of Anti-Trust Regulation: Reorienting Towards Considerations of Epistemic Power

    The current monopoly over data production, collection and information centralizes epistemic power and the capacity to accumulate economic capital through data. At the same time this process dispossesses marginalized and racialized communities from the data they are producing. The result is a dynamic that mirrors the dispossession created through colonialism in a new form of “techno-imperialism”. Current debates surrounding monopoly structures in technology tend to focus on the economic effects rather than the epistemic consequences, this talk will refocus this conversation and consider the pros and cons of anti-trust policy solutions currently being considered in Canada.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Wednesday, January 27. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Kamilah Ebrahim received a B.A. in Economics from the University of Waterloo in 2019 and is currently pursuing a Masters of Information in Human Centred Data Science at the University of Toronto. Kamilah is a 2020-21 Graduate Fellow at the University of Toronto Centre for Ethics focusing on the intersection between race, economics and data monopolies in Canada. Prior to joining the University of Toronto she held roles at the United Nation Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP), as well as the Canadian federal government.

    04:00 PM - 05:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Jan 27, 2021
    Ethics at Noon
    Juliette Ferry-Danini, What Is the Problem with the Opacity of Artificial Intelligence in Medicine? (Ethics@Noon-ish)

    What Is the Problem with the Opacity of Artificial Intelligence in Medicine?

    Artificial intelligence has been met with great enthusiasm by the scientific community. However, philosophers and especially ethicists have voiced some concerns. The concepts of “opacity” and “transparency” of algorithms have been coined with the presupposition that opacity in AI is something to avoid and conversely transparency is a goal to achieve in the field. Numerous guidelines have been published on the ethics of AI, resulting in several reviews (Jobin, Ienca, and Vayena 2019; Rothenberger, Fabian, and Arunov 2019; Hagendorff 2020). In these guidelines, transparency is routinely described as one of the key ethical principles the field of AI should follow. The concept, however, is not straightforward. It could first be defined in an epistemic way: an algorithm is transparent if and only if we understand how it works and we can explain it. Here transparency could be synonymous with “explainability.” In the case of medicine and decision-making algorithms, the main worry concerns how health professionals may be able to justify a diagnostic without being able to explain how they came to it and why (Goodman 2016). However, it could be argued that such an epistemic opacity is already constitutive of evidence-based medicine, where mechanisms are often not known and explanations of efficiency never certain (London 2019). Yet, there is at least a second meaning attached to the concepts of “transparency” or “opacity” which goes beyond the issue of explainability. In the ethics of AI’s literature, notably, the issues at stake have also been framed as how we came to the knowledge we now claim to have and more specifically, how the data have been selected to build a specific algorithm.

    The aim of this talk will thus be twofold: first, to map the different meanings of the concept of “transparency” and its mirror concept “opacity” both in the ethics of AI, on the one hand, and in the philosophy of medicine and bioethics, on the other hand. Second, my goal will be to pave the way to understand in which sense – ethical and/or epistemological – opacity should be avoided both in medicine and in AI (and a fortiori in AI in medicine). What is the problem with the opacity of artificial intelligence in medicine?

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Wednesday, January 27. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Juliette Ferry-Danini
    Centre for Ethics Postdoctoral Fellow in Ethics of Artificial Intelligence
    Philosophy, Sorbonne Université

    12:30 PM - 01:45 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Jan 26, 2021
    Ethics of AI in Context
    Ishtiaque Ahmed, Whose Intelligence? Whose Ethics?: Ethical Pluralism and Postcolonial Computing (Ethics of AI in Context)

    Whose Intelligence? Whose Ethics?: Ethical Pluralism and Postcolonial Computing

    With the unprecedented advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the last decade, several ethical concerns AI technologies have also emerged. Researchers today are concerned about bias, discrimination, surveillance, and privacy breaching in the use of AI technologies, just to mention a few. However, most of this discourse around “Ethics in AI” has become centered on western societies, and the concerns are emerging from and getting shaped by ethical values that more common in the West than in other parts of the world. To this end, my research explores this ethical concerns of AI in the context of the Global South, especially in the Indian Subcontinent. Based on my decade-long work in Bangladesh and India, I present in this talk, how data-driven AI technologies are challenging local faith, familial values, customs, and traditions, and imposing scientific rationality through various postcolonial computing practices. I further explore how a novel kind of intelligence can be imagined by incorporating local values and community participation.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Tuesday, January 26. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Ishtiaque Ahmed
    Computer Science
    University of Toronto

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Mon, Jan 25, 2021
    Perspectives on Ethics
    Loubna El Amine, Status, Hierarchy, and the State: Women in the Confucian Classics (Perspectives on Ethics)

    Status, Hierarchy, and the State: Women in the Confucian Classics

    Early Confucian philosophical texts, like the Analects and the Mencius, rarely mention women but the other ancient Classics, including the Rituals and the Annals, a chronicle of events from the city of Lu, are full of descriptions and ancedotes about them. In this talk, I analyze these descriptions and ancedotes, arguing that the place of women in social and political life, and the distinction between men and women, were not key issues of concern in those Classics dating from the Warring States period (479-221 BCE)—a time when the boundaries of the political community were only loosely defined. It is only after the rise of the Han Dynasty in the 3rd century BCE that ideas about what women as a general category should or should not do, in contradistinction with men, start significantly appearing in the Classics. Gender can be viewed as part of a larger attempt by the Han to fashion a new centralized, and strongly defined, political entity. I also suggest that themes that structure how women are presented in early Greek writings, particularly in Greek Classical tragedies, are not nearly as prominent in the Chinese Classics: these themes are war and military prowess, pregnancy and birth, and, following from the previous two, the grieving mother. Finally, I return to the Confucian philosophical texts and attempt to make sense of the absence of women in them.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Monday, January 25. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Loubna El AmineLoubna El Amine
    Political Science
    Northwestern University

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Jan 20, 2021
    Ethics, Aesthetics, Feminisms
    Joy James, Captive Maternal Love and War Stories (Ethics, Aesthetics, Feminisms)

    Captive Maternal Love and War Stories

    Captive Maternals are nongendered providers within black communities forged under the legacies of enslavement/colonialism and material/existential extractions. Moving beyond the limits of hegemonic (black) feminism/intersectionality, I explore the Captive Maternal and political ideology to analyze nonelite/radical black actors who labor as: conflicted/contradictory caretakers; movement activists; maroons; war resisters. The concept of the Captive Maternal is outlined in “The Womb of Western Theory”, which can be found here.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Wednesday, January 20. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Joy James
    Africana Studies
    Williams College 

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Mon, Jan 18, 2021
    Ethics & Caribbean Philosophy
    Zifeng Liu, Claudia Jones and China (Ethics & Caribbean Philosophy)

    Claudia Jones and China

    Zifeng Liu is a doctoral candidate in Africana Studies at Cornell University. He studies Black transnationalism/internationalism, Black feminism, and anticolonial thought. His dissertation, entitled “Redrawing the Balance of Power: Black Left Feminists, Mao’s China, and the Making of an Afro-Asian Political Imaginary,” examines the feminist interchanges and collaborations between the African American freedom struggle and the Chinese socialist construction of modernity from 1949 through 1978. His essays and reviews in English and Chinese on African American culture, politics, and history have been published and forthcoming in the Journal of IntersectionalityJournal of African American HistoryJournal of Beihang UniversityThe PaperInitium Media, and SINA News.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Monday, January 18. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Zifeng Liu
    Africana Studies

    Cornell University

    06:00 PM - 07:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Jan 13, 2021
    Ethics at Noon
    Benjamin Davis, Does the Left have an Ethics? Notes on Stuart Hall's "Culture, Resistance, and Struggle" (Ethics@Noon-ish)

    Does the Left have an Ethics? Notes on Stuart Hall’s “Culture, Resistance, and Struggle”

    “The Left has rarely talked about that space in which the difference between the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ is defined,” Stuart Hall argues in his final lecture of what became Cultural Studies 1983, “Culture, Resistance, and Struggle.” There Hall takes as his focus “cultural and ideological rather than political forms of resistance.” This talk uses Hall’s focus to think about human rights struggles today. It inquires into what those struggles offer what he called in the previous lecture “the domain of the moral.” In other words, it brings cultural studies and contemporary human rights struggles together to probe a Left ethics for the present.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Wednesday, January 13. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Benjamin DavisBenjamin Davis
    Philosophy
    University of Toronto
    Centre for Ethics

    12:30 PM - 01:45 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Jan 12, 2021
    Ethics of AI in Context
    Robert Soden, Responsible AI in Disaster Risk Management: A Community of Practice Perspective (Ethics of AI in Context)

    Responsible AI in Disaster Risk Management: A Community of Practice Perspective

    The use of AI, and in particular machine learning, is increasingly being taken up as part of efforts to better understand and mitigate the potential impacts of disasters like earthquakes or floods. Experts and practitioners believe that these tools can help support societal efforts to inform decisions ranging from emergency preparedness to infrastructure retrofitting and the design of disaster insurance products. Despite widespread concerns over the role of AI tools in domains such as criminal justice, banking, and healthcare, little guidance is available for experts working on the tools in the area of disasters. This talk will report on an ongoing effort by organizations including the Red Cross, the World Bank, and several academic institutions to examine the potential for negative consequences of AI in the field of disaster management.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Tuesday, January 12. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Robert Soden
    Computer Science 
    University of Toronto

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Thu, Dec 10, 2020
    Race, Ethics + Power: Emerging Scholars
    Laura Kwak, The Seat, the Table, the Terms of Incorporation: a Critical Discussion on Representation and the Roles of Racialized Political Elites (Race, Ethics + Power: Emerging Scholars)

    The Seat, the Table, the Terms of Incorporation: a Critical Discussion on Representation and the Roles of Racialized Political Elites

    The inclusion of racialized politicians has become a key feature of liberal democracies. Indeed, the political inclusion of previously excluded racialized populations matters. This presentation is concerned with how it matters. The dominant presumption is that the presence of racialized parliamentarians guarantees that debates important to racialized groups will move in more socially just directions. However, recent scholarship in critical race socio-legal studies have suggested that the incorporation of select racialized elites has not substantively challenged dominant political discourses and/or policies. Rather, paradoxically their inclusion can foreclose possibilities for substantive diversity and justice. If we understand racial governmentality as flexible, this research is concerned with questions that will better meet the needs of racial justice in a world where post-racial discourses persist alongside explicit racial violence.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Thursday, December 10. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Laura KwakLaura Kwak is Assistant Professor in the Law and Society Program at York University. Her research has been published in the Oñati Socio-Legal Series, Ethnic and Racial Studies, the Canadian Journal of Women and the Law, and Amerasia Journal. She is developing her first monograph “Playing by the Racial Rule(s): Asian Conservatives in Canada’s Federal Legislature,” which challenges the supposed incommensurability of racialized identity and Conservative politics. Her SSHRC Insight Development Grant (2020-2022) funded research project “Race and Representation in Canada’s Parliament, 2006-2019” will examine the contributions of racialized MPs across Canada’s three main federal political parties.

    04:00 PM - 05:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Dec 9, 2020
    Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars
    Muriam Fancy, Governance of Ethical AI: Methodologies to Procure Low Risk AI for Public Use (Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars)

    Muriam-Fancy-Event-Banner

     

    Governance of Ethical AI: Methodologies to Procure Low Risk AI for Public Use

    AI is not without bias; our understanding of the risks it can pose is often unknown. However, this does not stop governments from procuring and deploying AI systems for the public. This talk will present case examples of how the government procures AI systems. Furthermore, the presentation will follow with methodologies of how to ensure that governments can deploy ethical and safe AI systems. The role of the public, government, and private stakeholders are all different yet necessary to reduce the risk caused when applying AI on a mass scale. The presentation will conclude by recommending policy solutions to avert the consequences of deploying risky AI systems.

    Muriam Fancy is completing her final year of her Masters in Global Affairs with a specialization in innovation. Her work focuses are on global technology policy and designing ethical emerging technologies. She is an AI ethics researcher at the Montreal AI Ethics Institute. As well, she is the Research Coordinator at the AI + Society Initiative at uOttawa Centre for Law, Technology and Society.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Wednesday, December 9. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Muriam FancyMuriam Fancy
    AI Ethics Researcher
    Montreal Ethics AI Institute
    uOttawa

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Thu, Dec 3, 2020
    Race, Ethics + Power: Emerging Scholars
    Sarah Stefana Smith, Surface, Abstraction and Skin in Black Contemporary Art (Race, Ethics + Power: Emerging Scholars)

    Surface, Abstraction and Skin in Black Contemporary Art

    Discussions of surface typical occur in the context of a binary—not being a deep articulation of a thing.  Yet surface as a method of susceptibility is able to take seriously the “need for the Other” and one that orients the surface – rather than some lurking depth – as a significant site to engage meaning (Cheng 2009, 101; Best and Marcus 2009, 6). In the context of this talk, I use, surface play in order to embraces the surface as an affective and ethical stance, in opposition to a suspiciousness of what is concealed in the depths of the work. Taking a nod from Stuart Hall, play denotes a doubling of meaning. On the one hand, play suggests the impermanence of the surface itself; on the other, it pronounces the instability of the surface through strategies deployed in black aesthetics.

    Thus, this talk meditates on surface play and queer potentiality in the work of artists Mickalene Thomas and Zanele Muholi. In 2014, Mickalene Thomas created the work Tête de Femme that deviated from the artists more representational work and towards abstract iterations of femme faces. Most recently, Zanele Muholi has returned to self-portraiture, in Somnyama Ngonyama: Hail the Dark Lioness utilizing the body, vernacular props and the skin as site. I look at Tête de Femme and Somnyama Ngonyama and towards surfaces at play, to negotiate a different orientation to the aesthetic.

    Biography:

    Sarah Stefana Smith is scholar and artist, currently holding the position of Assistant Professor of Gender Studies at Mount Holyoke College. Their research communicates between the fields of Black art and culture, queer of color critique and affect studies, performance and aesthetics. Smith’s studio practice looks towards the blur between abstraction and representation, infrastructure and materiality, space and ecology in photography, installation, and sculptural work. As a teacher Smith is interested in cross-pollination between matter and materiality and boundaries between human and species, lines of demarcation around difference—race, gender, sexuality—and how modes of difference are used to constitute and congeal belonging.

     Smith was a recipient of an Art and Change Grant from the Leeway Foundation, an Ontario Arts Council Grant, and a John Pavlis Fellowship as an artist in residence at the Vermont Studio Center. Smith has published in The Black Scholar, Women & PerformanceDrain Journal of Art and CultureThe Palgrave Handbook of Race and the Arts Education and in Ruptures: Anti-colonial and Anti-Racist Feminist Theorizing. Their residency experiences have included the University of Pittsburgh Creativities Project, Merriweather District AIR, 77Arts, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts among others. Smith has exhibited at various spaces including Waller Gallery, Arlington Art Center, DC Art Center, the Borland Project Space, and Gallery CA

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Thursday, December 3. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Sarah Stefana Smith
    Gender Studies
    Mount Holyoke College

    04:00 PM - 05:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Dec 2, 2020
    Ethics at Noon
    Amanda Greer, Etiquette (Un)Seen: Post-WWII American Cinema and the Aesthetics of Politeness (Ethics@Noon)

    Etiquette (Un)Seen: Post-WWII American Cinema and the Aesthetics of Politeness

    Etiquette surrounds us every day, infiltrating our social behaviour and shaping the aesthetic self-image we share with the world. Etiquette determines how we dress, how we eat, and how we speak—it is, as Raoul Vaneigem has put it, “what is most familiar.” Despite etiquette’s pervasiveness, little work in the humanities has taken the concept seriously; importantly, no work has considered etiquette’s profound impact on our popular aesthetic codes. Etiquette has been derisively termed a “little ethics,” tossed aside for its perceived femininity, its shallowness. This hasty dismissal has obscured etiquette’s importance in constructing popular aesthetics. Etiquette’s aesthetic form, and its creation of aesthetic forms, should no longer be ignored.

    This talk will excavate etiquette from its theoretical obscurity. Etiquette, I argue, exists in and as cinematic form—an aesthetics of politeness. Post-WWII cinema is heavily informed by the era’s rampant conservatism and emphasis on images of a white suburban leisure class, binding etiquette and cinema most intimately. More specifically, etiquette in postwar cinema mobilizes an aesthetic of idealized, impossible white femininity to construct oppressive, racialized structures of politeness. By taking up the etiquette-adept figure of the social climber and her relationship to cinematic forms of looking, this talk offers a close reading of etiquette’s politicized aesthetics. Etiquette is not simply a frivolous, apolitical code; etiquette, embedded in popular cinematic form, determines the boundaries of social exclusivity through its aesthetic demands—its demands for an exclusionary mode of white femininity.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Wednesday, December 2. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Amanda GreerAmanda Greer
    Cinema
    University of Toronto

    12:30 PM - 01:45 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Nov 25, 2020
    Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars
    Anne-Marie Fowler, Differentiation Is Mechanics, Integration Is Art: Particularity, Community and the Digital Mind (Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars)

    Differentiation is Mechanics, Integration is Art: Particularity, Community and the Digital Mind

    A digital “mind” is not a human mind in lesser form; rather, it is entirely, and discretely, different. As such, it has been epitomized in terms of efficient prediction rather than origin and indeterminacy. However, both the human mind and the digital mind can be considered as sites of pure conception. Drawing principally from Hermann Cohen’s logic of origin, and applying an originary lens to philosophical inputs ranging from mathematics, aesthetics, and biology, I will point to an alternative modal framing of AI ethics that is potentially generative rather than solely corrective.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Wednesday, November 25. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Anne-Marie Fowler, Doctoral Program, Department for the Study of Religion, in collaboration with the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies, University of Toronto is a 2020-21 Graduate Research Fellow at the Centre for Ethics, focusing upon temporality, particularity and Ethics of AI in Context. Bringing prior professional background in finance, social entrepreneurship, philanthropy and public policy, she seeks to apply her current focus upon temporal design parameters in the AI setting to systemic questions of central banking and sovereign debt justice.

    Anne-Marie FowlerAnne-Marie Fowler
    Religion
    University of Toronto

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Mon, Nov 23, 2020
    Ethics & Caribbean Philosophy
    David Scott, Stuart Hall's Ethics (Ethics & Caribbean Philosophy)

    Stuart Hall’s Ethics

    David Scott is Professor of Anthropology in the Institute for Research in African American Studies, Columbia University, New York. He is also the editor of the journal Small Axe. We will discuss his recent book, Stuart Halls Voice: Intimations of an Ethics of Receptive Generosity. Stuart Hall’s Voice explores the ethos of style that characterized Stuart Hall’s intellectual vocation. David Scott frames the book—which he wrote as a series of letters to Hall in the wake of his death—as an evocation of friendship understood as the moral and intellectual medium in which his dialogical hermeneutic relationship with Hall’s work unfolded. In this respect, the book asks: what do we owe intellectually to the work of those whom we know well, admire, and honor? Reflecting one of the lessons of Hall’s style, the book responds: what we owe should be conceived less in terms of criticism than in terms of listening.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Monday, November 23. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    David ScottDavid Scott
    Anthropology

    Columbia University

    06:00 PM - 07:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Mon, Nov 23, 2020
    Perspectives on Ethics
    Iza Hussin, Translating Islamic Law: Mobility, History, Solidarity (Perspectives on Ethics)

    Translating Islamic Law: Mobility, History, Solidarity

    Translation encapsulates a series of distinct moves in the study of Islamic law, each with its own ethical and methodological implications. These implications are often obscured when we emphasise textual and discursive translation, at the expense of institutional and material processes. This paper discusses the work that translation does in, and to, Islamic legal studies, including but not limited to: 1. shifting between semantic fields of meaning; 2. legal actors translating between idioms and institutions of law; and 3. facilitating (and resisting) the emergence of ‘universal’ categories and fields of law. It ends with a reflection on the implications of these translative dynamics for teaching, writing and publishing across languages and contexts in contemporary Islamic legal studies, considering translation as collaborative labour, in the context of displacement, migration, and war.

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Monday, November 23. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Iza HussinIza Hussin
    Cambridge University
    Politics & International Studies

    12:30 PM - 01:45 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Fri, Nov 20, 2020
    C4E Flash Event, Race, Ethics + Power
    Jonathan Kidd & Sonya Winton-Odamtten, Lovecraft Country: A Conversation on Afrofuturism, Black Aesthetics and the Endurance of Counter-Histories (Race, Ethics + Power Flash Event)

    Lovecraft Country: A Conversation on Afrofuturism, Black Aesthetics and the Endurance of Counter-Histories

    Afrofuturism is prominent force in popular culture and within Black critical thought. As an aesthetic we see examples in the visual expressions of musical artists such as Erykah Badu, and Janelle Monae, and a long history in literature by award winning novelists Octavia Butler and Nalo Hopkinson to name a few. Most recently we see Afrofuturist visions in the televisual landscape as seen with the recent success of HBO’s Lovecraft Country. But Afrofuturism and Black speculative thought has a long history within Black letters and expressive culture. What is Afrofuturism’s relationship to history, and how does it offer radical revisions of what we term “the past”?
    We are excited to be joined by co-executive producers of Lovecraft Country, Jonathan Kidd and Sonya Winton-Odamtten to discuss the show in relation to the legacy of Afrofuturist thought and the politics of creating counter-histories.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Friday, November 20. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Playwrights and documentarians, Jonathan Kidd and Sonya Winton-Odamtten are the physical manifestation of a stellar collision. While Jonathan grew up in the farmlands of Mansfield, Ohio, Sonya was reared by her creative-hippie parents in the metropole of Los Angeles. No one could have predicted that their paths would cross while pursuing their PhD’s at Yale University…changing their lives forever… Jonathan earned his Bachelor’s degree with honors from The University of Michigan in African Studies, African American Studies, and English. He received his Master’s of Art, Master’s of Philosophy, and Doctoral degree from Yale University in African American Studies and English. Sonya earned her Bachelor’s degree with honors from Spelman College, where she majored in Political Science. She received her Master’s in Public Administration from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, a Master’s of Art, and Master’s of Philosophy in African American Studies and Political Science from Yale University. Sonya received her Doctorate in African American Studies and Political Science from Yale University. In 2001, while at Yale, Jonathan and Sonya founded a non-profit theater company, Adam, Eve, & Steve Productions (AES) and directed and produced a number of successful theater productions that include: Jonathan’s There Must Be A God Somewhere, Jan Henson Dow and Robert Schroeder’s Shaka, and Sonya’s Matri-focal Concentric Zones of Violence Revisited: Part One. In 2003-04, they took two years off from their studies to complete a documentary on youth mobilization during the Presidential election covering such groups as: ROCK THE VOTE, THE NATIONAL HIP HOP POLITICAL CONVENTION, STONEWALL DEMOCRATS, COLLEGE REPUBLICANS, HEADCOUNT, NEW VOTERS PROJECT, LEAGUE OF PISSED OFF VOTERS, CITIZEN CHANGE, and PUNKVOTER. In 2006, they were one of the featured theatre non-profits selected to participate in Suzan-Lori Parks’ 365 DAYS/365 PLAYS national festival. Parks remarked on the “unforgettable” productions staged by Jonathan and Sonya, at sites of contestation around greater Los Angeles (for example, the intersection of Florence and Normandie avenues, where Reginald Denny was beaten during the Rodney King rebellion). In 2007, Sonya and Jonathan taught theatre to teenagers in South Los Angeles through the LAUSD after school program Beyond 2 The Bell which utilized intensive readings of the works of Shakespeare, Lorraine Hansberry, and August Wilson to help students create their own one act plays addressing issues such as environmental justice, class inequality, and bullying. After stints as professors, playwrights, and documentarians, Sonya and Jonathan turned their eye toward a television career and were chosen for the Warner Brothers Television Writers Workshop in 2009. In addition to staffing on a number of shows, most notably ABC’s THE WHOLE TRUTH; FOX’s TOUCH; and AMAZON’s OASIS, Kidd/Winton- Odamtten found success in selling several of their spec pilots: THE 4TH REICH (Showtime with Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and CBS Studios attached as producing partners); Warner Horizon, the 1970s period drama RODEO DRIVE; and Lifetime, the dynastic family drama, SOUTHERN GOTHIC which Catherine Hardwick was attached to direct and Alfre Woodard and Melissa Leo set to star in. At the close of 2018, Kidd/Winton-Odamtten signed an overall with HBO to develop new projects while continuing their work on LOVECRAFT as CO-EP’s. Finally, through their philanthropic work Kidd/Winton-Odamtten recently launched the Feed Black Covid-19 Health Workers Challenge. After partnering with Frontline Foods, the duo recruited over 40 other Black Hollywood writers in order to support health care workers in underserved Black communities around the country. Thus far, their outreach has fed hospital, nursing home, and health clinic staffs in Downtown Los Angeles, St. Louis, New York, Dallas, Houston, Durham, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Providence, Inglewood, Boston, Memphis, and Minneapolis-St. Paul.

    Jonathan I. Kidd            Jonathan I. Kidd 
    Co-Executive Producer
    Lovecraft Country

     

     

    Sonya Winton-Odamtten  Sonya Winton-Odamtten 
    Co-Executive Producer
    Lovecraft Country

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Thu, Nov 19, 2020
    Race, Ethics + Power: Emerging Scholars
    Watufani Poe, Representação vs. Representatividade: Analyzing Black LGBTQ+ Identity Politics in Brazil (Race, Ethics + Power: Emerging Scholars)

    Representação vs. Representatividade: Analyzing Black LGBTQ+ Identity Politics in Brazil

    The last five years in Brazil has seen an explosion of Black LGBTQ+ politicians enter elected positions. While many of these candidates ran on platforms that centered their own standpoint as a power analysis to help understand and deconstruct systemic inequality through policy, some candidates utilized their identities to work against a politics of social equity. In this presentation, I look at the various iterations of representation that have taken place for Black LGBTQ politicians in recent years, analyzing how different candidates weaponize their identities, and how these forms or representation impact the larger Black LGBTQ+ community.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Thursday, November 19. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Watufani PoeWatufani Poe is a PhD Candidate in Africana Studies at Brown University. He earned his B.A. from Swarthmore College in Africana Studies and his A.M. in History at Brown University. His dissertation entitled “Resisting Fragmentation: The Radical Possibilities of Black LGBTQ+ Activism in Brazil and the United States” looks at Black LGBTQ+ social and political activism in both countries to understand the ways Black LGBTQ people push for freedom across various movement spaces. His research has been funded by the Social Sciences Research Council, the Mellon Foundation, The US Fulbright Program, The Tinker Foundation, and the Brown University Brazil Initiative.

    04:00 PM - 05:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Thu, Nov 19, 2020
    Ethics of AI in Context
    Catherine D'Ignazio and Lauren F. Klein, Data Feminism (Ethics of AI in Context)

    Data Feminism

    As data are increasingly mobilized in the service of governments and corporations, their unequal conditions of production, their asymmetrical methods of application, and their unequal effects on both individuals and groups have become increasingly difficult for data scientists–and others who rely on data in their work–to ignore. But it is precisely this power that makes it worth asking: “Data science by whom? Data science for whom? Data science with whose interests in mind? These are some of the questions that emerge from what we call data feminism, a way of thinking about data science and its communication that is informed by the past several decades of intersectional feminist activism and critical thought. Illustrating data feminism in action, this talk will show how challenges to the male/female binary can help to challenge other hierarchical (and empirically wrong) classification systems; it will explain how an understanding of emotion can expand our ideas about effective data visualization; how the concept of invisible labor can expose the significant human efforts required by our automated systems; and why the data never, ever “speak for themselves.” The goal of this talk, as with the project of data feminism, is to model how scholarship can be transformed into action: how feminist thinking can be operationalized in order to imagine more ethical and equitable data practices.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Thursday, November 19. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Catherine D’Ignazio
    Director, Data + Feminism Lab
    Urban Studies and Planning
    MIT

     

     

    Lauren F. Klein

    Lauren F. Klein
    Director, Digital Humanities Lab
    Quantitative Theory & Methods
    Emory University

    12:30 PM - 01:45 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Nov 18, 2020
    Ethics at Noon
    Morag M. Kersel, Legal or Right? The Negative Consequences of the Legal Trade in Antiquities (Ethics@Noon-ish)

    Legal or Right? The Negative Consequences of the Legal Trade in Antiquities

    It is legal to sell artifacts in licensed antiquities markets such as those in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Israel, but is it right to buy an artifact with a murky past? Certain “legal quirks” (a term coined by noted cultural heritage lawyer Patty Gerstenblith) in national and international legal regimes allow for a blurring of illegal and legal elements in the antiquities trade. Such legal quirks often result in a market supplied by the looting of archaeological sites, and thefts from museums and archaeological storehouses. A study focused on the legal and illegal movement of Holy Land artifacts demonstrates that the market in Israel, while legal in name, possesses a number of illegal elements, which allow recently looted artifacts to be laundered and then legitimately traded. Where does our own ethical discernment and idea of what is right in the demand for antiquities fit into the diverse spectrum of the effects of such demand on local people and archaeological landscapes?

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Wednesday, November 18. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Morag M. KerselMorag M. Kersel
    Director of Museum Studies, DePaul University
    Archaeology

    12:30 PM - 01:45 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Thu, Nov 12, 2020
    Critical Race Studies, Race, Ethics + Power
    Olúfẹmi O. Táíwò, Compound Crisis: Cops, Climate, and COVID (Critical Race Studies: Interdisciplinary Perspectives)

    Compound Crisis: Cops, Climate, and COVID

    Although the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis are both provoked by natural phenomena, the dangers they present are just as political as the crisis of police violence. Moreover, these crises overlap and compound each other in important ways. The size, scope, and longevity of the suffering they trigger will be largely decided by the institutional responses to challenges and the power dynamics that structure them. A historic debate about the relationship of famine to colonialism and democracy helps show why the compound crisis could lead to intensification of racist police violence, climate apartheid, and climate colonialism.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Thursday, November 12. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Olúfẹmi O. TáíwòOlúfẹmi O. Táíwò
    Georgetown University
    Philosophy

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Thu, Oct 29, 2020
    Race, Ethics + Power: Emerging Scholars
    Bianca Beauchemin, Sensuous Interdisciplinary Opening: Re-imagining Diasporic Black Radical Insurgency (Race, Ethics + Power: Emerging Scholars)

    Sensuous Interdisciplinary Opening: Re-imagining Diasporic Black Radical Insurgency

    In his influential book Silencing the Past, Michel-Rolph Trouillot invites us to find out “how history works, rather than what history is”, thus insisting that what we call the “archive” is not only a repository site of information, but also constitutes a methodological concept. He attests that the Haitian Revolution entered history as being “unthinkable,” which suggests in part, a narrow and power-laden methodological framework, foreclosing the epistemic and liberatory promises of this world-altering insurrection. How can we ethically re-narrate this historical event? What can be uncovered to inform other and more current struggles for liberation? Informed by my current dissertation project, this talk seeks to unearth the possibilities of the Haitian Revolution through a queerly black feminist approach.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Thursday, October 29. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Bianca BeaucheminBianca Beauchemin is a PhD candidate in Gender Studies at UCLA. Her dissertation research explores the interplay of the unintelligibility of Black female sexuality and Black feminist possibilities through the spatial-temporal landscape of the Haitian Revolution. Some of her key sites of research interests also include Black diasporic studies, Black queer studies, Black feminism, postcolonial literature, feminist geography, histories of revolutions, Caribbean history, and histories of slavery.

    04:00 PM - 05:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Oct 28, 2020
    Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars
    Vinith Suriyakumar, Chasing Your Long Tails: Differentially Private Prediction in Health Care Settings (Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars)

    Chasing Your Long Tails: Differentially Private Prediction in Health Care Settings

    Machine learning has the potential to improve health care through its ability to extract information from data. Unfortunately, machine learning is susceptible to privacy attacks which leak information about the data it was trained on. This can have dire consequences in health care where protecting patient privacy is of the utmost importance. Differential privacy has been proposed as the leading technique to defend against privacy attacks and has had successful use by the US Census, Google, and Apple. This talk will present the challenges of using differentially private machine learning in health care and how future solutions might address them.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Wednesday, October 28. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Vinith SuriyakumarVinith Suriyakumar
    Department of Computer Science
    University of Toronto

    04:00 PM - 05:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Oct 28, 2020
    Ethics of Songs
    Antía González Ben on "Que non mo neguen" (They Can't Deny It) (The Ethics of Songs)

    Join us for The Ethics of Songs, the Centre for Ethics YouTube series that explores the ethical dimensions of songs familiar and new! (The full schedule is available here.)

    please register here

    Dr. Antía González Ben
    Faculty of Music
    University of Toronto

    This is an online event, available on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    03:00 PM - 03:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Oct 28, 2020
    Ethics at Noon
    Lauren Bialystok, The Authority of Identity in Academic Practice (Ethics@Noon-ish)

    The Authority of Identity in Academic Practice

    Academics increasingly feel obliged to “situate” themselves relative to the content of what they have to say and their presumed authority to say it, in both written scholarship and verbal dialogue or teaching. What kind of epistemic or ethical goods are secured by the use of positionality (“As a [race], [gender], [etc.], I…”) to attenuate our roles in political or philosophical discussions? Intended as a gesture of inclusion, these declarations – especially coming from those of us with greater unearned social privilege – can communicate self-awareness in a context where background conditions of unequal power are an exhausting, even prohibitive, hurdle to some people’s participation. Such intentions can also motivate includes pronoun checks, land acknowledgements, and other inclusion-oriented strategies. These practices have become culturally mandatory in some academic milieus, to the point that not partaking in them may immediately raise suspicions. I argue that positionality, while symbolically important, depends on implausible assumptions about identity and knowledge. Worse, it can function as a proxy for the deeper philosophical and educational work that we ought to do to further social justice. Self-positioning should be voluntary and calibrated to the epistemic value of having or not having a certain identity.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Wednesday, October 28. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Lauren BialystokLauren Bialystok
    University of Toronto
    Social Justice Education, OISE

    12:30 PM - 01:45 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Thu, Oct 22, 2020
    Critical Race Studies, Race, Ethics + Power
    Eddie Bruce-Jones, Black Lives and German Exceptionalism (Critical Race Studies: Interdisciplinary Perspectives)

    Black Lives and German Exceptionalism

    This presentation will address the issues of institutional and structural racism in Europe by using the legal situation of racism in Germany, and specifically racism against Black people, as a lens.  The paper will touch upon discursive, linguistic and legal concepts that highlight the specificity of the German context as well as continuities in approaches across Europe.  Ultimately, the paper argues that, contrary to a persistent notion that ‘race’ is a US-American obsession ill-fitted to European social life, race is a useful analytical category for understanding exclusion in Europe and that the structural dimension of racism must be acknowledged in order to address the pervasive forms of racism that affect the daily lives and interests of all of Europe’s residents.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Thursday, October 22. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Eddie Bruce-JonesEddie Bruce-Jones
    Birkbeck, University of London
    School of Law

    12:30 PM - 01:45 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Oct 20, 2020
    Ethics of AI in Context, Race, Ethics + Power
    Rodrigo Ochigame, Actuarialism and Racial Capitalism (Ethics of AI in Context)

    Actuarialism and Racial Capitalism

    As national and regional governments form expert commissions to regulate “automated decision-making,” a new corporate-sponsored field of research proposes to formalize the elusive ideal of “fairness” as a mathematical property of algorithms and especially of their outputs. Computer scientists, economists, lawyers, lobbyists, and policy reformers wish to hammer out, in advance or in place of regulation, algorithmic redefinitions of “fairness” and such legal categories as “discrimination,” “disparate impact,” and “equal opportunity.”

    But general aspirations to fair algorithms have a long history. This talk recounts some past attempts to answer questions of fairness through the use of algorithms. In particular, it focuses on “actuarial” practices of individualized risk classification in private insurance firms, consumer credit bureaus, and police departments since the late nineteenth century. The emerging debate on algorithmic fairness may be read as a response to the latest moral crisis of computationally managed racial capitalism.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Tuesday, October 20. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Rodrigo Ochigame
    History, Anthropology, & Science, Technology, and Society
    MIT

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Mon, Oct 19, 2020
    Perspectives on Ethics, Race, Ethics + Power
    CANCELLED – Denise Ferreira da Silva, Unpayable Debt (Perspectives on Ethics)

    Event poster with "cancelled" written over the text

    Unfortunately, this event has been cancelled. We apologize for any inconvenience, we hope to reschedule at a later date. Any and all updates will be posted here, on the Centre for Ethics website, ethics.utoronto.ca. We thank to all those who registered for your continued support. 

    Unpayable Debt

    In this talk I sketch a  black feminist poethical figure with which I seek to capture how coloniality and raciality operate in Global Capital.  Framed as a dialectical image, it guides a reading of the notion of value that traces the continuous operation of coloniality in the modern  economic and ethical scenes. With a focus on the philosophical infrastructure of the notion of value, Unpaybable Debt exposes global capital as a juridic-economic architecture and attendant  ethical grammar, in which raciality (the symbolic figuring of coloniality) justifies otherwise ethically untenable deployments of total violence that allow for the continued expropriation (of labour) and extraction (of resources) of Europe’s racial others and their lands.

    Denise Ferreira da Silva
    University of British Columbia
    Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Fri, Oct 16, 2020
    C4E Flash Event, Race, Ethics + Power
    #Say Her Name… Breonna Taylor! Race, Ethics & “Justice”? – A Dialogue with Beverly Bain, Idil Abdillahi, and El Jones (Race, Ethics & Power Flash Event)

    #Say Her Name… Breonna Taylor! Race, Ethics & “Justice”? – A Dialogue with Beverly Bain, Idil Abdillahi, and El Jones

    With the recent grand jury decision to indict on a lesser charge of “wanton endangerment” in the death of Breonna Taylor, there is an urgency to examine the implications of these actions to fully understand future demands for justice. What does it mean to understand state-violence on, and against Black women’s bodies, and personhood, as a “wanton” act? What is the historicity of such a designation that exonerates the perpetrator of said violence against Black women’s personhood? “Wanton” as adjective, is defined as “of a cruel or violent action – that is deliberate and unprovoked.”

    Posing these questions invites us all, those that are willing, to consider conversations about the confluence of anti-black violence as it manifests in not only legal procedure and deliberation but also within popular discourse.

    Centering Black women’s critical work on law-enforcement and the carceral state, our invited panelists will engage in a critical dialogue considering the following guiding questions;

    1) What are the implications of “civil” rulings, such as wrongful death suits, in relation to what we conceive as “justice?”

    2) How do such decisions undermine pursuits for accountability from law-enforcement in the realm of the criminal justice system?

    3) How is “Black life” and social death deeply intertwined with questions of monetary value as seen in the wrongful death case that preceded the grand jury decision?

    4) How do we grapple with this question of “value” in relation to Black women’s lives?

    5) How does the above, set a precedent for how Black people will seek justice in the future?

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Friday, October 16. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    ► please register here

    Beverly Bain

    Beverly Bain is a Black queer feminist scholar –activist and teaches in Women and Gender Studies in the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Toronto Mississauga. She currently teaches and researches in the area of The Black Queer Feminist Radical Tradition, Black and Caribbean diasporic sexualities, Gender, Feminism and Post Colonial Theories and Gender, Violence and Resistance. Bain is the author of “Fire, Passion and Politics: The Creation of Blockorama as Black Queer Diasporic Space in the Toronto Pride Festivities.” In We Still Demand: Defining Resistance in Sex and Gender Struggles. Edited by Patrizia Gentile, Gary Kinsman and L Pauline Rankin. UBC Press, 2017; “Wake Work and The Coronavirus”. Tilting 2, The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. May 2020, Blackwood Gallery as well as several other articles. Bain is currently working on a series of essays on Black radical feminist queer activism in Toronto from the 80’s to the present.

    Idil AbdillahiIdil Abdillahi is an Assistant Professor in the School of Disability Studies and the Advisor to the Dean in the Faculty of Community Services on issues of anti-Black racism. She is a founding member of the Black Legal Action Centre (BLAC) and currently serves as the vice-chair of the board of directors. Idil has published on a wide array of topics, such as mental health, prisons/policing, poverty, HiV/AIDS, organizational development, and several other key policy areas at the intersection of BlackLife and state interruption. In 2019 Idil co-authored “BlackLife. Post BLM and the Struggle from Freedom”, and she is completing, her forthcoming book “Blackened Madness: Medicalization, and Everyday Life in Canada” also published by ARP Books.

    El JonesEl Jones is a poet, educator, journalist and advocate. She was the fifth Poet Laureate of Halifax, and the 15th Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University. El is a 2016 recipient of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission Burnley “Rocky” Jones award. El is a co-founder of the Black Power Hour, a radio show developed collectively with prisoners. Her advocacy and work fights anti-Black racism in Canada, walking in the path of our great-grandmothers who resisted relentlessly. Her book of poetry and essays on state violence, Canada is So Polite will be released in the winter from Gaspereau Press.

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Oct 14, 2020
    Ethics of Songs
    Rebekah Hutten on "Sorry" (Ethics of Songs)

    Join us for The Ethics of Songs, the Centre for Ethics YouTube series that explores the ethical dimensions of songs familiar and new! (The full schedule is available here.)

    please register here

    Rebekah Hutten
    Schulich School of Music
    McGill University

    This is an online event, available on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    03:00 PM - 03:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Oct 14, 2020
    Ethics at Noon
    Teresa Heffernan, AI, the Immortality Industry, and the Ethics of Death (Ethics@Noon)

    AI, the Immortality Industry, and the Ethics of Death

    This talk considers the far reaches of the multi-billion-dollar immortality industry and the money and power behind the scenes that fuels this fantasy science even as the planet teeters on the brink of collapse. After examining some contemporary fictions that challenge big tech and its paradoxical escalation of the end of all life even as it hankers after life without death in its relentless focus on a future that is always “future,” this talk then turns to archaeology and the future’s archaic longings. One of the oldest and longest surviving stories in the world, The Epic of Gilgamesh, is about a tyrannical king who wants immortality. In failing in his quest, however, Gilgamesh learns what it means to live as an ethical human being. Drawing on the lesson in this ancient epic, the talk ends with a reflection on the connection between mortality, responsibility, and freedom

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Wednesday, October 14. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Teresa Heffernan
    St. Mary’s University
    English

    12:30 PM - 01:45 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Oct 13, 2020
    Ethics of AI in Context, Race, Ethics + Power
    Andre Brock, Black Morpheus: Race in the Technocultural Matrix (Ethics of AI in Context)

    Black Morpheus: Race in the Technocultural Matrix

    Where does Blackness manifest In the ideology of Western technoculture? Technoculture is the American mythos and ideology; a belief system powering the coercive, political, and carceral relations between culture and technology. Once enslaved, historically disenfranchised, and never deemed literate, Blackness is understood as the object of Western technical and civilizational practices. This presentation is a critical intervention for internet research and science and technology studies (STS), reorienting Western technoculture’s practices of “race-as-technology” to visualize Blackness as technological subjects rather than as “things”. Hence, Black technoculture.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Tuesday, October 13. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Andre Brock
    School of Literature, Media, and Communication
    Georgia Tech

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Fri, Oct 9, 2020
    C4E Flash Event, Ethics of AI in Context
    Mohamed Abdalla, The Grey Hoodie Project: Big Tobacco, Big Tech, and the Threat on Academic Integrity (Ethics of AI in Context)

    The Grey Hoodie Project: Big Tobacco, Big Tech, and the Threat on Academic Integrity

    As governmental bodies rely on academics’ expert advice to shape policy regarding Artificial Intelligence, it is important that these academics not have conflicts of interests that may cloud or bias their judgement. Our work explores how Big Tech is actively distorting the academic landscape to suit its needs. By comparing the well-studied actions of another industry, that of Big Tobacco, to the current actions of Big Tech we see similar strategies employed by both industries to sway and influence academic and public discourse. We examine the funding of academic research as a tool used by Big Tech to put forward a socially responsible public image, influence events hosted by and decisions made by funded universities, influence the research questions and plans of individual scientists, and discover receptive academics who can be leveraged. We demonstrate, in a rigorous manner, how Big Tech can affect academia from the institutional level down to individual researchers. Thus, we believe that it is vital, particularly for universities and other institutions of higher learning, to discuss the appropriateness and the tradeoffs of accepting funding from Big Tech, and what limitations or conditions should be put in place. (As featured in Wired.)

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Friday, October 9. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Mohamed AbdalaMohamed Abdala
    Centre for Ethics & Department of Computer Science
    University of Toronto

    12:30 PM - 01:45 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Mon, Oct 5, 2020
    Perspectives on Ethics
    Sophie Grace Chappell, Forgiveness in Classical Greece: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Their Background Culture (Perspectives on Ethics)

    Forgiveness in Classical Greece: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Their Background Culture

    In the Christian tradition that we have inherited, there is a two-stranded conception of forgiveness: forgiveness is both kindness and grace about wrongdoing, and also cancellation of wrongdoing. Moreover, the focal Augustinian articulation of this tradition works with a very special (and specially problematic) conception of what the wrongdoing is that the forgiver forgives. None of these ideas are central to the classical Greek ethical tradition. Most of them are not there at all. In fact, we might plausibly say that in pagan ancient-Greek ethics there is not much evidence of any concept of forgiveness. The nearest approach is that there is some idea of gracious kindness towards those who do us wrong. But in its pagan Greek version this does not involve any contrastive narrative of moral or spiritual conversion or transformation; above all, there is in pagan Greek ethics no notion at all of the kind of wrongdoing that at least Augustinian Christianity later came to focus on.

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Monday, October 5. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Sophie Grace Chappell
    Philosophy
    Open University

    12:30 PM - 01:45 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Fri, Oct 2, 2020
    C4E Flash Event, Ethics of AI in Context
    To Surveil and Predict: A Human Rights Analysis of Algorithmic Policing in Canada (Ethics of AI in Context)

    To Surveil and Predict: A Human Rights Analysis of Algorithmic Policing in Canada

    A collaboration between the International Human Rights Program and the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto, To Surveil and Predict: A Human Rights Analysis of Algorithmic Policing in Canada examines algorithmic technologies that are designed for use in criminal law enforcement systems in Canada. Algorithmic policing is an area of technological development that, in theory, is designed to enable law enforcement agencies to either automate surveillance or to draw inferences through the use of mass data processing in the hopes of predicting potential criminal activity. The report finds that the use of algorithmic policing technologies by law enforcement can raise many potential constitutional and civil liberties violations under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and international human rights law. In their presentation, the authors of this report discuss their findings, including what steps governments and the public in Canada should consider taking in light of human rights dangers at stake.

    ► please register here

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Friday, October 2. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Kate Robertson
    Markson Law
    Citizen Lab Research Fellow

    Cynthia Khoo
    Tekhnos Law

    Citizen Lab Research Fellow

    Yolanda Song
    Stevenson Whelton LLP
    IHRP Research Associate

    12:30 PM - 01:45 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Thu, Oct 1, 2020
    Critical Race Studies, Race, Ethics + Power
    Xine Yao, The Cultural Politics of Unfeeling: Considering Race and Affect From Below (Critical Race Studies: Interdisciplinary Perspectives)

    The Cultural Politics of Unfeeling: Considering Race and Affect From Below

    Dominant cultural fantasies of justice still depend upon reformed models of sympathy to recognize minoritized feelings. What if we considered unfeeling not as a strategy from above, but as a tactic from below? In my forthcoming book Disaffected: The Cultural Politics of Unfeeling in Nineteenth Century America (Duke University Press) I take an antisocial approach to affect theory. According to theorist Denise Ferreira da Silva, “affectability” is constructed as the intrinsic property of non-white others. Drawing from queer of colour critique, I refuse the usual move to recuperate unfeeling as legible feeling; instead I stress how unfeeling indexes disaffection in the political, causal, and affective senses. Unfeeling is a means of survival and a catalyst for the emergence of alternative structures of feeling. For my talk I will discuss Oriental inscrutability as a queer, racialized mode of unfeeling in its potential for what I call insurgent counterintimacies with the intertwined struggles of Black and Indigenous peoples. By discussing writings by early Black nationalist Martin R. Delany and the first Asian North American woman writer Edith Maude Eaton/Sui Sin Far, I hope to model how Asian diasporic settlers like myself should refuse the colonial politics of recognition toward the hard work of BIPOC solidarity.

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Thursday, October 1. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics. For information on the Centre for Ethics, including upcoming events, visit ethics.utoronto.ca.

    Xine Yao
    English
    University College London

    12:30 PM - 01:45 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Sep 30, 2020
    Ethics of Songs, Race, Ethics + Power
    George Elliott Clarke on "Ride On, King Jesus" (Ethics of Songs)

    Join us for The Ethics of Songs, the Centre for Ethics YouTube series that explores the ethical dimensions of songs familiar and new! (The full schedule is available here.)

    please register here

    George Elliott Clarke 
    Poet / Professor
    University of Toronto

    This is an online event, available on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    03:00 PM - 03:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Sep 30, 2020
    Ethics at Noon
    Simon Stern, Reasonable Doubters: Cross-Examination, Detection, Mystification (Ethics@Noon)

    Reasonable Doubters: Cross-Examination, Detection, Mystification

    The methods of the detective and the cross-examiner can help to get at the truth, but they can also cloud the truth, creating doubt where none existed. After a brief discussion of the rise of cross-examination, in the late eighteenth century and through the nineteenth century, I will turn to a series of developments in the detective story that increasingly stressed the unreliability of evidence. These changes, accompanied by developments in forensic science, identified new ways to “de-authenticate” legitimate documents while justifying the skeptic’s questions as merely the expression of a reasonable observer’s doubts. Unlike those who freely attach the label of “fake news” to whatever they disagree with, the reasonable doubter makes a show of adhering to proof standards – but the results may be equally dangerous.

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Wednesday, September 30. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Simon Stern
    Law & English
    University of Toronto

    12:30 PM - 01:45 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Sep 22, 2020
    Ethics of AI in Context, Critical Race Studies
    Alex Hanna, Data, Transparency, and AI Ethics (Ethics of AI in Context)

    Data, Transparency, and AI Ethics

    The interdisciplinary field of AI ethics has started new debates into the fairness of particular algorithms and the role of algorithms in automated decision making systems. In the first part of this talk, I introduce the reporting and transparency work that Google’s Ethical AI team has been pursuing around the models and data involved in these systems. A major assumption of this work is the stability of particular ontologies of socially salient characteristics. In the second part of this talk, I turn to critical race theory and sociological work on race and ethnicity to ground conceptualizations of race for algorithmic fairness and machine learning more broadly. Lastly, I outline a research program around the genealogy of data used in machine learning research. While machine learning has seen a rapid proliferation of new methods, the datasets which undergird these methods have received comparatively little attention. A research program around the genealogy of these datasets should be attentive to the constellation of organizations and stakeholders involved in their creation, the intent, values, and assumptions of their authors and curators, and the adoption of datasets by subsequent researchers.

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Tuesday, September 22. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    ► please register here

    Alex Hanna
    ML Fairness
    Google

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Mon, Sep 21, 2020
    Perspectives on Ethics
    Sally Haslanger, Systemic Injustice, Ideology, and Agency (Perspectives on Ethics)

    Systemic Injustice, Ideology, and Agency

    Racism, sexism, and other forms of systemic injustice are more than just bad attitudes.  In a stratified society, there are mechanisms – including law, policy, culture, technology, and the built environment – that stably position groups hierarchically. But attitudes play a role. How central is that role?  In this lecture Haslanger argues that social practices are patterns of interaction guided by social meanings that distribute things of value. In the case of unjust practices the network of meanings is ideological and is internalized in habits of mind that distort, obscure, and occlude important facts and result in a failure to recognize the interests of subordinated groups. How do we disrupt such practices to achieve greater justice? Haslanger argues that resistance to systemic injustice requires us to do more than just challenge false beliefs; social movements change the material and cultural conditions of agency.

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Monday, September 21. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    ► please register here

    Sally Haslanger
    Philosophy
    MIT

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Sep 16, 2020
    Ethics of Songs, Race, Ethics + Power
    Elizabeth Gould on "Mississippi Goddam" (Ethics of Songs)

    Join us for The Ethics of Songs, the Centre for Ethics YouTube series that explores the ethical dimensions of songs familiar and new! (The full schedule is available here.)

    please register here

    Elizabeth Gould
    Faculty of Music
    University of Toronto

    This is an online event, available on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    03:00 PM - 03:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Sep 16, 2020
    Ethics at Noon
    Gail Super, Punitive Welfare on the Margins of the State: Narratives of Punishment and (In)Justice in Masiphumelele (Ethics@Noon)

    Punitive Welfare on the Margins of the State: Narratives of Punishment and (In)Justice in Masiphumelele

    While there is an established literature on the relationship between political economy and state punishment, there is less work on how punishment is constituted from below in contexts of inequality. In this talk I analyse the discourse around incidents of lethal collective violence that occurred in 2015 in a former ‘black township’ in South Africa. I use this discourse as a lens for examining how punitive forms of popular justice interact with state punishment. Whether via the slow violence of racialized structural inequality or the viscerally corporeal high rates of interpersonal violence, my interviewees were intimately acquainted with violence. Although they supported long-term imprisonment, and the expulsion of ‘criminals’ from their communities, none of them came across as conservative right-wing populists. Instead, they adopted complex positions, calling for a type of punitive welfarism, which combined harsh solutions to crime with explicit recognition of the importance of dealing with ‘root causes’. I argue that when the state is perceived to be failing to both impose punishment and provide welfare, violence becomes a technology of exchange, which simultaneously seeks both more punishment and more welfare. The result is an assemblage of exclusionary penal forms, many of which stem from and/or overlap with the violence (penal and otherwise), that was deployed by colonial and apartheid rulers as a means to control their racialized subjects.

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Wednesday, September 16. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    ► please register here

    Gail Super
    Sociology
    University of Toronto

    12:30 PM - 01:45 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Sep 15, 2020
    Ethics of AI in Context, Critical Race Studies, Race, Ethics + Power
    I. Bennett Capers, A New Country: Afrofuturism, Critical Race Theory, and Policing in the Year 2044 (Critical Race Studies: Interdisciplinary Perspectives)

    A New Country: Afrofuturism, Critical Race Theory, and Policing in the Year 2044

    In his presentation, Professor Capers will turn to Afrofuturism and Critical Race Theory as a way to imagine what policing could look like in a majority-minority future where people of color make up the majority in terms of numbers, and also wield the majority of political and economic power. In short, he imagines a new country

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Tuesday, September 15. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    ► please register here

    I. Bennett Capers
    Law School
    Fordham University

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Sep 2, 2020
    Ethics of Songs
    David Fallis on "Tiny Perfect Moles" (Ethics of Songs)

    Join us for The Ethics of Songs, the Centre for Ethics YouTube series that explores the ethical dimensions of songs familiar and new! (The full schedule is available here.)

    ➡︎ please register here

    David Fallis
    Faculty of Music
    University of Toronto

    This is an online event, available on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    03:00 PM - 03:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Aug 19, 2020
    Ethics of Songs
    Nasim Niknafs on "لالایی" (Lālāi) (Ethics of Songs)

    Join us for The Ethics of Songs, the Centre for Ethics YouTube series that explores the ethical dimensions of songs familiar and new! (The full schedule is available here.)

    ➡︎ please register here

    Dr. Nasim Niknafs
    Faculty of Music
    University of Toronto

    The Ethics of Songs
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    August 19, 2020

    Credits:
    Image
    Rob Niebrugge, www.wildnatureimages.com

    Centre for Ethics
    University of Toronto
    ethics.utoronto.ca
    July 2020
    Produced and edited by Laura Menard

    This is an online event, available on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    03:00 PM - 03:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Aug 5, 2020
    Ethics of Songs
    Anna Shternshis on "Es geyen yesomim" ("Orphan's Walk") (Ethics of Songs)

    Join us for The Ethics of Songs, the Centre for Ethics YouTube series that explores the ethical dimensions of songs familiar and new! (The full schedule is available here.)

    Anna Shternshis
    Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies
    University of Toronto

    Credits:
    “Es geyen yesomim” archival photo courtesy of Anna Shternshis
    Video recording of “Es geyen yesomim” courtesy of Anna Shternshis
    Vocals: Psoy Korolenko
    Cello: Beth Silver Accordion: Sergiu Popa
    Clarinet: Julian Milkis Part of the “Yiddish Glory Project”
    Creators: Anna Shternshis and Psoy Korolenko
    Producer: Dan Rosenberg

    Centre for Ethics
    University of Toronto
    ethics.utoronto.ca
    July 2020
    Produced and edited by Laura Menard

    Additional Resources:

    For more on Yiddish Glory, see https://www.yiddishglory.com/

    For press, see http://danrosenberg.net/press_yiddish_glory

    For an academic article, “Hitler Hanging on the Tree: Humor and Violence in Soviet Yiddish Folklore of World War II,” in Laughter After: Humor and the Holocaust, edited by Avinom Platt, David Slucki and Gabriel Finder, pp.15 – 37, Wayne State University Press, 2020 (http://tiny.cc/jnamsz)

    This is an online event, available on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    03:00 PM - 03:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Jul 15, 2020
    Ethics of Black Lives Matter
    Daniel Loick & Vanessa E. Thompson, Breathing and Unbreathing: The Chokeholds of Racism (The Ethics of Black Lives Matter)

    Join the Centre for Ethics for The Ethics of Black Lives Matter, an interdisciplinary series of online events featuring short video takes.

    Breathing and Unbreathing: The Chokeholds of Racism

    The recent murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Tony McDade have sparked resistance against policing and carcerality as articulations of racial gendered capitalism globally. Black, brown and migrant communities are protesting and trace the transnational connections and historical continuities of present murderous institutions such as the police, in their respective contexts and show that these protests are not only about the US. The systemic killings of black people in these various contexts present the most repressive and deadly function of policing. This is however only one part of the problem. The repression and oppression of black, brown and migrant folks is inextricably linked to the empowerment and normalization of dominant segments of the population.

    In this input, we discuss the differential functionality of policing and how it plays out in the field of subjectivation and identification. We explore the condition of unbreathing for some (and inherent to the policing of blackness and race) in relationship to the breathability of others by drawing on accounts of the policing of black lives, black radical, feminist and critical social theory. Finally, we propose a subjective and collective dis-dentification with the police as a precondition for a world in which we all can breathe.

    This conversation will take place in German language.


    Atmen und Erstickenlassen: Die Würgegriffe des Rassismus

    Die Morde an George Floyd, Breonna Taylor und Tony McDade haben einen weltweiten Widerstand gegen das System des Polizierens und Einsperrens als Ausdruck eines rassifizierten und vergeschlechtlichten Kapitalismus ausgelöst. Der Protest Schwarzer und migrantischer Communities verweist in seinen jeweiligen Kontexten auf die transnationalen Verbindungen und historischen Kontinuitäten der gegenwärtigen Gewaltinstitutionen wie der Polizei. Dieser Protest ist somit nicht allein auf die USA bezogen. Die systematische Tötung Schwarzer Menschen in diesen verschiedenen Kontexten sind der tödlichste und repressivste Ausdruck des Polizierens. Sie sind aber nur die eine Seite der polizeilichen Logik. Die Unterdrückung von Menschen of Color ist untrennbar verknüpft mit der Ermächtigung und Normalisierung dominanter Teile der Bevölkerung.

    In diesem Input diskutieren wir die differentielle Funktionsweise der Polizei und ihre Auswirkungen auf die Subjektivierung und Identifizierung. Wir wollen den Ursachen dessen nachgehen, dass einigen die Luft zum Atmen genommen wird (ein Effekt, der dem Polizieren Schwarzer Menschen inhärent ist), während andere frei atmen können. Dafür konsultieren wir einige radikale Schwarze Ansätze sowie feministische und kritische Gesellschaftstheorien. Wir schlagen schließlich eine subjektive und kollektive Des-Identifikation mit der Polizei als Vorbedingung einer Welt vor, in der wir alle atmen können.

    Das Gespräch findet in deutscher Sprache statt.

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 10am EDT (= 4pm CET), on Wednesday, July 15. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.) 

    ➡︎ please register here

    Daniel LoickDaniel Loick is associate professor of Political and Social Philosophy at the University of Amsterdam

     

     

     

    Vanessa E. ThompsonVanessa E. Thompson is postdoctoral researcher and lecturer at the European University Viadrina Frankfurt

     

     

     

    10:00 AM - 10:30 AM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Mon, Jul 13, 2020
    Ethics of Black Lives Matter
    Charisse Burden-Stelly & Sandy Placido, Radical Ethics and Black Lives Matter: Pan-Caribbean Perspectives on Capitalism, Imperialism, State Violence, and Antiblackness (The Ethics of Black Lives Matter)

    Join the Centre for Ethics for The Ethics of Black Lives Matter, an interdisciplinary series of online events featuring short video takes.

    Radical Ethics and Black Lives Matter: Pan-Caribbean Perspectives on Capitalism, Imperialism, State Violence, and Antiblackness

    In this conversation Drs. Charisse Burden-Stelly and Sandy Plácido offer an internationalist and pan-Caribbean perspective on the radical ethics of Black Lives Matter though an analysis of capitalism, imperialism, state violence, and antiblackness. From the police murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Rashard Brooks in the United States to the intensification of far-right anti-Haitian violence in the Dominican Republic to the contested elections in Guyana, profound questions are being raised about the relationship of Blackness to both domination and liberation.

    The antagonism between Black life and “law and order,” of which the brutality and
    dehumanization of policing is only one manifestation, provides insight into repression as a means of contending with constitutive lack emanating from histories of (neo-)colonialism and imperialism, capitalist exploitation and neoliberal austerity, and their rootedness in processes of racialization and regimes of antiblackness. Plácido and Burden-Stelly consider how this current iteration of uprisings and demands on the state require a disaggregation of “mass mobilization,” which is coming from both the left and the right; an interrogation of the peculiar appeal of fascist-like nationalism to populations historically subjected to imperial and colonial domination; and a consideration of the benefits and limitations of “popular front”—that is, ideologically heterogenous—demands for equality and justice. Additionally, the Professors take up the radical ethics of Black lives matter as a heuristic to interrogate state power as a function of ruling class interests, on the one hand, and the potential for people’s power to enact meaningful change, on the other hand.

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 3pm, on Monday, July 13. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.) 

    ➡︎ please register here

    Charisse Burden-Stelly
    Africana Studies & Political Science
    Carleton College

     

     

     

    Sandy PlacidoSandy Placido
    History
    Queens College, City University of New York

    03:00 PM - 03:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Jul 8, 2020
    Ethics of Black Lives Matter
    Norman Ajari & Vincent Lloyd, Black Dignity: The Moral Vocabulary of Black Lives Matter (The Ethics of Black Lives Matter)

    Join the Centre for Ethics for The Ethics of Black Lives Matter, an interdisciplinary series of online events featuring short video takes.

    Black Dignity: The Moral Vocabulary of Black Lives Matter

    The recent racial justice protests represent not only an intensification and broadening of longstanding anti-racist activism. They represent the introduction to mainstream political discourse of a new moral vocabulary, one that unequivocally centers Blackness, transforms how we understand dignity, and orients the virtues to struggle. With reference to the French and US contexts, Norman Ajari and Vincent Lloyd will discuss what is new and what is old in the moral vocabulary of today’s racial justice movements.

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 3pm, on Wednesday, July 8. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.) 

    ➡︎ please register here

    Norman Ajari
    Philosophy
    Villanova University

     

     

     

    Vincent LloydVincent Lloyd
    Theology and Religious Studies
    Africana Studies Program
    Villanova University

     

    03:00 PM - 03:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Fri, Jul 3, 2020
    Ethics of Black Lives Matter
    Emmanuel Blanchard, Black Lives Matter in France: The Colonial Legacy of French Policing (The Ethics of Black Lives Matter)

    Join the Centre for Ethics for The Ethics of Black Lives Matter, an interdisciplinary series of online events featuring short video takes.

    Black Lives Matter in France: The Colonial Legacy of French Policing

    This talk (given in French) will focus on a double riddle: the unique historical trajectory leading to a “French style of policing” characterized by its aggressive style in racialized communities, and the extreme circumspection of French policing studies when it comes to integrating post-colonial analyses and the colonial past into their analytical frameworks. The first to bring to the foreground the excesses of the colonial legacy were activists. This may explain why studies framed in terms of “internal colonialism,” as well as those highlighting continuities with policing practices shaped in colonial situations, were undervalued.

    Domestic French policing was more directly impacted by its imperial legacy than was the case in Britain. The Algerian War (1954-1962) in particular considerably affected police-public relationships, leading to organizational, institutional, and practical innovations (an emphasis on “anti-crime” interventions; heavy reliance on stop-and-search; a tendency toward militarization) whose contemporary traces appear significant when it comes to comparing France to other European policing institutions.

    * * * *

    Black Lives Matter en France: les héritages coloniaux des pratiques de police

    Cette contribution vise à proposer des pistes d’élucidation au sujet d’une double énigme : les trajectoire historique ayant conduit à un « style policier français » marqué par sa rugosité, en particulier en ce qui concerne les espaces et les populations racialisées ; la grande prudence avec laquelle les spécialistes français des police studies intègrent les analyses postcoloniales et le passé colonial des polices hexagonales à leurs grilles d’analyse. Les origines militantes de la dénonciation des héritages coloniaux ont contribué à mettre à distance les analyses en termes de « colonialisme interne » ainsi que celles relatives aux continuités ou aux rémanences de pratiques policières forgées en situation coloniale. Il reste que, pour en rester à comparaison franco-britannique, les polices hexagonales ont été plus directement touchées par les reconfigurations impériales que ne l’ont été leurs homologues d’outre-Manche. La période de la guerre d’Algérie (1954-1962) a ainsi considérablement infléchi les rapports police-population et conduit à des innovations organisationnelles, institutionnelles et pratiques (prégnance de « l’anticriminalité », des contrôle d’identité et de formes de militarisation…) dont les traces contemporaines apparaissent significatives quand il s’agit de comparer les polices françaises à d’autres institutions policières en Europe.

    * * * *

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 11am EDT (= 5pm CET), on Friday, July 3. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.) 

    Emmanuel BlanchardEmmanuel Blanchard
    Political Science
    University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines Sciences Po Saint-Germain-en-Laye

    11:00 AM - 11:30 AM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Thu, Jul 2, 2020
    Ethics of Black Lives Matter
    Amadou Korbinian Sow, Black Lives Matter in Germany: What Does It Mean to Orient Oneself in White Jurisprudence? (The Ethics of Black Lives Matter)

    Join the Centre for Ethics for The Ethics of Black Lives Matter, an interdisciplinary series of online events featuring short video takes.

    Black Lives Matter in Germany: What Does It Mean to Orient Oneself in White Jurisprudence?

    Jurisprudence need not be indifferent to matters of racial justice – even if its main perspective is a “white” one. Using the particularly palpable example of German “legal science”, the talk will explore how jurisprudence and the academy can be used as a lever (hypomochlium) for minoritarian issues.

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 12pm EDT (6pm CET), Thursday, July 2. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    ➡︎ please register here

    Amadou Korbinian SowAmadou Korbinian Sow
    Bucerius Law School
    Hamburg

     

    12:00 PM - 12:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Mon, Jun 29, 2020
    Ethics of Black Lives Matter
    A Conversation Between Rachel Herzing and Amna Akbar

    Join the Centre for Ethics for The Ethics of Black Lives Matter, an interdisciplinary series of online events featuring short video takes.

    A Conversation Between Rachel Herzing and Amna Akbar

    A conversation between Rachel Herzing and Amna Akbar on the organizing that came before, and the road ahead, toward prison abolition.

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 3pm, Monday, June 29. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    ➡︎ please register here

    Rachel Herzing
    Executive Director, Center for Political Education
    Co-Founder, Critical Resistance

     

     

     

    Amna AkbarAmna Akbar
    Law
    Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies
    Ohio State University

     

    03:00 PM - 03:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Fri, Jun 26, 2020
    Ethics of COVID
    Natasha Tusikov, Going Cashless in an Era of Digital Payments & Surveillance (The Ethics of COVID)

    Join the Centre for Ethics for The Ethics of COVID, an interdisciplinary series of online events featuring short video takes on the ethical dimensions of the COVID crisis.

    Going Cashless in an Era of Digital Payments & Surveillance

    The COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating the shift toward a cashless society, with consumers and retailers turning to payment cards and digital payments in efforts to avoid the perceived contagion from cash. While this shift offers some benefits, including convenience, it also penalizes those who prefer or rely upon cash. Methods of digital payments, from PayPal and Apple Pay to Square, operate surveillance-intensive business models that collect, interpret, and commodify data in order to augment existing products and create new ones. Payment platforms also have a troubling history of denying services to those they label “high risk,” including people working in the sex industry and distributing sexual or erotic content. With surveillance an intrinsic feature of digital-payment systems, what are the possible repercussions of a cashless society? What lessons can we draw from payment platforms’ campaign against sex workers to address financial exclusion and discrimination in a post-pandemic society?

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 3pm, Friday, June 26. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    ➡︎ please register here

    Natasha TusikovNatasha Tusikov
    Criminology Program
    Department of Social Science
    York University

     

    03:00 PM - 03:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Jun 24, 2020
    Ethics of COVID
    Vincent Chiao & Corey Brettschneider, Rights, Solidarity and the Power to Punish in States of Emergency

    Join the Centre for Ethics for The Ethics of COVID, an interdisciplinary series of online events featuring short video takes on the ethical dimensions of the COVID crisis.

    Rights, Solidarity and the Power to Punish in States of Emergency

    Description: In the most urgent moments of the COVID-19 pandemic, apparently well-established discourses of individual rights collapsed immediately, with a wide array of social norms — e.g. concerning the use of public space, freedom of movement, freedom of contract and privacy — transforming almost literally overnight. Rights discourse proved ineffective, because unappealing; rights talk was replaced with calls for solidarity and deference to sweeping assertions of executive power, supplemented with formal and informal efforts to shame and punish those caught violating the new social norms. What lessons should we draw about how rights discourse functions in a theory of the modern administrative state? What is the place of punishment when in the face of disagreement about which social norms should prevail?

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 3pm, Wednesday, June 24. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    ➡︎ please register here

    Vincent Chiao
    University of Toronto
    Law

     

     

     

    Corey BrettschneiderCorey Brettschneider
    Brown University
    Political Science

     

    03:00 PM - 03:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Jun 23, 2020
    Ethics of Black Lives Matter
    Siddhant Issar, Reflecting on Black Lives Matter: Visions of Abolition Democracy (The Ethics of Black Lives Matter)

    Join the Centre for Ethics for The Ethics of Black Lives Matter, an interdisciplinary series of online events featuring short video takes.

    Reflecting on Black Lives Matter: Visions of Abolition Democracy

    In the wake of the police murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, longstanding activist demands to “defund the police” have finally gained traction. In this talk, I begin by situating contemporary demands for police abolition within the Movement for Black Lives’s (M4BL) critique of racial capitalism. The world-system of racial capitalism, for M4BL, is a foundational motor of historical and ongoing anti-Black violence. Subsequently, I argue that M4BL’s vision to contest racial capitalism—as found in their policy platform—revolves around an abolitionist democratic politics, including demands for the democratization of land and natural resources. I end by thinking about the political and normative implications of M4BL’s critique of and positive program to overcome anti-Black oppression.

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 3pm, Tuesday, June 23. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    ➡︎ please register here

    Siddhant Issar Siddhant Issar
    Political Science
    UMass Amherst

    03:00 PM - 03:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Mon, Jun 22, 2020
    Ethics of COVID
    Abi Adams-Prassl & Jeremias Adams-Prassl, COVID-19: Three Challenges for Labour Market Regulation (The Ethics of COVID)

    Join the Centre for Ethics for The Ethics of COVID, an interdisciplinary series of online events featuring short video takes on the ethical dimensions of the COVID crisis.

    COVID-19: Three Challenges for Labour Market Regulation

    Drawing on new survey evidence of the impact of Covid-19 on international labour markets, in this workshop, we set out three key challenges for Labour Market Regulation going forward. First, a number of issues raised by the explosion of working from home, including the fact that it is highly unequal, with a clear correlation between income and education/occupation: in the short run, low-income earners face significantly higher risk exposure; in the long run, how will employment law standards, from privacy to working time, have to adapt to be applicable away from the workplace? The second challenge relates to the emergency policies put in place to soften labour market impacts (such as the UK furlough scheme, or German Kurzarbeit), the curious incentives created by its rules, and the on-going confusion about its interaction with other norms, such as paid annual leave. Finally, emerging evidence suggests that women have been impacted disproportionately, raising a series about issues about the applicability of equality and anti-discrimination law.

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 12pm (5pm UK), Monday, June 22. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    ➡︎ please register here

    Abi Adams-PrasslAbi Adams-Prassl
    Department of Economics
    University of Oxford

     

     

    Jeremias Adams-PrasslJeremias Adams-Prassl
    Faculty of Law
    University of Oxford

    12:00 PM - 12:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Fri, Jun 19, 2020
    Ethics of Black Lives Matter
    Luvell Anderson, Hermeneutical Impasses, Hermeneutical Injustices, and Progress (The Ethics of Black Lives Matter)

    Join the Centre for Ethics for The Ethics of Black Lives Matter, an interdisciplinary series of online events featuring short video takes.

    Hermeneutical Impasses, Hermeneutical Injustices, and Progress

    With different voices and perspectives flooding the forum of public discourse over righting injustice, it is important to be reflective about the language of debate. The framing of public discourse can have implications for dialogue, substantive as opposed to symbolic justice, and progress.

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 3pm, Friday, June 19. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    Luvell Anderson Luvell Anderson 
    Philosophy
    Women’s and Gender Studies &
    African American Studies
    Syracuse University

    03:00 PM - 03:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Jun 16, 2020
    Ethics of Black Lives Matter
    Ian Loader, Beyond Brutality: Political Visions in Black Lives Matter (The Ethics of Black Lives Matter)

    Join the Centre for Ethics for The Ethics of Black Lives Matter, an interdisciplinary series of online events featuring short video takes.

    Beyond Brutality: Political Visions in Black Lives Matter

    Black Lives Matter is a vibrant movement against racist brutality – in the US and far beyond. Its orientation is to expose, publicize and critique. But Black Lives Matter is also an idea. It is a movement that draws on ideas, that is animated by ideas, that is generative of ideas. So what ideas can be located in, and distilled from, the angry protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd? What different futures, what alternative political visions, animate Black Lives Matter?

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 10am EDT (5pm UK), Tuesday, June 16. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    ➡︎ please register here

    Ian Loader Ian Loader 
    Centre for Criminology
    All Souls College

    University of Oxford

    10:00 AM - 10:30 AM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Mon, Jun 15, 2020
    Ethics of AI in Context, Ethics of COVID
    Mireille Hildebrandt, Living with an Endemic Virus: EU Data Protection Law (The Ethics of COVID)

    ➡︎ Unfortunately, this event has been cancelled. We hope to reschedule it in the future.

    Join the Centre for Ethics for The Ethics of COVID, an interdisciplinary series of online events featuring short video takes on the ethical dimensions of the COVID crisis.

    Living with an Endemic Virus: EU Data Protection Law

    In this talk C4E-veteran Mireille Hildebrandt will discuss how EU data protection law is well suited to address the myriad balancing acts required when constitutional democracies face the prospect of hosting an enduring endemic virus. This concerns issues of human autonomy, confidentiality of communication, non-discrimination and freedom of information when preparing a return to the new normal, including workplace safety, physical distancing, contact tracing, immunity passports, and medical research. Focus of the discussion will be the aim of preventing infringements of all relevant fundamental rights, and the use of the purpose limitation principle as the core of the GDPR.

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 10am (4pm CET), Monday, June 15. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    ➡︎ please register here

    Mireille HildebrandtMireille Hildebrandt
    Vrije Universiteit Brussels
    Law Science Technology and Society Studies

    Faculty of Law and Criminology

    10:00 AM - 10:30 AM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Fri, Jun 12, 2020
    Ethics of COVID
    Nicola Lacetera, The Ethics and Economics of Paying Plasma Donors (The Ethics of COVID)

    Join the Centre for Ethics for The Ethics of COVID, an interdisciplinary series of online events featuring short video takes on the ethical dimensions of the COVID crisis.

    The Ethics and Economics of Paying Plasma Donors

    Compensation for plasma donors—specifically, for the supply of plasma to be used for fractionation—and the establishment of for-profit plasma centers are legal activities in several countries, such as the United States, Czech Republic, and Austria. Many other countries prohibit payments.14 A common feature of most countries that ban compensation is that they run a deficit of plasma for domestic uses; therefore, they rely on imports, most often of plasma collected in countries where compensation is legal because, typically, these countries have a surplus of available plasma. The different legal status of payments to donors around the world and the international plasma procurement and allocation patterns are somewhat exemplary of the challenges in defining contested trades and in determining the reasons for bans to compensation.

    In the past weeks, there has been an increased attention toward the collection of convalescent plasma. Convalescent plasma is drawn from someone who has recovered from a virus. When a person is infected with a virus, their body produces antibodies to fight it. These antibodies could be the key ingredient for a treatment to help other people with the same virus. In particular, some research is showing that plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients may help treating infected individuals. This treatment, however, requires very large quantities of plasma from recovered patients.

    Should various jurisdictions reconsider their ban of payments, in order to provide stronger incentives?

    In this talk, Professor Lacetera will review the ethical and economic arguments for and against compensating plasma donors. He will also review the current evidence on the social support to payments. Finally, he will expand from this specific case to discuss the challenges of policy making in the case of ethically contentious transactions.

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 3pm, Friday, June 12. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    ➡︎ please register here

    Nicola LaceteraNicola Lacetera
    University of Toronto
    Department of Management UTM &
    Rotman School of Management

    03:00 PM - 03:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Jun 10, 2020
    Ethics of COVID, Ethics of Black Lives Matter
    Black Health Matters: Racism and Protest In the Midst of a Global Pandemic (The Ethics of Black Lives Matter)

    Join the Centre for Ethics for The Ethics of Black Lives Matter, an interdisciplinary series of online events featuring short video takes.

    Black Health Matters: Racism and Protest In the Midst of a Global Pandemic

    In the midst of an unprecedented pandemic, we are now witnessing an unprecedented uprising, sparked by the death of George Floyd, both against police brutality as well as against white supremacy. Protests have spread across the US and, more recently, globally. We will talk about the ways in which long standing racial health inequalities, as well as the way in which the burdens of the pandemic are distributed unequally, intersect the current uprisings, including the ideologies of underlying conditions, the idea of violence as a pandemic (metaphorical and literal), and more.

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 3pm, Wednesday, June 10. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit YouTube.com/c/CentreforEthics.)

    ➨ please register here

    Yolonda Yvette Wilson is a 2019-2020 fellow at the National Humanities Center and a 2019-2020 Encore Public Voices fellow. Her research interests include bioethics, social and political philosophy, race theory, and feminist philosophy. She is broadly interested in the nature and limits of the state’s obligations to rectify historic and continuing injustice, particularly in the realm of health care, and is developing an account of justice that articulates specific requirements for racial justice in health care at the end of life.

    in conversation with:

    Elena Comay del JuncoElena Comay del Junco is post-doctoral fellow at the Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto. Her work spans ancient philosophy and philosophy of race, with an emphasis on race and medicine

    03:00 PM - 03:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Mon, Jun 8, 2020
    Ethics of COVID
    Anna Su, Keeping the Faith During a Pandemic: Religion and COVID-19 (The Ethics of COVID)

    Join the Centre for Ethics for The Ethics of COVID, an interdisciplinary series of online events featuring short video takes on the ethical dimensions of the COVID crisis.

    Keeping the Faith During a Pandemic: Religion and COVID-19

    In this brief talk, I discuss how religion and religious liberty has been shaping comparative legal and policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. I also examine some of the arguments underlying the cases filed by churches against closures in US and Europe. I argue both religious communities and the outside world will have to adapt to our new reality as we urgently acknowledge how the current pandemic highlights the need for a life beyond bare existence.

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 3pm, Monday, June 8. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream.

    ➡︎ please register here

    Anna SuAnna Su
    University of Toronto
    Law

     

    03:00 PM - 03:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Fri, Jun 5, 2020
    Ethics of AI in Context, Ethics of COVID
    Veena Dubal, Surveillance Is Not a Social Good: Technocapital, Public Health, and the Pandemic (The Ethics of COVID)

    Join the Centre for Ethics for The Ethics of COVID, an interdisciplinary series of online events featuring short video takes on the ethical dimensions of the COVID crisis.

    Surveillance Is Not a Social Good: Technocapital, Public Health, and the Pandemic

    Technology companies are rapidly repurposing themselves amidst the global pandemic, leveraging and expanding existing surveillance economies in the name of public health. What are the potential implications and differential outcomes of these collaborations between health authorities and technocapital? This talk explores the nascent intersections of surveillance capitalism and public health and suggests a framework for anticipating and containing the anti-democratic and authoritarian practices that may emerge.

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 3pm, Friday, June 5. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream.

    ➡︎ please register here

    Veena DubalVeena Dubal
    UC Hastings Law

     

    03:00 PM - 03:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Jun 3, 2020
    Ethics of COVID
    Benjamin Davis, Internationalism Under Lockdown (The Ethics of COVID)

    Internationalism Under Lockdown

    This talk will focus on vocabularies of internationalism, solidarity, and belonging amidst the pandemic. What is the “normal” to which so many desire to return? Why are some events officially declared a “crisis” and others casually deemed business as usual? By considering the terms of the present, and by providing examples across the Americas, this discussion will offer points of connection across our taken-as-natural lines: nations, states, political memberships, and so on.

    Join the Centre for Ethics for The Ethics of COVID, an interdisciplinary series of online events featuring short video takes on the ethical dimensions of the COVID crisis.

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 3pm, Wednesday, June 3. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream.

    ➨ please register here

    Benjamin DavisBenjamin Davis
    Emory University/University of Toronto
    Philosophy/Centre for Ethics

     

    03:00 PM - 03:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Mon, Jun 1, 2020
    Conferences, Ethics of COVID
    Steps from the Frontlines: Medical Student Perspectives During COVID-19 (The Ethics of COVID)

    Steps from the Frontlines: Medical Student Perspectives During COVID-19

    Three medical students at the University of Toronto, Vinyas Harish, Liam McCoy, and Nishila Mehta, discuss the sentiments, pressures and dilemmas associated with being a medical trainee during a global pandemic. Topics to be discussed include: (i) Learning medicine during COVID-19, (ii) “COVID competition” and pandemic productivity pressures (iii) what will change about medical education going forward.

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 3pm, Monday, June 1. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream.

    ➡︎ please register here

    Vinyas Harish
    University of Toronto
    Medicine and Public Health

     

     

     

    Liam McCoy
    University of Toronto
    Medicine and Public Health

     

     

     

    Nishila Mehta

    Nishila Mehta
    University of Toronto
    Medicine and Public Health

    03:00 PM - 03:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Fri, May 29, 2020
    Ethics of COVID
    John Ricco, Isolation, Loneliness, Solitude: The COVID-19 Pandemic Has Brought Us Too Close Together (The Ethics of COVID)

    Join the Centre for Ethics for The Ethics of COVID, an interdisciplinary series of online events featuring short video takes on the ethical dimensions of the COVID crisis.

    Isolation, Loneliness, Solitude: The COVID-19 Pandemic Has Brought Us Too Close Together

    In this brief talk I discuss how distance is the spacing of the ethical, isolation is the evacuation of that space, loneliness is the deprivation of the self, and solitude is what we need to reclaim as the only means by which an ethical sense of the common might take place. Drawing upon the work of Arendt, Agamben, Blanchot, and Foucault, I proceed to explicate how it is that the COVID-19 pandemic has actually brought us too close together.

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 3pm, Friday, May 29. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream.

    ➨ please register here

    John Paul RiccoJohn Paul Ricco
    University of Toronto
    Art History &
    Centre for Comparative Literature

     

     

    03:00 PM - 03:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, May 27, 2020
    Ethics of COVID
    Alex Luscombe & Alexander McClelland, Policing the Pandemic: Counter Mapping the Expansion of COVID-19 Enforcement Across Canada (The Ethics of COVID)

    Join the Centre for Ethics for The Ethics of COVID, an interdisciplinary series of online events featuring short video takes on the ethical dimensions of the COVID crisis.

    Policing the Pandemic: Counter Mapping the Expansion of COVID-19 Enforcement Across Canada

    Across Canada, there has been an extraordinary scaling-up of police powers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although initially, the idea circulated that COVID-19 impacted all people equally, this notion was quickly dispelled as the race and class dynamics of the pandemic became apparent. Concerned that these same dynamics would shape the application of laws and policing practices designed to contain illness, on April 4 2020, we began to monitor COVID-related police incidents across the country. Our project, called the Policing the Pandemic Mapping Project, has quickly grown into a living data repository of publicly accessible information and commentary about the emergent impacts of police responses to COVID-19. In this talk, we will reflect on the major findings of this project so far, situating them in a broader conversation about policing, inequality, and the criminalization of communicable disease. Particular attention will be paid to the dual crises currently faced by marginalized and racialized people across Canada, the crisis of COVID and the crisis of policing.

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 3pm, Wednesday, May 27. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream.

    ➨ please register here

    Alex LuscombeAlex Luscombe
    University of Toronto
    Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies

     

     

     

    Alexander McClellandAlexander McClelland
    Department of Criminology
    University of Ottawa

     

     

    in conversation with:

    Jamie DuncanJamie Duncan
    Ethics of AI Lab, Centre for Ethics
    University of Toronto
    Centre for Access to Information and Justice
    University of Winnipeg

     

    co-sponsored by:
    Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies, University of Toronto

    03:00 PM - 03:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, May 26, 2020
    Ethics of AI in Context, Ethics in the City
    Sidewalk Toronto Revisited: Looking Back, Looking Ahead (Ethics in the City)

    Sidewalk Toronto Revisited: Looking Back, Looking Ahead (Ethics in the City)

    On January 24, 2018, the Centre for Ethics hosted what was billed as “a panel discussion of the [then nascent] Sidewalk Toronto Project, a collaboration of Google’s Sidewalk Labs and Waterfront Toronto.”

    On May 7, 2020, Sidewalk Labs announced that it will no longer pursue the Sidewalk Toronto Project.

    On May 26, 2020, C4E will host a follow-up to the 2018 event, featuring most of the original panel members (Mark Fox, Ruben Gaetani, John Lorinc, and Mariana Valverde), plus Mireille Hildebrandt, a leading European expert on law & technology, who has previously lectured on Sidewalk Toronto at C4E.

    Join us for this online livestreamed event, as the panelists take this opportunity to look back and ahead, to see what’s changed, what hasn’t, what we (and others?) have learned, both about our local “smart city” project and the idea–and reality–of smart cities in general, elsewhere and in the future. (Videos of the original presentations are available in the Ethics in the City playlist, here.)

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 10am, Tuesday, May 26. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream.

    ➨ please register here

    Panelists:

    Mark Fox
    Industrial Engineering & Computer Science
    University of Toronto

    Ruben Gaetani
    Department of Management
    Rotman School
    University of Toronto

    Mireille Hildebrandt
    Vrije Universiteit Brussels
    Law Science Technology and Society Studies

    John Lorinc
    Freelance Author & Editor

    Mariana Valverde
    Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies
    University of Toronto

    10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Mon, May 25, 2020
    Ethics of COVID
    Rebecca Woods, No Magic Bullet: The COVID-19 Vaccine as Technological Fix (The Ethics of COVID)

    Join the Centre for Ethics for The Ethics of COVID, an interdisciplinary series of online events featuring short video takes on the ethical dimensions of the COVID crisis.

    No Magic Bullet: The COVID-19 Vaccine as Technological Fix

    In the throes of the current pandemic, many of us–the public, politicians, epidemiologists and other experts–are eagerly anticipating the development of a vaccine for COVID-19. As the virus migrates around the globe, and more and more people experience the disruption and hardships of lockdowns, the tendency to pin our hopes for salvation and deliverance to a vaccine–a tangible measure that promises to protect us all against the physical and economic risks of COVID-19–is more than understandable. But the impulse to approach complex societal problems (like the current pandemic) as if all they need for resolution or amelioration is a novel technology is itself problematic. Such “technological fixes,” often promoted as magic bullets, invariably produce problems of their own, creating a cascade effect in which challenge upon challenge seems to demand more and more novel fixes (often technological). In this conversation we will consider the hope and demand for a covid vaccine from this angle, examining the impulse to turn to a technological fix, why such an approach is almost destined to be a complicated and partial solution to the pandemic at most, and how thinking critically about the role of technology and society can help us come to grips with this aspect of the pandemic.

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 3pm, Monday, May 25. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream.

    ➨ please register here

    Rebecca Woods
    Institute for the History & Philosophy of
    Science & Technology
    Department of History

     

     

    in conversation with:
    Catherine EvansCatherine Evans
    University of Toronto
    Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies
    Department of History

     

    co-sponsored by:

    Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, University of Toronto

    03:00 PM - 03:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Fri, May 22, 2020
    Ethics of COVID
    John Lorinc, The Ethics of Publishing COVID-19 Drug Research in Real Time (The Ethics of COVID)

    Join the Centre for Ethics for The Ethics of COVID, an interdisciplinary series of online events featuring short video takes on the ethical dimensions of the COVID crisis.

    The Ethics of Publishing COVID-19 Drug Research in Real Time

    The hype around hydroxychloroquine, an old malaria drug that has been informally used to treat COVID-19 , took off as rapidly as the virus spread. Inconclusive research about its efficacy spread from footnote to journal article, and finally to social media, pitched first by Elon Musk and later Donald Trump. The hype died down just as rapidly, partly due to overdose deaths but also because the Trump twitter circus moved on. Yet an abundance of serious medical research into hydroxychloroquine is ongoing, and will produce conclusive results later this year. John Lorinc will discuss his reporting about how the run on hydroxychloroquine backfired on legacy patients, exposed profound supply chain problems, and raised questions about the ethics of publishing, and then posting online, highly preliminary research results from small sample studies.

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 3pm, Friday, May 22. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream.

    ➨ please register here

    John LorincJohn Lorinc
    John Lorinc is a Toronto journalist and editor. He writes about urban affairs, politics, business and technology for national and local media, including The Globe and Mail, Maclean’s, Toronto Star and Walrus. He is a senior editor of Spacing Magazine and the Toronto non-fiction editor for Coach House Books, which has published five anthologies he’s co-edited, including The Ward. For 2019-2020, John holds the Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy, and is researching the governance of smart city technologies.

    03:00 PM - 03:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, May 20, 2020
    Conferences, Ethics of COVID
    Racial Inequality During a Pandemic: Philosophical and Historical Perspectives (The Ethics of COVID)

    Racial Inequality During a Pandemic: Philosophical and Historical Perspectives

    Among the many axes of racial inequality, disparities in health and medicine remain particularly stark. The pandemic has only exacerbated this longstanding reality, especially in the United States, where the lack of publicly funded universal health care means that poor and working-class people – among whom, as everywhere, there are disproportionate numbers of non-white racial and ethnic minorities – are at a particular disadvantage within the healthcare system(s). And, in the US, even controlling for class-based metrics, African Americans, in particular, are more likely to suffer from a panoply of health risks at significantly higher rates than their counterparts. Across the country, Black and Latino people have been vastly overrepresented among COVID victims. This workshop brings together historical and philosophical perspectives, tracing the mutations of health inequality over time, reflecting on the roots and context of the currently unfolding crisis.

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 3pm, Wednesday, May 20. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream.

    ➨ please register here

    Elena Comay del JuncoElena Comay del Junco is post-doctoral fellow at the Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto. Her work spans ancient philosophy and philosophy of race, with an emphasis on race and medicine.

     

     

    Korey Garibaldi

    Korey Garibaldi is Assistant Professor in the Department of American Studies at Notre Dame. Garibaldi studies the social and intellectual history of the United States, with a special interest in the history of late nineteenth and twentieth-century literary production. He also studies the cultural history of race and medicine in the 20th century.

     

    Yolonda Yvette WilsonYolonda Yvette Wilson is a 2019-2020 fellow at the National Humanities Center and a 2019-2020 Encore Public Voices fellow. Her research interests include bioethics, social and political philosophy, race theory, and feminist philosophy. She is broadly interested in the nature and limits of the state’s obligations to rectify historic and continuing injustice, particularly in the realm of health care, and is developing an account of justice that articulates specific requirements for racial justice in health care at the end of life.

    03:00 PM - 04:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Mon, May 18, 2020
    Ethics of COVID
    Matthew Smith, Reproducing Freedom (The Ethics of COVID)

    Join the Centre for Ethics for The Ethics of COVID, an interdisciplinary series of online events featuring short video takes on the ethical dimensions of the COVID crisis.

    Reproducing Freedom

    Contemporary political battles around COVID-19 have focused on the state-implemented lock-downs, which many on the Right are calling assaults on individual freedom. The response to these challenges is usually to gesture at “the science,” as if epidemiologists and medical doctors were obviously the philosopher-kings of the day. This talk explores how the pandemic helps us to see a richer conception of freedom – one that allows us both to challenge right wing resistance to lock-downs and to resist the simplistic medicalization of our politics as represented by the epidemiological models

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 3pm, Monday, May 18. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream.

    ➨ please register here

    Matthew SmithMatthew Smith
    Northeastern University
    Philosophy and Religion

     

    03:00 PM - 03:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Fri, May 15, 2020
    Conferences, Ethics of AI in Context
    Conference: The Future of Work in the Age of Automation and AI

    The Future of Work in the Age of Automation and AI

    This international and interdisciplinary workshop, spanning nine timezones, is designed to explore the implications and complications that automation and AI have introduced into the work-leisure matrix, by considering possible futures of work that have been framed in terms of ideas and proposals such as post-work, the distribution of care-work, and the implementation of a universal basic income. The workshop aims to take a broad approach to its subject matter, by including a wide spectrum of disciplinary perspectives, ranging from moral and political philosophy to law and political economy. Workshop proceedings will appear as a symposium in the Centre’s open-access journal.

    ➨ please register here

    Schedule

    12pm [= 9am Pacific/5pm UK/6pm Central Europe]
    Panel 1: AI, Autonomy, and the Future of Everyday Work
    Aleena Chia (Simon Fraser, Communication), Self-making and Game-making in the Future of Work
    Veena Dubal (UC Hastings, Law), The Time Politics of Digital Piecework

    1pm [= 10am/6pm/7pm]
    Panel 2: AI Bosses and Autonomy
    Jeremias Adams-Prassl (Oxford, Law), When Your Boss Comes Home: Three Fault Lines for the Future of Work in the Age of Automation, AI, and COVID-19
    Valerio de Stefano (Leuven, Law), Algorithmic Bosses and How to Tame Them

    2pm [= 11am/7pm/8pm]
    Panel 3: The Value and Valorization of Work
    Cynthia Estlund (NYU, Law), Why Work Is a Social Good and Freedom Is Overrated
    Igor Shoikhedbrod (U of T C4E, Politics), Revaluing and Re-Politicizing the Future of Work in the Age of Automation and AI

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 12pm, Friday, May 15 [= 9am Pacific/5pm UK/6pm Central Europe]. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream.

    12:00 PM - 03:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto

  • Wed, May 13, 2020
    Ethics of COVID
    Trudo Lemmens, Pandemic Clinical Triage Protocols: Adding Insult to Injury for People with Disabilities (The Ethics of COVID)

    Join the Centre for Ethics for The Ethics of COVID, an interdisciplinary series of online events featuring short video takes on the ethical dimensions of the COVID crisis.

    Pandemic Clinical Triage Protocols: Adding Insult to Injury for People with Disabilities

    In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, triage protocols and guidance documents have been drafted to facilitate decisions about access to critical care in situations of acute shortages. Several of these have evoked debate about their compatibility with human rights standards, even when they are presented as based on objective clinical criteria. For many people with disabilities, who feel already disproportionately affected by the pandemic and by measures to control it, some of these protocols add insult to injury. This presentation will explore why some of the Canadian documents are discriminatory and how the concerns they raise can be addressed.

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 3pm, Wednesday, May 13. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream.

    ➨ please register here

    Trudo LemmensTrudo Lemmens
    University of Toronto
    Faculty of Law

     

    03:00 PM - 03:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, May 12, 2020
    Ethics of COVID
    Sophia Moreau & Sabine Tsuruda, The Moral and Legal Risks of Immunity Passports (The Ethics of COVID)

    Join the Centre for Ethics for The Ethics of COVID, an interdisciplinary series of online events featuring short video takes on the ethical dimensions of the COVID crisis.

    The Moral and Legal Risks of Immunity Passports

    A number of policymakers have recently begun to consider whether to require “immunity passports” certifying immunity to COVID-19 before returning to workplaces, and even stores, museums, and other public spaces. While critics question the reliability of available antibody tests, such an exit strategy has yet to be seriously challenged on moral and legal grounds. This talk discusses how immunity passports—whether for natural immunity now, or for vaccines at a later date—would unfairly burden the least privileged members of society in ways that raise major civil rights concerns.

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 3pm, Tuesday, May 12. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream.

    ➨ please register here

    Sophia MoreauSophia Moreau
    University of Toronto
    Faculty of Law
    Department of Philosophy

     

     

    Sabine TsurudaSabine Tsuruda
    Queen’s University
    Faculty of Law

    03:00 PM - 03:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Mon, May 11, 2020
    Ethics of COVID
    Padraic X. Scanlan, Beats Working: Wage-Replacements in Past and the Present (The Ethics of COVID)

    Join the Centre for Ethics for The Ethics of COVID, an interdisciplinary series of online events featuring short video takes on the ethical dimensions of the COVID crisis.

    Beats Working: Wage-Replacements in Past and the Present

    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, governments across the world have experimented with schemes to prevent layoffs and encourage workers to stay home by paying some, or all, of their wages. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the ruptures of industrialisation – automation, downward pressure on wages, rapid urbanisation – provoked some governments to top up labourers’ wages to a minimum. However, by the 1830s, most of these programs had been swept away by the rise of liberalism and laissez-faire capitalism. To some critics, wage subsidies seemed to violate the putatively natural laws of the market. To others, they seemed to present a moral hazard: why would labourers continue to work if they did not need wages to survive? The pandemic, and government responses to it, have reignited these foundational debates about the purpose of wages, the nature of the labour market, and the role of governments in political economy.

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 3pm, Monday, May 11 [video]. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream.

    ➨ please register here

    Padraic X. ScanlanPadraic X. Scanlan
    University of Toronto
    Centre for Industrial Relations & Human Resources
    Centre for Diaspora & Transnational Studies

     

    In conversation with:

    Dionne PohlerDionne Pohler
    Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources
    University of Toronto


    and

     

    Christopher M. Florio Christopher M. Florio
    Department of History
    Hollins University

     

     

    co-sponsored by:

    03:00 PM - 03:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Fri, May 8, 2020
    Ethics of COVID
    Tanya L. Sharpe, Moving from a Moment to a Movement: #30@8:30 (The Ethics of COVID)

    Join the Centre for Ethics for The Ethics of COVID, an interdisciplinary series of online events featuring short video takes on the ethical dimensions of the COVID crisis.

    Moving from a Moment to a Movement: #30@8:30

    How is COVID-19 affecting some of our most vulnerable populations & how can we ensure that we are responding to their needs? Efforts to responds to these questions sparked the evolution of The Centre for Research & Innovation for Black Survivors of Homicide Victims (The CRIB) “30@8:30” — weekly, 7-part series of Instagram Live talks focused on COVID-19’s impact on vulnerable populations throughout our global community.

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 3pm, Friday, May 8. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream.

    ➨ please register here

    Tanya L. SharpeTanya L. Sharpe
    University of Toronto
    Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work

     

    03:00 PM - 03:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, May 6, 2020
    Ethics of COVID
    Teresa Scassa, Pandemic Privacy (The Ethics of COVID)

    Join the Centre for Ethics for The Ethics of COVID, an interdisciplinary series of online events featuring short video takes on the ethical dimensions of the COVID crisis.

    Pandemic Privacy

    The COVID-19 pandemic raises a number of privacy issues ranging from tracking and surveillance to increased pooling and sharing of public and private sector data. These issues tend to pit privacy rights against a public interest sharpened by a health crisis and unprecedented economic disruption. Data-driven technological solutions are being developed and deployed with astonishing speed. Using contact-tracing apps as an illustration, this talk explores the particular features and preoccupations of pandemic privacy.

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 3pm, Wednesday, May 6. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream.

    ➨ please register here

    Teresa ScassaTeresa Scassa
    University of Ottawa
    Faculty of Law

     

    03:00 PM - 03:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Mon, May 4, 2020
    Ethics of COVID
    Catherine Evans, Expertise and Objectivity in Crisis: A Historical Perspective (The Ethics of COVID)
     

    Join the Centre for Ethics for The Ethics of COVID, an interdisciplinary series of online events featuring short video takes on the ethical dimensions of the COVID crisis.

    Expertise and Objectivity in Crisis: A Historical Perspective

    In recent years, scholars and commentators have decried what some have seen as the decline of the expert. Dismissed as stooges of the liberal elite or as peddlers of ‘fake news’, doctors, scientists, epidemiologists, psychologist and others, including historians, have criticized the public and government officials for privileging common sense over deep learning. COVID-19 has thrown these debates over expertise and authority into sharp relief. Politicians in Canada and elsewhere now look to science, and scientists, to guide us. As they do, they often hail science as apolitical, pledging to proceed only as, and when, public health authorities recommend. But is science ever ‘objective’? If it isn’t, should we care? Here, I offer some thoughts on the history of expertise, objectivity, and authority, and how a historical perspective can help us to approach ethical decision-making in turbulent times.

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 3pm, Monday, May 4. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream.

    ➨ please register here

    Catherine EvansCatherine Evans
    University of Toronto
    Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies
    Department of History

     

     

    in conversation with:
    Rebecca WoodsRebecca Woods
    Institute for the History & Philosophy of
    Science & Technology

     

     

    co-sponsored by:
    Centre for Crimonology and Sociolegal Studies University of Toronto

    03:00 PM - 03:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Fri, May 1, 2020
    Ethics of COVID
    Roberta K. Timothy, Race Matters: Ethical Implications of COVID-19 (The Ethics of COVID)

    Join the Centre for Ethics for The Ethics of COVID, an interdisciplinary series of online events featuring short video takes on the ethical dimensions of the COVID crisis.

    Race Matters: Ethical Implications of COVID-19 

    The actions and omissions of world leaders,public health leaders, and policy makers in charge of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic will reveal historical and current impacts of colonial violence and continued health inequities among African, Indigenous, racialized, and marginalized folks. Utilizing a critical intersectional decolonizing framework, this discussion will talk about the ethical dilemmas within the COVID-19 responses.

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 3pm, Friday, May 1. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream.

    ➨ please register here

    Roberta K. TimothyRoberta K. Timothy
    University of Toronto
    Dalla Lana School of Public Health

     

     

    03:00 PM - 03:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Apr 29, 2020
    Ethics of COVID
    Nina Sun & Livio Zilli, Criminalization & COVID-19: Public Health and Human Rights Implications (The Ethics of COVID)

    Join the Centre for Ethics for The Ethics of COVID, an interdisciplinary series of online events featuring short video takes on the ethical dimensions of the COVID crisis.

    Criminalization & COVID-19: Public Health and Human Rights Implications

    As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, countries are increasingly turning to criminal sanctions as a means to enforce social distancing and control the epidemic. Taking an interdisciplinary approach of law, policy-making and public health, our speakers discuss the health and human rights considerations of criminalization of COVID-19.

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 11am, Wednesday, April 29. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream.

    ➡︎ please register here

    Nina SunNina Sun
    Deputy Director – Global Health
    Assistant Clinical Professor – Community Health and Prevention
    Dornsife School of Public Health
    Drexel University, Philadelphia

    Livio Zilli
    Senior Legal Adviser, UN Representative
    International Commission of Jurists, Geneva

    11:00 AM - 11:30 AM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Mon, Apr 27, 2020
    Ethics of COVID
    Elena Comay del Junco & Gal Katz, Philosophers as Pundits (During a Pandemic) (The Ethics of COVID)

    Join the Centre for Ethics for The Ethics of COVID, an interdisciplinary series of online events featuring short video takes on the ethical dimensions of the COVID crisis.

    Philosophers as Pundits (During a Pandemic)

    Any major event generates an avalanche of punditry, and this pandemic is no exception. Inevitably, much of this commentary consists of bad takes. And, philosophers seem particularly prone to embarrassing themselves. We consider a few initial responses to the current crisis from prominent philosophers, and situate these in a longer lineage of philosophers trying to comment on current events. Despite the predominance of bad takes, it’s precisely the naivete of philosophers that makes their interventions of value.

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 3pm, Monday, April 27. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream.

    ➨ please register here

    Elena Comay del Junco
    University of Toronto
    Postdoctoral Fellow, Centre for Ethics

     

     

     

    Gal KatzGal Katz
    Morris & Alma Schapiro Postdoctoral Core Faculty Fellow
    Center for the Core Corriculum &
    Department of Philosophy, Columbia University

    03:00 PM - 03:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Fri, Apr 24, 2020
    Ethics of COVID
    Petra Molnar, Borders and Pandemics: Surveillance Won’t Stop the Coronavirus (The Ethics of COVID)

    Join the Centre for Ethics for The Ethics of COVID, an interdisciplinary series of online events featuring short video takes on the ethical dimensions of the COVID crisis.

    Borders and Pandemics: Surveillance Won’t Stop the Coronavirus

    Pandemic responses are political, just like responses to people crossing borders. As governments increasingly move toward biosurveillance to contain the spread of the pandemic, we are already seeing an increase in trackingautomated drones and other types of technologies presented as viable solutions to manage the outbreak and control migration. However, if previous use of technology is any indication, refugees and people crossing borders will be disproportionately targeted. Virus-killing robotscellphone tracking and artificially intelligent thermal cameras can all be used against refugees and people crossing borders, with far-reaching results and impacts of various human rights.

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 3pm, Friday, April 24. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream.

    ➡︎ please register here

    Petra MolnarPetra Molnar
    International Human Rights Program
    University of Toronto

    03:00 PM - 03:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Apr 22, 2020
    Ethics of COVID
    Nicola Lacetera, The Social and Ethical Support of Markets in a Pandemic (The Ethics of COVID)

    Join the Centre for Ethics for The Ethics of COVID, an interdisciplinary series of online events featuring short video takes on the ethical dimensions of the COVID crisis.

    The Social and Ethical Support of Markets in a Pandemic

    I plan to provide an introduction to the idea of social support of markets and to what a “repugnant transaction” is. I will then discuss some of the ethical issues with the normal functioning of markets during this pandemic. In particular, I will discuss price gouging as well as the production of vaccines and other covid-related products (from hand sanitizers to ventilators and vaccines…).

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 3pm, Wednesday, April 22. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream.

    ➡︎ please register here

    Nicola LaceteraNicola Lacetera
    University of Toronto
    Department of Management UTM &
    Rotman School of Management

    03:00 PM - 03:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Mon, Apr 20, 2020
    Ethics of COVID
    Sunit Das, Terraforming the Ethical Landscape: COVID-19 and the Principle of Justice (The Ethics of COVID)

    Join the Centre for Ethics for The Ethics of COVID, an interdisciplinary series of online events featuring short video takes on the ethical dimensions of the COVID crisis.

    Terraforming the Ethical Landscape: COVID-19 and the Principle of Justice

    The four principle approach to medical ethics, balancing prima facie obligations to beneficence, nonmaleficence, autonomy, and justice, has supplied a common language for the application of ethical analysis to medical practice for the last four decades. The frayed edges of this edifice are made visible, however, by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic (and other historical circumstances of severe resource limitation in the healthcare system). Here, we interrogate ethical considerations involved in the state of medical care during the COVID-19 pandemic, as demonstrated by reconsiderations of cancer care, in which the pillar of justice is exposed as internally divided. Specifically, we identify both patient-oriented and system-oriented principles of justice constituting a broader collective, unique among the classical four principles. This leads us to suggest a formal recognition of justice as a divided category, and a reclassification of the term into two subcategories which serve fundamentally different interests. The result is a more cohesive four principle approach in which all principles favour the deontological relationships fostered between patients and providers, which exists in constant balance with the utilitarian interests of the broader medical system.

    This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 3pm, Monday, April 20. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream.

    ➡︎ please register here

    Sunit DasSunit Das
    University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine, Division of Neurosurgery, St. Michael’s Hospital & Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto

    03:00 PM - 03:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Fri, Apr 3, 2020
    Author Meets Critics
    Brian Cantwell Smith, The Promise of Artificial Intelligence: Reckoning and Judgment (Author Meets Critics)

    Event poster with "cancelled" over the text

    Per University of Toronto COVID-19 instructions, this event is cancelled until further notice.

    The Promise of Artificial Intelligence: Reckoning and Judgment (MIT Press 2019)

    Brian Cantwell Smith
    Faculty of Information
    University of Toronto

    Commentators:
    Parisa Moosavi (York University, Philosophy)

    Regina Rini (York University, Philosophy)
    Avery Slater (University of Toronto, English)
    John Vervaeke (University of Toronto, Cognitive Science)

    please register here

    In this provocative book, Brian Cantwell Smith argues that artificial intelligence is nowhere near developing systems that are genuinely intelligent. Second wave AI, machine learning, even visions of third-wave AI: none will lead to human-level intelligence and judgment, which have been honed over millennia. Recent advances in AI may be of epochal significance, but human intelligence is of a different order than even the most powerful calculative ability enabled by new computational capacities. Smith calls this AI ability “reckoning,” and argues that it does not lead to full human judgment—dispassionate, deliberative thought grounded in ethical commitment and responsible action. Taking judgment as the ultimate goal of intelligence, Smith examines the history of AI from its first-wave origins (“good old-fashioned AI,” or GOFAI) to such celebrated second-wave approaches as machine learning, paying particular attention to recent advances that have led to excitement, anxiety, and debate. He considers each AI technology’s underlying assumptions, the conceptions of intelligence targeted at each stage, and the successes achieved so far. Smith unpacks the notion of intelligence itself—what sort humans have, and what sort AI aims at.

    Smith worries that, impressed by AI’s reckoning prowess, we will shift our expectations of human intelligence. What we should do, he argues, is learn to use AI for the reckoning tasks at which it excels while we strengthen our commitment to judgment, ethics, and the world.

    03:00 PM - 05:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Wed, Apr 1, 2020
    Ethics at Noon
    Lauren Bialystok, Authenticity and Social Justice (Ethics@Noon)

    Event poster with cancelled over the text

    Per University of Toronto COVID-19 instructions, this event is cancelled until further notice.

    Authenticity and Social Justice

    When discussions of social justice hinge on the politics of identity, as they currently seem to, we rely on unreflective assessments of authenticity to verify people’s identities. But these determinations can be arbitrary and yield contradictory intuitions.  I use two case studies to illustrate this problem: Joseph Boyden, whose indigeneity was more or less revoked, and the CAMH Gender Identity Clinic for children that was recently closed down.  In the first case, social justice advocates sided against Boyden, arguing that he was not authentically indigenous and therefore should not have the authority to continue representing indigenous Canadians.  In the second case, the clinic was censured for supposedly failing to recognize the authenticity of transgender children, which social justice advocates are loath to question.  Yet both cases involve an elusive internal identity that resists empirical or political confirmation.  The demands of progressiveness, or allyship to vulnerable communities (such as indigenous peoples and trans people), appear to pull in opposing directions on these hot-button issues, with potentially far-reaching consequences.  I use theories of authenticity to analyze the assumptions that give rise to these political intuitions, and argue for an ethics of difference that is less tethered to judgments of identity.

    ☛ please register here

    Lauren BialystokLauren Bialystok
    University of Toronto
    Social Justice Education

    12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Mar 31, 2020
    Ethics of AI in Context
    Azim Shariff, Moral Machines: The Social Dilemmas of Self-Driving Cars (Ethics of AI in Context)

    Event poster with "cancelled" over the text

    Per University of Toronto COVID-19 instructions, this event is cancelled until further notice.

    Moral Machines: The Social Dilemmas of Self-Driving Cars

    With the rapid approach of self-driving cars, we are poised to yield autonomy to millions of machines that will have the power over life and death. The road to this future has a bright promise, but as we are beginning to see, there are numerous psychological roadblocks. Many of these involve thorny ethical challenges that come when the moral decisions that are today made by individual drivers are turned over to preprogrammed algorithms. How should these cars be programmed to mete out risks to the various people on road? Who determines the ethics of these algorithms? I will discuss the recent work with my collaborators on the social psychological challenges that await us in the age of moral machines.

    ☛ please register here

    Azim ShariffAzim Shariff
    University of British Columbia
    Psychology

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Fri, Mar 27, 2020
    Reading Series, Ethics & the Arts
    Poetics/Ethics: New Work by Queer Poets IV

    event poster with "cancelled" over text

    Per University of Toronto COVID-19 instructions, this event is cancelled until further notice.

    Poetics/Ethics: New Work by Queer Poets IV

    This is the fourth of four readings that will showcase contemporary queer poets, based on the notion that ethics should be conceived as encompassing not just academic research but also literary writing. Each of these poets crafts new languages to describe and confront the interplay of lived experience and political critique. By bringing them together, we hope not only to foster a conversation between the authors of some of the most exciting poetry being written today, but also some of the most complex and subtle thinking about gender and sexuality and their intersections with race, class, migration and other positions.

    ☛ please register here

    Nora Fulton

    Nora Fulton lives in Montreal. Her most recent collection of poems, Presence Detection
    System, was published by Hiding Press in 2019; her next collection, Thee Display, will be jointly published by the Centre for Expanded Poetics/Anteism Press this year. Her poetry and  criticism has appeared in Ossa Magazine, Social Text, the Poetry Project, Homintern, and elsewhere.”


    Rami Karim 
    is a writer living in New York. 

     

     

     

     

    Cason Sharpe

    Cason Sharpe is a writer currently based in Toronto. His fiction, essays, and criticism haveappeared in Canadian Art, C Magazine, Xtra, PRISM International, The Hart House Review, and GUTS Canadian Feminist Magazine, among others. His first collection of short stories, Our Lady of Perpetual Realness, was released by Metatron in 2017.

    07:00 PM - 09:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Thu, Mar 26, 2020
    Ethics of Pedagogy
    Simone Weil Davis & Lorraine Pinnock, Teaching, Learning, and Unlearning Together: Walls to Bridges as a Pedagogical Practice (Ethics of Pedagogy)

    Event poster with "cancelled" over text

    Per University of Toronto COVID-19 instructions, this event is cancelled until further notice.

    Walls to Bridges brings together incarcerated students and university-based students in courses that emphasise dialogue, collaboration, whole-self learning and the building of a classroom community based on mutual respect and honest, shared inquiry.  In this presentation two longstanding members of the Walls to Bridges Collective, Lorraine and Simone Davis, will introduce this innovative educational model. An emphasis on two of its features — dialogue across (multiple) differences and the role of emotions in the classroom — will open up questions about the classroom as ethical terrain.

    Presenters:

    Simone Weil Davis, Associate Director of the Ethics, Society & Law program at Trinity College, is also a proud member of the Walls to Bridges Collective, and co-founded the national Walls to Bridges program in 2011. W2B brings together university-based students and incarcerated students as classmates in courses that emphasize the importance of teaching, learning and unlearning through dialogue and collaboration. Her written work includes the co-edited Turning Teaching Inside Out: A Pedagogy of Transformation for Community-Based Learning (2013), lead volume in Palgrave’s Community Engagement in Higher Education series (Palgrave 2013).

    Lorraine Pinnock is on a mission to help people as they transition from the criminal injustice system to healthy communities. After spending nearly five years under correctional institution supervision, she believes that providing disadvantaged people with some form of higher education and academic development can radically ensure one’s success and break the revolving door trap of admission, discharge, and re-admission to incarceration.

    She is a founding member of the Walls-to-Bridges Collective, based in Kitchener, Ontario. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Women’s Studies from Laurentian University. She counts spending time with her family and dog Wiley, running, traveling and soup-tasting among her myriad interests.

    ☛ please register here

    04:30 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Fri, Mar 20, 2020
    C4E Flash Event
    Corporate Social Responsibility Meets International Human Rights Law: The Nevsun Case (C4E Flash Event)

    Event Poster with "cancelled" over the text

    Per University of Toronto COVID-19 instructions, this event is cancelled until further notice.

    Corporate Social Responsibility Meets International Human Rights Law: The Nevsun Case

    The Supreme Court of Canada recently handed down its judgment in Nevsun Resources v Araya et al., a landmark case at the intersection of corporate social responsibility and international human rights law. The Court decided that a Canadian mining company (Nevsun Resources Ltd.) can be sued in Canada for alleged human-rights abuses abroad (including slavery; forced labour; cruel, unusual, or degrading treatment; and crimes against humanity).

    The University of Toronto Law School’s International Human Rights Program (IHRP) intervened in the case, represented by Cory Wanless (JD 2008), Professor Audrey Macklin (UofT Law), and former IHRP research associate Yolanda Song (JD 2017), to argue–successfully–that corporations cannot rely on the “act of state” doctrine in Canadian courts by arguing that the acts in question were the acts of a foreign government (in this case, Eritrea). The IHRP team also included  Madeline Torrie (2L) and Nicole Thompson (2L).

    ☛ please register here

    Panelists will include:

    Yolanda Song (Stevenson Whelton LLP)
    Cory Wanless (Waddell Phillips PC)
    Jutta Brunée (University of Toronto, Law)
    Roxanna Banu (Queen Mary University, London, Law) [remotely]
    Hasko von Kriegstein (Ryerson University, Ted Rogers School of Management)

    12:00 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Mar 18, 2020
    Ethics at Noon
    Teresa Heffernan, Fiction Writes Back: “Limitless Profit,” Artificial Intelligence, and the Immortality Industry (Ethics@Noon)

    Event poster with "cancelled" over the text

    Per University of Toronto COVID-19 instructions, this event is cancelled until further notice.

    Fiction Writes Back: “Limitless Profit,” Artificial Intelligence, and the Immortality Industry

    This talk begins with an investigation of the far reaches of the multi-billion-dollar immortality/AI industry and the money and power behind the scenes that fuels fantasy science as the planet teeters on the brink of collapse. It considers contemporary fictions that have, in turn, challenged the tech industry and its use of fiction to market this science, exposing its ideological underpinnings and its paradoxical escalation of the end of all life even as it hankers after immortality. While the tech industry is relentlessly focused on a future that is always “future” and never part of a past, I consider its archaeology by unearthing the future’s archaic longings: one of the oldest and longest surviving stories in the world, The Epic of Gilgamesh, is about a tyrannical king who wants immortality. In failing in his quest, however, Gilgamesh learns what it means to live as an ethical human being. Drawing on the lesson in this ancient epic, the talk concludes with a reflection on the connection between mortality, responsibility, and freedom. Exposing the branding of fiction as science by the AI/immortality industry, reclaiming the potential of fiction to cultivate an ethical imagination, and restoring the importance of death to life are important steps, this talk argues, in halting the catastrophic decline of the planet.

    ☛ please register here

    Teresa HeffernanTeresa Heffernan
    St. Mary’s University
    English

    12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Mar 17, 2020
    Ethics of AI in Context
    Igor Shoikhedbrod, Re-Politicizing the Future of Work in the Age of Automation and AI (Ethics of AI in Context)

    Poster with the words "Cancelled"

    Per University of Toronto COVID-19 instructions, this event is cancelled until further notice.

    Re-Politicizing the Future of Work in the Age of Automation and AI

    The spectre of generalized automation and the unprecedented pace of developments in intelligent machine learning have brought into question the future of work and its normative value. The issues raised by ongoing debates about the future of work are undeniably interdisciplinary in scope—ranging from considerations in moral and political philosophy to economics, labour studies, and even futurism. With this interdisciplinary terrain in mind, the talk will take as its point of departure the ethical implications of automation and AI through a critical dialogue between normative political philosophy and political economy. I will begin by outlining the widespread empirical evidence suggesting that automation and AI will radically transform the ways that human beings conceive, perform, and grapple with work. Such empirical considerations, which include prognoses of mass unemployment, under-employment, as well as utopian and dystopian renditions of complete automation, necessitate a prior discussion about the normative value that is assigned to work and working. Indeed, even the most pragmatic policy questions about whether automation should be welcomed or discouraged are predicated upon the value or disvalue that commentators assign to work. I will argue that the meaning of work should be fundamentally rethought and contested in the age of automation and AI. Rather than calling for the abolition of work (i.e. post-work) and resigning to an abstractly-conceived universal basic income, priority should be given to reducing necessary labour-time through regulatory constraints that are wrested politically. Such a reduction in necessary labour-time should coincide with a diversification of the range of skills and activities that are performed by human beings in the age of automation and AI. However, these goals can only be achieved by revaluing and re-politicizing the future of work.

    ➡︎ please register here

    Igor ShoikhedbrodIgor Shoikhedbrod
    University of Toronto
    Centre for Ethics

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Mar 11, 2020
    Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars
    Matthew Mahmoudi, Urban Technologies and Refugee Integration: Reinforcing Marginality? (Ethics of AI Emerging Scholars)

    Urban Technologies and Refugee Integration: Reinforcing Marginality?

    As emergent digital integration strategies are increasingly shaping urban refuge in cities such as Berlin and New York, it is important to interrogate whether they exclude, adversely include, or empower vulnerable migrant populations. The concept of the “smart city” is no longer sufficient to describe the ways these technologies invariably sort and control migrant bodies. Rather, the implications of this transition of technology actors into an emergent mobility-tech industry is better understood through an acknowledgement of a “digital periphery”– a digital enclosure in which the iconography of non-agentic others sustain value extraction from racialised bodies and places.

    ☛ please register here

    Matt MahmoudiMatt Mahmoudi
    Cambridge
    Development Studies

    Matt Mahmoudi is a PhD candidate in Development Studies at the University of Cambridge, where he is also Program Lead at TheWhistle.org, an academic spin-out developing and researching digital human rights reporting suites. As Jo Cox Scholar, his research focuses on technological marginalisation in refugees and asylum seekers and examines the justice implications of new digital boundaries to life in cities in an era of “datafied refuge”. Matt co-coordinates the Cambridge branch of Amnesty International’s Digital Verification Corps, and co-founded and co-produces Declarations: The Human Rights Podcast at Cambridge’s Centre of Governance & Human Rights. Matt is  a coauthor on forthcoming OUP book ‘Digital Witness’.

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Mon, Mar 9, 2020
    Events in the Community
    Hilary Evans Cameron, Better Refugee Status Decisions, One Road Sign at a Time

    The Ethics, Society, and Law Students’ Association invites you to come out on March 9, 2020 to the Centre for Ethics (LA200) seminar room from 12:30pm-2pm, where Dr. Hilary Evans Cameron will discuss decision-making in refugee claims proceedings.

    For more than a decade, Dr. Evans Cameron has studied the legal environment in which adjudicators decide claims to refugee status, with a focus on their fact-finding and credibility judgments. In this talk, she discusses her research, which uses a range of methodologies and looks beyond the law to insights from the social sciences. She argues that crucial changes are needed to improve these high-stakes decisions.

    ☛ please register here

    12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Wed, Mar 4, 2020
    Ethics & the Arts, Ethics & Film: Lights, Camera, Ethics!, Ethics in the City
    My Winnipeg (2007) (Ethics in the City Films)

    Guy Maddin blends fact and fiction, documentary and drama, reality and myth in this dreamy black-and-white tour of Winnipeg. Widely regarded as Maddin’s best film, My Winnipeg won the award for Best Canadian Feature Film when it premiered at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). A 2015 poll conducted by TIFF named it one of the Top 10 Canadian films of all time, while another in 2016 listed it as one of 150 essential works in Canadian cinema history.

    ☛ please register here

    06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Wed, Mar 4, 2020
    Ethics at Noon
    Christina Starmans, How Temptation Makes Us Moral (Ethics@Noon)

    How Temptation Makes Us Moral  

    People often know the right thing to do, but also feel tempted to do the wrong thing: to cheat on our taxes or our spouses, lie to avoid trouble, or to skip out on a promise. How do these struggles with temptation affect our moral judgments?

    Two opposing answers to this question arise from two strands of moral philosophy. One might agree with Aristotle, who argued that an act should only be considered moral if it is easy for the actor to do. Or one might side with Kant, who argued that an action is only truly moral if it is difficult—actions done simply out of desire should not count as particularly moral. Which of these philosophies—if either—captures our everyday moral psychology?

    To explore these questions, I will review a series of studies examining how both adults and young children reason about inner conflict and temptation. The first series of studies reveals that in many cases, adults take a Kantian perspective on temptation, and judge that someone who has acted morally in the face of temptation deserves more moral credit than someone who acted morally and was never tempted to be immoral. Conversely, children (aged 3-8 years) take a more Aristotelian stance, and give more moral credit to the person who was never tempted to act immorally. I will then discuss a series of studies exploring what factors lead to children’s moral judgments developing into an adult framework, and how these factors may also shed light on adults’ moral reasoning.

    A final series of studies explores the circumstances under which adults will give others credit for overcoming temptation. The findings above are puzzling in light of other work on adult moral judgments, which find that when someone makes a good moral choice quickly (which suggests that they are not internally conflicted), they are given more moral praise than someone who makes a good moral choice after long deliberation (which suggests that they are internally conflicted). Investigating these conflicting findings reveals that adults, like Kant, consider the presence of (at least some degree of) temptation to be necessary in order for someone to deserve moral credit.

    ☛ please register here

    Christina StarmansChristina Starmans
    University of Toronto
    Psychology

    12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Mon, Mar 2, 2020
    C4E Flash Event
    Tom Angier, The Ethics of Brexit (C4E Flash Event)

    The Ethics of Brexit

    After the EU referendum of June 2016, the UK experienced three and half years of political and social dissension, of a depth and on a scale unprecedented in the modern period. The strife was particularly marked on social media, focusing passions in an increasingly polarised and irrational fashion. Grown adults often lost all inhibition, generating levels of vituperation that might serve to let off steam, but failed to cast much (if any) light on the issues. Now the atmosphere has cooled, there is more room to put forward arguments in the dispassionate mode to which philosophers are accustomed. I will be putting forward three arguments, under the broad headings of (1) immigration, (2) populism and (3) nostalgia. Overall, my contention will be that the UK’s departure from the EU should be understood as a legitimate exercise in democratic self-governance, and that competing interpretations lack sufficient warrant. Whatever side one is on – including neither – now is the time for careful, patient consideration of the issues. And if we still end up disagreeing, we will do so, at least, on a clear and reasoned basis.

    ☛ please register here

    Tom AngierTom Angier
    University of Cape Town
    Philosophy

    Discussant:
    Willem Maas
    Glendon College, York University
    Political Science

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Thu, Feb 27, 2020
    Ethics of Pedagogy
    C Dalrymple-Fraser, Disability, Evidence, and Policy: Reappraising Research on Restricting Student Laptop Use (Ethics of Pedagogy)

    Disability, Evidence, and Policy: Reappraising Research on Restricting Student Laptop Use

    How should we appraise pedagogical research when designing course policies? This workshop explores course policies that restrict student use of electronics, including so-called “laptop bans”. Many have argued that these policies impede flexibility in learning, and that they discriminate against disabled students and others for whom electronics can be important accessibility tools. In defence of these policies, many gesture to personal experiences and research which suggest that restricted-use policies actually support learning. In this session, we will survey some of this research and its limitations, including how the persistent exclusion of disability from study reports raises challenges to the apparent usefulness and persuasiveness of that research for inclusive policy design. Finally, we’ll turn from these specific policies to discuss general issues in appraising evidence, and the potential of designing Critical Appraisal Tools (CATs) for pedagogical research.

    ☛ please register here

    C Dalrymple-FraserC Dalrymple-Fraser
    University of Toronto
    Department of Philosophy and Joint Centre for Bioethics

    04:30 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Feb 26, 2020
    Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars
    Sabelo Mhlambi, The Moral Limitations of Rationality and Their Implications for the Ethics of AI (Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars)

    The Moral Limitations of Rationality and Their Implications for the Ethics of AI

    The origins of artificial intelligence were founded on the premise that computers could be built to be like humans: rational and autonomous. The desire to create machines that can, through learning, match or surpass human thinking and ability, is firmly based on western philosophy’s traditional view of personhood based on rationality and autonomy. This view of personhood has shaped western economic, political and social structures, which in turn shape the creation and use of artificial intelligence; has provided the foundation for machine learning’s uncritical imitation of social patterns within its input data; and its use presents significant ethical and human rights challenges worsened by the use of artificial intelligence. Rationality without context that comes from knowing the other (relationality) leads to discriminatory effects. This talk will use the relational view of personhood, with examples from Postcolonial African philosophy, to examine the role of rationality in the creation of Lull’s logic machines to Turing’s  “thinking machines” and modern AI, and the limits of rationality now more apparent in automated decision making systems.

    ☛ please register here

    Sabelo MhlambiSabelo Mhlambi
    Harvard
    Berkman Klein Center

    Mr. Sabelo Mhlambi is a researcher at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center and the Carr Center for Human Rights whose work focuses on the intersection of human rights, ethics and technology. In particular, Mr. Mhlambi’s research examines the human rights implications of algorithmic technology and proposes a new ethical framework for governing the creation and use of AI for maximizing the public good. Mr. Mhlambi’s work expands on the conversation on Ethics and AI by introducing non-western frameworks for examining the effects of automated decision making technology. Mr. Mhlambi’s work is also supplemented by more than a decade of building large scale software, open-source software and content recommendation systems.

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Feb 25, 2020
    Ethics of AI in Context
    Ida Koivisto, Thinking Inside the Box: The Promise and Boundaries of Transparency in Automated Decision-Making (Ethics of AI in Context)

    Thinking Inside the Box: The Promise and Boundaries of Transparency in Automated Decision-Making

    At break-neck pace, computers seem to be gaining abilities to do things we never thought to be possible. As humans are known to be biased and unreliable, should we hand decision-making over to computer programs and algorithms? Especially in routine cases, automated decision-making– computer-based decision-making without human influence (‘ADM’) – could help us overcome our deficiencies and lead to increased perception of fairness. So, problem solved?

    This seems not to be the case. There is growing evidence that human bias cannot be totally erased, at least for now. It can linger in ADM in many ways. As a result, it is not clear, who is accountable. Are the codes involved to blame? Or the creators of those codes? What about machine learning and algorithms created by other algorithms? The difficulty to answer these questions is often referred to as ‘the black box problem’. We cannot be sure how the inputs transform into outputs in the ‘black box’ between, and who is to blame if something goes wrong.

    Consequently, transparency is often proposed as a solution. For example, the call for transparency features in a great majority of AI ethics codes as well as in the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. No more black boxes, but transparent ones! The belief in transparency is hardly surprising, as its promise as a governance ideal is overwhelmingly positive. Although transparency can be approached in a plethora of ways, as a normative metaphor, its basic idea is simple. It promises legitimacy by making an object or behavior visible and, as such, controllable.

    In this talk, I will argue that the legitimation narrative of transparency cannot really deliver in its quest for resolving the black box problem in ADM. To that end, I will argue that transparency is a more complex an ideal that is portrayed in mainstream narratives. My main claim is that transparency is inherently performative in nature and cannot but be. This performativity goes counter the promise of unmediated visibility, vested in transparency. Subsequently, in order to ensure the legitimacy of ADM – if we, indeed, are after its legitimacy – we need to be mindful of this hidden functioning logic of the ideal of transparency. As I will show, when transparency is brought to the context of algorithms, its peculiarities will come visible in a new way.

    ☛ please register here

    Ida KoivistoIda Koivisto
    Law

    University of Helsinki

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Mon, Feb 24, 2020
    Perspectives on Ethics
    Ashwini Vasanthakumar Transnational Solidarity: Exiles as Solidary Intermediaries (Perspectives on Ethics)

    Transnational Solidarity: Exiles as Solidary Intermediaries

    In The Ethics of Exile, I examine the normative underpinnings of exile politics. In particular, I explore the rights and duties exiles have in their communities of origin, and the resulting roles they play in these communities and in transnational politics more broadly. Having argued that exiles have samaritan duties and outlined what these duties may entail, I turn to how they may discharge these. In this chapter, I focus on how exiles can enable transnational solidarity. I draw on Avery Kolers’ recent account of solidarity; among other things, it seeks to remedy the asymmetric relationship between those in need of solidarity and those in a position to extend it–an asymmetry that is particularly acute in the context of exile. I identify possible limitations with Kolers’ model and discuss whether and how exiles can act as solidary intermediaries to overcome these limitations.

    ☛ please register here

    Ashwini VasanthakumarAshwini Vasanthakumar
    Queen’s University
    Law

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Fri, Feb 14, 2020
    Reading Series, Ethics & the Arts
    Poetics/Ethics: New Work by Queer Poets III

    Poetics/Ethics: New Work by Queer Poets III

    This is the third of four readings that will showcase contemporary queer poetry by authors working in Canada, based on the notion that ethics should be conceived as encompassing not just academic research but also literary writing. Each of these poets crafts new languages to describe and confront the interplay of lived experience and political critique. By bringing them together, we hope not only to foster a conversation between the authors of some of the most exciting poetry being written today, but also some of the most complex and subtle thinking about gender and sexuality and their intersections with race, indigeneity, migration, and colonialism

    ☛ please register here

    Aisha Sasha John’s medium is energy. She is author of the 2018 Griffin Poetry Prize nominated collection, I have to live. (M&S 2017), as well as THOU (Book*hug 2014), finalist for the Trillium and Relit Poetry Awards. She served as guest faculty for the 2019 Writing Studio residency program at The Banff Centre and was the 2018 Writer-in-Residence at the University of Toronto (Scarborough). Aisha is also a choreographer and the 2019-2022 Dancemakers’ Resident Artist; in March 2020 she will remount her solo show the aisha of is which premiered at the Whitney Museum in 2017.

    Gail Scott

    Gail Scott‘s iconic feminist novel Heroine (Toronto : Coach House, 2019) has been re-issued with an introduction by Eileen Myles. Other novels include The Obituary (New York, Nightboat, 2012; Coach House, 2010), a ghost story set in a Montréal triplex, a 2011 finalist for Le Grand Prix du Livre de la Ville de Montréal. My Paris (Dalkey Archive), about a sad diarist in conversation with Gertrude Stein and Walter Benjamin in late 20th century Paris ; Main Brides ; Heroine (1987 edition), Spare Parts Plus 2 (stories and manifestoes). Essays are collected in Spaces Like Stairs and La Théorie, un dimanche (translated as Theory, A Sunday, New York : Belladonna, 2013). Scott is co-editor of the New Narrative anthology: Biting the Error: Writers Explore Narrative (Coach House, 2004). Her translation of Michael Delisle’s Le désarroi du matelot was shortlisted for the Governor General’s award. A memoir, based in Lower Manhattan during the early Obama years, is forthcoming.

    Fan Wu

    Fan Wu is freshly depleted of desire circa this Year of the Metal Rat. He runs creative writing and critical reading workshops across art galleries in Toronto. A litany of his obsessions: translation, melancholia, meta-relationality, sex as a question. You can read his writing online in baest journal, MICE Magazine, Aisle 4, and Koffler Digital.

    07:00 PM - 09:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Feb 12, 2020
    Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars
    Suzanne van Geuns, Seduction, Scripts, and Self-Improvement: Antifeminist Forums and the Cultural Legacy of AI (Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars)

    Seduction, Scripts, and Self-Improvement: Antifeminist Forums and the Cultural Legacy of AI

    Debates about AI usually revolve around the futures AI applications enable and support, often neglecting how past visions of the AI future continue to shape culture today. Antifeminist ‘seduction’ forums are one example of AI’s cultural legacy. Such forums provide men with detailed procedural instructions: from ‘models’ for making women laugh at jokes, to a predetermined ‘ladder’ along which physical touch is to be ‘escalated’ gradually. Seduction instructions promise that men can conquer feminist indoctrination and become sexually successful alpha males by internalizing the proper scripts. This talk shows how the historical entanglement between cybernetics and cognitive psychology in early AI efforts reverberates in seduction instructions’ rhetorical tendency to imagine men as machines that need to be ‘re-programmed’ in order to improve themselves. Cultural visions of a future governed by ever-improving algorithms persist long after computational applications: seduction forums’ procedural and instructional approach to the ‘problem’ of feminism is inextricable from the imaginary horizon of AI.

    ☛ please register here

    Suzanne van GeunsSuzanne van Geuns
    University of Toronto
    Religion

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Feb 12, 2020
    Ethics at Noon
    Anna Su, The Promise and Perils of International Human Rights Law for AI Governance (Ethics@Noon)

    The Promise and Perils of International Human Rights Law for AI Governance

    The increasing use and deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) poses many challenges for human rights. This paper is largely a mapping exercise and explores the advantages and disadvantages of using international human rights law to regulate AI applications.  Particularly, it examines existing strategies by international bodies, national governments, corporations and non-profit partnerships on how to govern and consequently ensure the development of AI is consistent with the protection of human rights. Not all of these strategies refer to or include references to human rights law or principles. In fact, most of them are self-adopted ethical guidelines or self-regulating norms based on a variety of sources to mitigate the risks and challenges of, as well as identifying the opportunities brought about by AI-powered systems. In recent years, academic and policy literature from a variety of disciplines has emphasized the importance of a human rights-based approach to AI governance. That means identifying risks to recognized human rights, obliging governments to incorporate their human rights obligations in their respective national policies, and even applying international human rights law itself. This was encapsulated in the Toronto Declaration, issued last May 2018 by a group of academics and civil liberties groups, which called on states and companies to meet their existing responsibilities to safeguard human rights. But save for few exceptions, it remains a question what and how that approach concretely looks like, and why it is beneficial to do so in the first place.

    ☛ please register here

    Anna SuAnna Su
    University of Toronto
    Law

    12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Thu, Feb 6, 2020
    Ethics of Pedagogy
    Ameera Ali, Transcending Equality: Increasing Equity and Accessibility in University Classrooms

    Transcending Equality: Increasing Equity and Accessibility in University Classrooms

    This interactive talk will discuss how to make university classrooms more equitable and accessible through the implementation of Universal Design for Learning (UDL)—a framework for accessible teaching and learning. The talk will introduce participants to the tenets of UDL and we will discuss how to implement these principles in university classrooms through our pedagogy and praxis, to create accessible educational spaces and opportunities for students. As maintained by UDL, the classroom environment is to be a space where all students can thrive; as such, this talk will also evoke how UDL works to make classrooms more accessible for many equity seeking groups. Lastly, although the term ‘universal’ remains directly embedded within its name, this talk will also touch on the ways in which UDL may not be entirely universal as we consider how particular strategies may be effective for some students, yet inadvertently disadvantage others. We will discuss these implications while being mindful of the ethical considerations of teaching and learning.

    ☛ please register here

    Ameera Ali
    Ameera Ali
    York University
    Gender, Feminist, and Women’s Studies

    04:30 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Feb 5, 2020
    Ethics & the Arts, Ethics & Film: Lights, Camera, Ethics!, Ethics in the City
    The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019) (Ethics in the City Films)

    The Last Black Man in San Francisco Film Poster

    The Last Black Man in San Francisco 

    Jimmie Fails is in love with a Victorian house built by his grandfather in San Francisco’s Fillmore District. When the house’s current occupants leave for good, Jimmie and his friend Mont attempt to repair and reclaim the place that Jimmie most considers home, despite its prohibitive price tag and place in a gentrified, rapidly changing neighbourhood. Based on a true story, Joe Talbot’s directorial debut is a love letter to a disappearing side of San Francisco and a touching look at how communities are made — and kept alive — by the people who care for them.

    ➨ please register here

    06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Fri, Jan 31, 2020
    Reading Series, Ethics & the Arts
    Poetics/Ethics: New Work by Queer Poets II

    Poetics/Ethics: New Work by Queer Poets II

    This is the second of four readings that will showcase contemporary queer poets working in Canada, based on the notion that ethics should be conceived as encompassing not just academic research but also literary writing. Each of these poets crafts new languages to describe and confront the interplay of lived experience and political critique. By bringing them together, we hope not only to foster a conversation between the authors of some of the most exciting poetry being written today, but also some of the most complex and subtle thinking about gender and sexuality and their intersections with race, indigeneity, migration, and colonialism. (Further editions will take place in February and March, and will feature writers including Gail Scott, Nora Fulton, and others.)

    ☛ please register here

    Sina Queyras 

     

    Sina Queyras is the author most recently of My Ariel. They live in Montreal.

     

     

    Lena Suksi

     

    Lena Suksi is a Toronto based writer whose first book, The Nerves, will be out with Metatron this spring.

     

     

    Gwen Benaway is a trans girl of Anishinaabe and Métis descent. She is the author of three previous collections of poetry—Ceremonies for the Dead, Passage, and Holy Wild, winner of the 2019 Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry. It was also a finalist for the Trillium Book Award for Poetry, the Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Poetry, and the Publishing Triangle Award for Trans and Gender-Variant Literature, and was longlisted for the Pat Lowther Memorial Award. She is the editor of an anthology of fantasy short stories titled Maiden Mother and Crone: Fantastical Trans Femmes. She has been a finalist for the Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Writers from the Writers’ Trust of Canada, and her personal essay, “A Body Like A Home,” was the Gold Prize Winner for the National Magazine Awards in Personal Journalism. She is also currently editing a book of creative nonfiction, trans girl in love. day/break is her fourth book of poetry. She lives in Toronto, Ontario, and is a Ph.D. student at the University of Toronto in the Women and Gender Studies Institute.

    07:00 PM - 09:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Thu, Jan 30, 2020
    Ethics of Pedagogy
    Michael Barnes, The Diversity of Strategies for Diversifying Syllabi (Ethics of Pedagogy)

    The Diversity of Strategies for Diversifying Syllabi

    This workshop will explore the aims, strategies, and challenges of inclusive syllabus-design—especially (though not solely) from my situation as a white professor teaching topics outside of my lived experience. The main goal is to clarify ideas about what inclusive pedagogy is for, and broaden our ideas about what it looks like. To do so, we’ll consider a variety of models of inclusive syllabus-design, along with corresponding accounts of the problem(s) each is meant to address. Through a discussion of the challenges, limits, and the necessity of anti-oppressive education, participants can expect to leave this session with a more expansive conception of inclusive pedagogy they can put into action.

    ☛ please register here

    Michael BarnesMichael Barnes
    University of Toronto and Ryerson University
    Philosophy

    04:30 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Jan 29, 2020
    Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars
    Vinyas Harish & Nuwan Perera, Machine Learning for Health at the Public-Private Boundary: Questions to Consider (Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars)

    Machine Learning for Health at the Public-Private Boundary: Questions to Consider

    Recent advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have spurred much interest and investment in the ‘disruption’ of healthcare.  Major breakthroughs in numerous areas of machine learning (ML) are leading to the creation of ‘decision support systems’ which promise to aid physicians throughout the trajectory of a patient’s care. Numerous major technology companies (e.g. Microsoft, Apple, Google) have identified healthcare as an untapped opportunity and key vertical for their business. As seen with recent headlines in the media (e.g. Google’s Project Nightingale), we propose that ML for health at the public-private boundary brings forward unique ethical considerations not seen with other technologies.  There is limited academic literature to inform decision-making by non-technical stakeholders and a lack of clarity around the practical discussion around what should be done when considering a [public-private?] partnership in this space. We provide a series of questions to guide the framework around making responsible decisions when partnering with private sector to design and deploy AI/ML solutions for health.

    ☛ please register here

    Vinyas HarishVinyas Harish
    University of Toronto
    Medicine and Public Health

     

     

    Nuwan PereraNuwan Perera
    Software Engineer
    integrate.ai

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Jan 29, 2020
    Ethics at Noon
    Josée Johnston & Shyon Baumann, What is “Good” Food? How Foodies Negotiate Status and Ethics in Food Choices (Ethics@Noon)

    What Is “Good” Food? How Foodies Negotiate Status and Ethics in Food Choices

    How do foodies decide what is “good” food — food worthy of eating, discussing, researching and photographing? This talk will draw from research on foodies to discuss the ways that foods become venerated as high status choices. Our research charts the rise of an omnivorous food culture that values high-class cuisine alongside street-stand tacos and diner meals. Besides identifying key markers of foodie status, we will discuss how food choices relate to ethical consumption deals like democratic openness, multiculturalism, and sustainability. Drawing from a survey with Toronto-based food shoppers, we explore the intersection of foodie culture and ethical consumption. This data suggests the emergence of a high-status foodie who appreciates the finest, most delicious foods, while also seeking to feel ethically virtuous at the dining table.

    ☛ please register here

    Shyon BaumannShyon Baumann
    University of Toronto
    Sociology 

     

     

    Josée JohnstonJosée Johnston
    University of Toronto
    Sociology

    12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Jan 28, 2020
    Ethics of AI in Context
    Parisa Moosavi, If Non-Sentient Organisms Can Have Rights, Why Can’t Robots? (Ethics of AI in Context)

    If Non-Sentient Organisms Can Have Rights, Why Can’t Robots?

    The fact that artificially intelligent machines are becoming increasingly capable of emulating human intelligent behavior has led some authors to speculate that at some point we would have to grant moral rights to these machines. Some such arguments are indirect and appeal to claims about how our treatment of robots affects us. But when it comes to direct argument about the moral status of machines, the discussion has mostly focused on the possibility that robots would one day develop sentience or mental capabilities like consciousness and self-awareness.

    However, the idea that the capacity for sentience is a necessary condition for moral considerability has been contested. Some environmental ethicists argue that non-sentient biological organisms, species, and ecosystems can potentially have a moral status, because they have a good of their own. This raises the question whether non-sentient robots can similarly enjoy a moral status.

    In this paper, I first give an account of what makes non-sentient organisms potentially morally considerable, and then explain why this moral considerability does not extend to non-sentient robots. I argue that the same considerations that keep us from thinking that the simplest artifacts like a toaster or a bicycle fall short of having a good of their own also apply in the case of more complex, artificially intelligent machines. Thus, I argue that unlike biological entities, non-sentient intelligent machines have no greater claim to moral rights than the simplest artifacts.

    ☛ please register here

    Parisa MoosaviParisa Moosavi
    York University
    Philosophy

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Jan 22, 2020
    Ethics & the Arts, Ethics & Film: Lights, Camera, Ethics!, Ethics in the City
    Ethics & Film: Michael Haneke's Caché (2005) (feat. Daniel Adleman)

    Film Poster

    Michael Haneke’s Caché (or Hidden) is the story of Georges, a French public intellectual who lives with his wife and child in Paris. One day, the family begins to receive anonymous deliveries of video tape surveillance of their home and frightening child-like drawings. As the images become more personal, Georges undertakes a journey to find their harasser.

    Haneke’s film brilliantly stages a collision-course between the personal and the political-historical in contemporary postcolonial France. After watching the movie, we’ll discuss its representations of violence, its allegorical dimensions, and its notoriously ambiguous ending.

    ☛ please register here

    Daniel Adleman is Assistant Professor of Writing and Rhetoric at the University of Toronto’s Innis College, where he teaches Writing for Social Change, Digital Rhetoric, and Rhetoric of Health and Medicine.

    06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Wed, Jan 15, 2020
    Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars
    Mohamed Abdalla, Quantifying (Un)Fairness (Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars)

    Quantifying (Un)Fairness

    In the machine learning fairness literature, the majority of fairness definitions are formalized for the binary case. This binary formalization allows for simple hypothetical demonstrations of the fairness definitions and provides researchers the ability to prove theorems. However, in clinical settings, the binary case is often too simple. As a consequence, we must expand machine learning definitions of fairness beyond these binary formulations. In this work, we analyze different ways of expanding fairness definitions beyond the binary case, highlighting edge cases where such expansions do not work as expected. We perform empirical analysis on a clinical task to assess how likely each edge case is for non-binary expansion, and consider the clinical feasibility and ramifications of such decisions.

    ☛ please register here

    Mohamed AbdallaMohamed Abdalla
    University of Toronto
    Computer Science

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Jan 15, 2020
    Ethics at Noon
    Nikolas Kompridis, Agency: Human and Non-Human (Ethics@Noon)

    Agency: Human and Non-Human

    Recent discussions of non-human agency—the agency of “things” or of “actants”—have challenged the putative differences between human and non-human agency, particularly in the work of Jane Bennett and Bruno Latour. But their reliance on an insufficiently questioned picture of human agency continues to undermine their attempts to make sense of non-human agency, and to think anew the relation between human and non-human agency, a task which has become all the more urgent as we come to grips with the implications of the Anthropocene. In this paper, I propose an alternative conception of agency that better captures what is distinctive to both human and non-human agency.

    ☛ please register here

    Nikolas Kompridis

    Nikolas Kompridis
    Visting Scholar 

    Centre for Ethics

    12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Jan 14, 2020
    Ethics of AI in Context
    Zack Lipton, Fairness, Interpretability and the Dangers of Solutionism (Ethics of AI in Context)

    Fairness, Interpretability and the Dangers of Solutionism

    Supervised learning algorithms are increasingly operationalized in real-world decision-making systems. Unfortunately, the nature and desiderata of real-world tasks rarely fit neatly into the supervised learning contract. Real data deviates from the training distribution, training targets are often weak surrogates for real-world desiderata, error is seldom the right utility function, and while the framework ignores interventions, predictions typically drive decisions. While the deep questions concerning the ethics of AI necessarily address the processes that generate our data and the impacts that automated decisions will have, neither ML tools nor proposed ML-based mitigation strategies tackle these problems head on. This talk explores the consequences and limitations of employing ML-based technology in the real world, the limitations of recent solutions (so-called fair and interpretable algorithms) for mitigating societal harms, and contemplates the meta-question: when should (today’s) ML systems be off the table altogether?

    ☛ please register here

    Zack LiptonZack Lipton
    Carnegie Mellon University
    Business
    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Mon, Jan 13, 2020
    Perspectives on Ethics
    Yannik Thiem, Trans*Formative Philosophy: Queer, Ordinary, Intimate (Perspectives on Ethics)

    Trans*Formative Philosophy: Queer, Ordinary, Intimate

    The “new normal” is a moving target these days. Visible representations of queer people and people of color are becoming more ordinary, but racism, sexism, and all kinds of phobic resentments and violence seem only to crop up in new and different shapes. In this presentation, I will explore how aesthetic practices generally inscribe norms, especially through advertising and the visual discourse that surrounds us and with which we interact in semi-conscious ways. Specifically, I am interested in how as queer bodies of color are given greater force and presence, it becomes often harder to grasp the structural persistence of whiteness as norm and goal.

    Examining two commercials that develop “queer aesthetics” around gender, sex, race, and class, I will show that, perhaps counter-intuitively, the centering and privileging of whiteness is often also enshrined in our cultural and political imaginary exactly through the expansion of genderqueer gains and often particularly insidiously when the queer bodies made visible and celebrated as exceptional are queer bodies of color. As a counterpoint I will suggest that visceral expansions of ordinariness, which comprise intimacy and anonymity at the same time, may aid us in fashioning anti-racist queer and trans methods of exploring, learning, and collective world-making.

    ☛ please register here

    Yannik ThiemYannik Thiem
    Columbia University
    Religion

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Thu, Dec 5, 2019
    Events on Campus, Ethics of AI in Context
    Barbara J. Grosz, From Ethical Challenges of Intelligent Systems to Embedding Ethics in Computer Science Education

    From Ethical Challenges of Intelligent Systems to Embedding Ethics in Computer Science Education

    Computing technologies have become pervasive in daily life, sometimes bringing unintended but harmful consequences.  For students to learn to think not only about what technology they could create, but also whether they should create that technology and to recognize the ethical considerations that should constrain their design, computer science curricula must expand to include ethical reasoning about the societal value and impact of these technologies. This talk will describe Harvard’s Embedded EthiCS initiative, a novel approach to integrating ethics into computer science education that incorporates ethical reasoning throughout courses in the standard computer science curriculum. It changes existing courses rather than requiring wholly new courses. The talk will begin with a short description of my experiences teaching the course “Intelligent Systems: Design and Ethical Challenges” that inspired the design of Embedded EthiCS. It will then describe the goals behind the design, the way the program works, lessons learned and challenges to sustainable implementations of such a program across different types of academic institutions.

    Barbara J. GroszBarbara J. Grosz
    Higgins Research Professor of Natural Sciences
    Harvard University
    presented by:
    Computer Science, University of Toronto
    11:10 AM - 01:00 PM
    Department of Computer Science, University of Toronto
    St. George Street

  • Wed, Nov 27, 2019
    Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars
    Petra Molnar, Immigration, Iris-Scanning, and iBorderCtrl: The Human Rights Impacts of Technological Experiments in Migration

    Immigration, Iris-Scanning, and iBorderCtrl: The Human Rights Impacts of Technological Experiments in Migration

    Mandatory detention of migrants at the US-Mexico border. The wrongful deportation of 7,000 foreign students accused of cheating on a language test. Racist or sexist discrimination based on social media profiles. What do these examples have in common? In every case, an algorithm made a decision with serious consequences for people’s lives.

    This presentation explores the human rights impacts of experimental and unregulated technologies that are used to manage migration. Nearly 70 million people are currently on the move due to conflict, instability, environmental factors, and economic reasons. As a result, states and international organizations involved in migration management are exploring various automated decision-making experiments to increase efficiency and support border security. These experiments range from big data predictions about population movements in the Mediterranean, to Canada’s use of automated decision-making in immigration and refugee applications, to AI lie detectors deployed at European borders. However, these technologies are developed with little oversight, transparency, and accountability and often fail to account for the far-reaching impacts on human lives and human rights, resulting in potentially serious breaches of human rights and civil liberties.

    ☛ please register here

    Petra Molnar
    International Human Rights Program
    Faculty of Law
    University of Toronto

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Nov 26, 2019
    Ethics of AI in Context
    Daniel Greene, Making Ethics in Machine Learning (Ethics of AI in Context)

    Making Ethics in Machine Learning

    Machine learning systems are implemented by all the big tech companies in everything from ad auctions to photo-tagging, and are supplementing or replacing human decision making in a host of more mundane, but possibly more consequential, areas like loans, bail, policing, and hiring. And we’ve already seen plenty of dangerous failures; from risk assessment tools systematically rating black arrestees as riskier than white ones, to hiring algorithms that learned to reject women. There’s a broad consensus across industry, academe, government, and civil society that there is a problem here, one that presents a deep challenge to core democratic values, but there is much debate over what kind of problem it is and how it might be solved. Taking a sociological approach to the current boom in ethical AI and machine learning initiatives that promise to save us from the machines, this talk explores how this problem becomes a problem, for whom, and with what solutions. Comparing today’s high-profile ethics manifestos with earlier moments in the history of technology allows us to see a nascent consensus around an approach we term ‘ethical design.’ At the same time, the recent surge in labor activism inside tech companies and anti-racist organizing outside them suggests how this expert-driven vision for more humane systems might be replaced or augmented with something more revolutionary. This talk draws on research conducted with Anna Lauren Hoffmann (UW), Luke Stark (MSR Montreal), and designer Geneviève Patterson.

    ☛ please register here

    Daniel GreeneDaniel Greene
    University of Maryland
    iSchool

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Thu, Nov 21, 2019
    Ethics of Pedagogy
    Vicki Zhang, The "Invisible Majority"?: Sampling the Chinese International Students' Experiences

    The “Invisible Majority”?: Sampling the Chinese International Students’ Experiences

    With the internationalization of Higher Education in Canada, universities have been striving to provide a welcoming and inclusive environment for international students. However, sometimes their efforts fall short due to a lack of deep understanding of the international student body. This talk focuses on one particular international student group – students from mainland China – and aims to uncover some of the crucial reasons behind the widely reported self-segregation of Chinese students (Cheng & Erben, 2011). It sets to understand why many students from mainland China feel turned off by cross-national communications with students from the host nation (Dewan, 2008). Various frameworks will be used to understand the phenomenon, including host nation hospitality, social identity theory, and the impact of colonial mentality and Chinese nationalism. The goal of the talk is to shed light on strategies educators may employ to help mitigate the self-segregation pattern among Chinese international students and encourage more inclusive learning environments and communities.

    ☛ please register here

    Vicki ZhangVicki Zhang
    University of Toronto
    Statistical Sciences

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Nov 20, 2019
    Ethics at Noon
    Natasha Hay, The Ethics of Study: Walter Benjamin’s Counter-Pedagogy and the Communicability of Historical Violence (Ethics@Noon)

    The Ethics of Study: Walter Benjamin’s Counter-Pedagogy and the Communicability of Historical Violence

    I will investigate some ways in which the ethical practice of study, the use of language, and the critique of force, authority, or violence (Gewalt) come together in Walter Benjamin’s reflections on pedagogical strategies in the research seminar. Deeply concerned with the histories of violence that state power perpetuates and occludes in the civic institutions that structure social life, Benjamin was even more attuned to the modalities of this historical violence inscribed in the languages of cultural texts. His concept of history will bring out both the emancipatory and the counter-revolutionary power of certain practices of study that enter into relation with the irreconcilable ambiguity of these archives in which “there is no document of culture that is not at the same time a document of barbarism.” Reading some key publications from Benjamin’s participation in the student movement in conjunction with his early writings on language and translation, I will focus particularly on the ethical significance of silence and listening for the construction of a linguistic medium of study that is capable of letting itself be addressed by and perhaps in turn redressing the semiotic effects of structural violence. The guiding purpose of this talk will be to elucidate the ethical stakes of the communicability of histories of violence that is resistant to and can radically alter the paradigms in which the research seminar functions as a privileged site for knowing mastery over objects of reference and as an ‘ideal speech situation’ for intersubjective discourse.

    ➨ please register here

    Natasha HayNatasha Hay
    University of Toronto
    Comparative Literature

    12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Nov 19, 2019
    Ethics of AI in Context
    Anna Goldenberg, Advances and Challenges of AI in Healthcare (Ethics of AI in Context)

    Advances and Challenges of AI in Healthcare

    The great promise of AI in healthcare is taking time to materialize. Besides difficulties with access to the data and unrealistic expectations of the AI due to the hype fueled by the media, there are many fundamental machine learning advances that need to be made to achieve the widespread use of AI in healthcare. I will start my talk by discussing what AI can and cannot do at present by illuminating not only definitions but also the common misconceptions. I will then provide several examples of successes of AI in healthcare followed by a set of challenges that still exist both from the technical and cultural perspective.

    ➨ please register here

    Anna GoldenbergAnna Goldenberg
    University of Toronto
    Computer Science

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Mon, Nov 18, 2019
    Perspectives on Ethics
    Sunit Das, Encountering Moral Distress in Neurosurgery (Perspectives on Ethics)

    Encountering Moral Distress in Neurosurgery

    In a recent survey of neurosurgery residents in the US, a large majority of trainees stated that they felt inadequately trained to discuss issues of end-of-life care and palliation with patients. Further, 87% of respondents said they had participated in surgeries with which they disagreed. My own experience as a staff physician has suggested that the lack of clarity regarding end-of-life decisions in the care of neurosurgical patients is as present an issue following the completion of training and the primary assumption of these responsibilities. I will attempt to contextualize these issues with the following framework questions:

    1. The burden of uncertainty–how do we proceed when we don’t know what is “right”? How do we cope when it doesn’t turn out as we had hoped?

    2. The burden of hope–how do we proceed when we are asked to pursue the nominal? Our hope, our patients’s hope, our patients’s family’s hope.

    3. The burden of duty–what is the cost of action that we do not believe in or feel is a wrong choice?

    ➡︎ please register here

    Sunit DasSunit Das
    University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine, Division of Neurosurgery, St. Michael’s Hospital & Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Fri, Nov 15, 2019
    Author Meets Critics
    Sophia Moreau, Faces of Inequality: A Theory of Wrongful Discrimination (Author Meets Critics)

    Faces of Inequality: A Theory of Wrongful Discrimination (OUP 2020)

    Sophia Moreau
    Faculty of Law
    University of Toronto

    Commentators:
    Rebecca Cook (University of Toronto, Law)

    Deborah Hellman (University of Virginia, Law)
    Niko Kolodny (UC Berkeley, Philosophy)
    Seana Shiffrin (UCLA, Philosophy)
    Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen (Aarhus University, Political Science)

    please register here

    This book defends an original and pluralist theory of when and why discrimination wrongs people. Starting from actual legal cases in which claimants have alleged wrongful discrimination by other people or by the state, Sophia Moreau argues that we can best understand these people’s complaints by thinking of them as complaints about different ways in which they have not been treated as equals in their societies–in particular, through unfair subordination, through the violation of their right to a particular deliberative freedom, or through the denial to them of access to a basic good, that is, a good that this person must have access to if they are to be, and to be seen as, an equal in their society. The book devotes a chapter to each of these wrongs, exploring in detail what unfair subordination consists of; what deliberative freedoms are, and when each of us has a right to them; and what it means to deny someone access to a basic good. The author explains why these wrongs are each distinctive, but are each a different way of failing to treat some people as the equals of others. Finally the author argues that both the state and we as individuals have a duty to treat others as equals, in these three specific senses.

    01:30 PM - 03:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Thu, Nov 14, 2019
    Ethics of Pedagogy
    Marie A. Green, Length, Breadth, Height: Dimensions of Culturally Responsive and Relevant Pedagogy (Ethics of Pedagogy)

    Length, Breadth, Height: Dimensions of Culturally Responsive and Relevant Pedagogy

    Research conducted in recent years (James 2019; Segeren and Kutsyurub 2012) reveals the failure of Ontario’s Equity and Inclusive Policy to effectively trickle down to the classroom. The findings of a 2019 study that examines the experiences of racialized students in Southern Ontario Catholic schools will be shared. A Kingian framework is applied to the theory of Culturally Responsive and Relevant Pedagogy (Ladson-Billings 1995; Gay 2000) and tangible techniques are proposed for achieving more engaging, interactive, and digitally relevant classrooms where all students feel included. This session will feature a multi-modal presentation and participant engagement.

    ☛ please register here

    Marie A. GreenMarie A. Green
    University of St. Michael’s College
    Philosophy & Theological Studies

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Nov 13, 2019
    Ethics & the Arts, Ethics & Film: Lights, Camera, Ethics!, Ethics in the City
    The Land of Many Palaces (2015) (Ethics in the City Films)

    In Ordos, China, thousands of farmers are being relocated into a new city under a government plan to modernize the region. “The Land of Many Palaces” follows a government official whose job is to convince these farmers that their lives will be better off in the city, and a farmer in one of the last remaining villages in the region who is pressured to move. The film explores a process that will take shape on an enormous scale across China, since the central government announced plans to relocate 250,000,000 farmers to cities across the nation, over the next 20 years.

    ➨ please register here

    06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Wed, Nov 13, 2019
    Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars
    Jaspreet Sahota, The Problem of Historical Bias in Supervised Machine Learning

    The Problem of Historical Bias in Supervised Machine Learning

    Machine learning algorithms are becoming ubiquitous in business and government. Algorithms are routinely deployed that make decisions about  wehow live: e.g. credit adjudication, parole approval, resume screening, insurance costs, etc. Training supervised algorithms on the basis of historical data has the risk of perpetuating historical biases in contemporary society. This can lead to a pernicious feedback cycle that should be avoided by eliminating bias from training data and furthering research into deep learning models.

    ☛ please register here

    Jaspreet SahotaJaspreet Sahota
    Independent Researcher
    Ph.D. Physics, University of Toronto

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Nov 12, 2019
    Ethics of AI in Context
    Kristen Thomasen, Out of Their Cages and Into the City: Robots, Regulation, and the Changing Nature of Public Spaces (Ethics of AI in Context)

    Out of Their Cages and Into the City: Robots, Regulation, and the Changing Nature of Public Spaces

    Robots are an increasingly common feature in North American public spaces. From regulations permitting broader drone use in public airspace and autonomous vehicle testing on public roads, to delivery robots roaming sidewalks in some major U.S. cities, to the announcement of Sidewalk Toronto – a plan to convert waterfront space in one of North America’s largest cities into a robotics-filled smart community – the laws regulating North American public spaces are opening up to robots.
    In many of these examples, the growing presence of robots in public space is associated with opportunities to improve human lives through intelligent urban design, environmental efficiency, and greater transportation accessibility. However, the introduction of robots into public space has also raised concerns about, for example, the commercialization of these spaces by the companies that deploy robots; increasing surveillance that will negatively impact physical and data privacy; or the potential marginalization or exclusion of some members of society in favour of those who can pay to access, use, or support the new technologies available in these spaces.
    The laws that permit, regulate, or prohibit robotic systems in public spaces will in many ways determine how this new technology impacts the space and the people who inhabit that space. This begs the questions: how should regulators approach the task of regulating robots in public spaces? And should any special considerations apply to the regulation of robots because of the public nature of the spaces they occupy? This presentation will argue that the laws that regulate robots deployed in public space will affect the public nature of that space, potentially to the benefit of some human inhabitants of the space over others. For these reasons, this presentation will argue that special considerations should apply to the regulation of robots that will operate in public space, and will highlight some of these considerations.

    ☛ please register here

    Kristen ThomasenKristen Thomasen
    University of Windsor
    Law

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Nov 6, 2019
    Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars
    Selena Lucien, Embedded Intelligence: What Technology Driven Innovation Means for Access to Justice and Legal Regulation (Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars)

    Embedded Intelligence: What Technology Driven Innovation Means
    for Access to Justice and Legal Regulation

    The legal world is changing. In recent years, Canada has witnessed the
    proliferation of private innovative technologies that are transforming
    the relationship between law and society. Technology is reconfiguring
    the methods of traditional practice by giving rise to new forms of
    legal service delivery. Access to justice is a growing collective
    focus for the public, government, regulators, bar associations,
    researchers and educators. It is also within this context that it has
    been suggested that certain problems plaguing the legal system could
    be addressed if it were to embrace and harness the power of
    technology.
    The interesting upshot of this techno-legal collision is
    that the meaning of access to justice is being co-transformed through
    the computational perspective of law. Access to justice problems have
    influenced the design and purpose of various technologies, and the
    technologies have transformed society’s perception and expectation of
    justice through streamlining and simplifying the legal system. As
    such, the criteria for improving access to justice are shaped by the
    technological concerns, and the criteria for effective technology are
    being shaped by access to justice problems, in a process of mutual
    construction. Although much research has focused on how technological
    innovation in the delivery of legal services can improve access to
    justice, there is paucity of discussion around the ethical
    implications of using technical tools to address social and political
    problems. The presentation aims to explore how technology is
    transforming the relationship between people, the legal system, and
    the access to justice problem.

    ☛ please register here

    Selena LucienSelena Lucien
    University of Ottawa
    Law

    Selena Lucien was a Studio [Y] Innovation Fellow at MaRS Discovery District, where she founded the Small Claims Wizard to facilitate and simplify access to the Ontario Small Claims Court. Her venture was presented at Stanford Law School’s CodeX and incubated at the Legal Innovation Zone. During law school, Selena wrote a memorandum to the Minister of Foreign Affairs that outlines guiding principles to help construct policies to govern the ethical design and regulation of autonomous vehicles. She presented her findings at the Global Affairs Canada’s A.I and Human Rights Symposium. As a Technoship Fellow at University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, she worked on a project funded by the PPOCIR to explore how artificial intelligence can facilitate access to legal information and empower consumers to be educated about their rights. She has co-authored a published encyclopedia series on innovative business and has written for the Canadian Bar Association’s The National. Selena received her graduate degree from the London School of Economics and was a recipient of the Alex Trebek Innovation Award. Selena is currently completing her articles at a leading Canadian law firm.

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Fri, Nov 1, 2019
    Reading Series, Ethics & the Arts
    Poetics/Ethics: New Work by Queer Poets

    Poetics/Ethics: New Work by Queer Poets I

    This is the first of three readings that will showcase contemporary queer poets working in Canada, based on the notion that ethics should be conceived as encompassing not just academic research but also literary writing. Each of these poets crafts new languages to describe and confront the interplay of lived experience and political critique. By bringing them together, we hope not only to foster a conversation between the authors of some of the most exciting poetry being written today, but also some of the most complex and subtle thinking about gender and sexuality and their intersections with race, indigeneity, migration, and colonialism. (Further editions will take place during the winter and spring, and will feature poets including Gwen Benaway, Sina Queyras, and others.)

    ☛ please register here

    Prathna LorPrathna Lor is a living poet.

     

     

     

     

    Trish SalahTrish Salah lives and writes in Toronto and is associate professor of Gender Studies at Queen’s University, Kingston. Her books are Wanting in Arabic and Lyric Sexology, Vol. 1 and she co-edited TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly 1.4 on Trans Cultural Production. Her writing appears in recent issues of AngelakiAnomalyThe Medium, Prism International and in the collections Women of Resistance and Meanwhile Elsewhere: Science Fiction and Fantasy from Transgender Writers.

    A. Light ZacharyA. Light Zachary is a trans/bigender writer who lives between Toronto and Cap-de-Cocagne, New Brunswick. Their novella The End, by Anna was published by Metatron Press in 2016. Also an editor of The Puritan, Zachary is currently at work on their first collection of poems: I’m scared, too.

    07:00 PM - 09:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Thu, Oct 31, 2019
    Ethics of Pedagogy
    Jessica Wright, Building Trauma-Informed Pedagogy for Consent Education to Help End Gender-Based Violence (Ethics of Pedagogy)

    Building Trauma-Informed Pedagogy for Consent Education to Help End Gender-Based Violence

    In recent years, there has been a proliferation of educational programming that centers the topic of sexual consent in order to address the epidemic of gender-based violence. However, these initiatives rely on a reductive, binary model of consent (“Yes!”/”No!”) that lacks an understanding of the psychosocial impacts of trauma and the particular struggles and access needs of some of the students most vulnerable to sexual re-victimization—trauma survivors. Drawing from research with diverse youth who self-identify as survivors of trauma, this talk will offer theoretical discussion and practical tools for shifting contemporary consent education to incorporate much-needed trauma-informed pedagogical approaches.

    ☛ please register here

    Jessica Wright

    Jessica Wright
    Social Justice Education
    University of Toronto, OISE

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Oct 30, 2019
    Ethics at Noon
    Michael Lambek, On Sorcery: Life with the Concept (Ethics@Noon)

    On Sorcery: Life with the Concept

    The question of sorcery is less whether it is rational or ‘real’ than how people live with the concept. The paper draws from my mistakes in attempting to resolve a conflict over sorcery accusations among a group of siblings in Mayotte (Western Indian Ocean) in order to illuminate ethical dimensions of living with sorcery and also of studying it. I present a picture of some of the vulnerabilities and insights that life with sorcery offers.

    ☛ please register here

    Michael LambekMichael Lambek
    University of Toronto
    Anthropology

    12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Oct 29, 2019
    Events in the Community
    The Price of Rights: International Human Rights Law and Corporate Accountability

    The Ethics, Society, and Law Students’ Association invites you to come out on October 29th to the Centre for Ethics (LA200) seminar room from 6:30pm-8pm to listen to two distinguished lawyers speak about transnational corporate legal accountability in cases of severe human rights abuse, and forced labor.

    Cory Wanless, a visiting professor at the University of Toronto, and Grahame Russell, head of Guatemala-based non-profit human rights organization Rights Action, have worked extensively on the HudBay and Nevsun cases surrounding human rights abuse allegations against Canadian mining companies operating abroad in Guatemala and Eritrea respectively, both of which are still making their way through Canadian or international courts.

    They will be speaking about their experiences working on these cases as well as the the stakes, complications, and implications of adopting international law on forced labour and slavery into Canadian domestic law.

    Refreshments will be provided!

    Itinerary:
    6:30pm – 7:15pm: Cory and Grahame speak
    7:15pm – 7:45pm: Questions and discussion
    7:45pm – 8:00pm: Wrap-up and conclusions

    ☛ please register here

    06:30 PM - 08:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Mon, Oct 28, 2019
    Perspectives on Ethics
    Kathryn Norlock, Do I Really Consent to Twitter's Terms of Service? (Perspectives on Ethics)

    Do I Really Consent to Twitter’s Terms of Service?

    Seemingly consent-capable social media users cannot fully appreciate the stakes of the gambles that we take in social media. The risks that I focus on include negatively transformative experiences stemming from negativity bias, to which most humans are prone, and which results in our remembering insults and hostility far more easily than compliments or kindness. Our abilities to satisfy risk-related consent standards require self-monitoring of the impact of negative experiences, which are undermined by our own online habituation and our desires to return to ludic loops of variable reward. I conclude that we can’t even implicitly consent, let alone click the consent checkbox for meaningfully explicit consent.

    ☛ please register here

    Kathryn NorlockKathryn Norlock
    Trent University
    Philosophy

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Thu, Oct 24, 2019
    Ethics of AI in Context
    Margit Sutrop, Should We Trust Artificial Intelligence? (Ethics of AI in Context)

    Should We Trust Artificial Intelligence?

    Trust is believed to be a foundational cornerstone for artificial intelligence (AI). Recently the European Commission High Level Expert Group on AI adopted the Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy AI (2019), stressing that human beings will only be able to confidently and fully reap the benefits of AI if they can trust the technology.
    Although building trust in AI seems to be a shared aim, there is no overall agreement on what trust is, and what it depends on. In this talk, I will approach trust in AI from a philosophical perspective. On the basis of a conceptual analysis of trust I shall investigate under which conditions trust in AI is rational.
    Philosophical accounts of trust differ on whether they argue that trust involves a belief that the trustee is trustworthy, an affective attitude or both. There is a consensus that trust involves the acceptance of risk and it is not compatible with excessive precautions. Several philosophers have pointed out that reasons for trust are preemptive reasons, i.e. reasons against taking precautions and against weighing available evidence of somebody’s trustworthiness.
    We know that besides bringing substantive benefits to individuals and society, AI can also bring along serious risks. We should therefore ask if it is rational to be against taking precautions.
    I am going to ask if instead of talking about building trust in AI and aiming at trustworthy AI, we should not focus on accountability of AI and trustworthiness of institutions designing and governing AI. Also, I shall point out that the metaphorical talk of trustworthy AI and ethically aligned AI ignores the real disagreements we have about ethical values.

    ☛ please register here

    Margit SutropMargit Sutrop
    University of Tartu
    Philosophy

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Oct 23, 2019
    Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars
    Cylita Guy, Machine Learning for Prioritization in Conservation and Disease Surveillance (Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars)

    Machine Learning for Prioritization in Conservation
    and Disease Surveillance 

    In recent years, biologists have come up with a number of innovative applications for machine learning and computationally intensive approaches in ecology, evolution, and conservation. Often these methods are leveraged because they allow ecologists to capitalise on incomplete datasets in systems where the processes generating observed patterns are unknown. Further, because of their predictive nature these algorithms have proved useful for helping us to direct limited resources to the areas of greatest need. In this talk I will discuss two cases where I have applied machine learning in my research program. The first – dealing with predicting suitable habitat for Neotropical primates – will highlight how machine learning can be used for targeted conservation. The second – predicting which bat species may be future carriers of diseases capable of infecting humans – will touch on how these approaches can aid global sampling efforts under the One Health paradigm. Finally, I will finish with a discussion on the importance of communicating these results effectively to managers and the public, and the implications.

    ☛ please register here

    Cylita GuyCylita Guy
    University of Toronto
    Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

    Dr. Cylita Guy obtained her PhD in the department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto, where she currently works as a research associate. Using both fieldwork and computational methods, she is trying to understand why bats seem to be good at carrying viruses that they sometimes share with humans, but rarely get sick from themselves. Cylita is also an experienced science communicator. She spent 10 years working at the Ontario Science Centre, started a Junior Bat Biologist program with the High Park Nature Centre, and organized Canada’s first national science communication conference for graduate students. Cylita has also applied her computational skills to digital media data, previously working as a data scientist for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Oct 16, 2019
    Ethics at Noon
    Emma McClure, Microaffirmations, Privilege, and a Duty to Redistribute (Ethics@Noon)

    Microaffirmations, Privilege, and a Duty to Redistribute

    Microaffirmations are the inverse of microaggressions: seemingly small acknowledgements that can accumulate into large positive impacts. Mary Rowe first proposed microaffirmations as a way for privileged people to consciously counter microaggressions. We could practice giving small supports to members of marginalized groups until these behaviors become habitual and replaced our propensity towards microaggressions.
    Recent psychological discussions have uncritically adopted this conceptualization, but I point out the pitfalls of continuing along this path. The current discussion elides the fact that privileged people constantly receive small supports. Indeed, privilege is partially constituted by being the recipient of unceasing microaffirmations. Moreover, the feminist relational autonomy literature has shown that everyone—privileged and marginalized alike—requires social support in order to develop and maintain our autonomous capacities.
    Thus, microaffirmations should not be thought of as providing vulnerable members of marginalized groups special treatment that we do not offer to anyone else. Instead, changing our microaffirmative practices would involve ending the special treatment we currently give by default to members of privileged groups. Ultimately, I argue for an imperfect moral duty to redistribute microaffirmations by supporting marginalized people and challenging privileged people’s assumed superiority.

    ☛ please register here

    Emma McClureEmma McClure
    University of Toronto
    Centre for Ethics

    12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Thu, Oct 10, 2019
    Ethics of Pedagogy
    Paola Bohórquez, Beyond Deficit Thinking: Strategies for Engaging Linguistic Difference in the Multilingual Classroom (Ethics of Pedagogy)

    Beyond Deficit Thinking: Strategies for Engaging Linguistic Difference in the Multilingual Classroom

    The presence of multilingual students and speakers of non-privileged varieties of English in our classrooms foregrounds linguistic difference as a key feature of university learning environments. Nevertheless, these students still face marginalization as their multilingual and multidialectal competencies are rendered invisible and inoperative in academic learning. Recent translingual approaches offer a new framework to rethink difference as constitutive of all communicative practices rather than as a feature of students’ diverse sociolinguistic identities. In this session, we will discuss practical strategies on how to engage our students’ linguistic multicompetencies in ways that may align our pedagogical practices with more expansive understandings of linguistic competence and academic literacy.

    ☛ please register here

    Paola BohórquezPaola Bohórquez
    University of Toronto
    English Language Learning Program

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Oct 9, 2019
    Ethics at Noon, Ethics of AI in Context
    Jeff Behrends, Ethics Education in Computer Science: The Embedded EthiCS Approach (Ethics@Noon)

    Ethics Education in Computer Science: The Embedded EthiCS Approach

    While scholarship on integrating ethical content into Computer Science curricula dates at least to the 1980s, recent moral crises in the tech industry have given rise to a period of intense interest in ethics education for computer scientists, both within academia and among the public at large. There can be little doubt at this point that a responsible education in computer science should equip students with some set of ethical knowledge and skills. But identifying precisely what that set ought to look like, and then designing a feasible curriculum to achieve it, are difficult tasks for a variety of reasons. At Harvard University, the Embedded EthiCS program marries the expertise from the faculty of Computer Science and Philosophy in an attempt to provide meaningful educational outcomes for students without significant investments in time for Computer Science faculty members, or a disruptive restructuring of the Computer Science curriculum. This talk will explain the basic structure of the program, and address its early successes and challenges.

    ☛ please register here

    Jeff BehrendsJeff Behrends
    Harvard University
    Philosophy

     

    co-sponsor:
    Computer Science University of Toronto

    12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Oct 8, 2019
    Ethics of AI in Context
    John Basl & Jeff Behrends, Why Everyone Has It Wrong About the Ethics of Autonomous Vehicles (Ethics of AI in Context)

    Why Everyone Has It Wrong About the Ethics of Autonomous Vehicles

    Many of those thinking about the ethics of autonomous vehicles believe there are important lessons to be learned by attending to so-called Trolley Cases, while a growing opposition is dismissive of their supposed significance. The optimists about the value of these cases think that because AVs might find themselves in circumstances that are similar to Trolley Cases, we can draw on them to ensure ethical driving behavior. The pessimists are convinced that these cases have nothing to teach us, either because they believe that the AV and trolley cases are in fact very dissimilar, or because they are distrustful of the use of thought experiments in ethics generally.
    Something has been lost in the moral discourse between the optimists and the pessimists. We too think that we should be pessimistic about the ways optimists have leveraged Trolley Cases to draw conclusions about how to program autonomous vehicles, but the typical defenses of pessimism fail to recognize how the tools of moral philosophy can and should be fruitfully applied to AV design. In this talk we first explain what’s wrong with typical arguments for dismissing the value of trolley cases and then argue that moral philosophers have erred by overlooking the significance of machine learning techniques in AV applications, highlighting how best to proceed.

    ☛ please register here

    John BaslJohn Basl
    Northeastern University
    Philosophy

     

     


    Jeff Behrends
    Jeff Behrends
    Harvard University
    Philosophy

     

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Mon, Oct 7, 2019
    Perspectives on Ethics
    John Basl, Artifact Welfare?: A Problem of Exclusion for Biocentrism (Perspectives on Ethics)

    Artifact Welfare?: A Problem of Exclusion for Biocentrism

    Biocentrism is the view that all and only living things have moral status or are deserving of direct moral concern. The project of defending Biocentrism includes adopting some strategy for excluding various kinds of things – biotic communities, ecosystems, species, and artifacts – from the domain of direct moral concern. This talk aims to showcase the failures of this strategy of exclusion specifically in the case of artifacts. The standard line for the Biocentrist is to argue that these things fail to meet the conditions for having a welfare or well-being, a necessary condition for having moral status of the relevant kind. The Biocentrist has, for good reason, typically adopted a view of non-sentient welfare that is teleological, grounding the welfare of non-sentient organisms in their goal-directed behaviors, and where pushed to articulate an account of goal-directedness, they have typically appealed to etiological account of function or teleology. When it comes to excluding artifacts, the reason artifacts are taken to lack a welfare is that, while goal-directed, their goal-directedness is derivative on our goals; whereas natural selection grounds genuine teleology, artificial selection does not. I explain why this appeal to natural selection can’t do the work the Biocentrist requires and consider a range of alternatives finding each lacking.

    ☛ please register here

    John BaslJohn Basl
    Northeastern University
    Philosophy

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Fri, Oct 4, 2019
    Ethics & the Arts, Events in the Community
    Not My Utopia: A Screening

    Not My Utopia: A Screening

    Not My Utopia examines the technological status quo and looks towards other possible futures. Through inter-generational inquiry, this screening aims to provoke personal conversations between makers and audience about how to re-imagine the unfolding future. The present day urgency of Zeesy Power’s Smart City PSAs pushes back against libertarian utopias sold as the only answer to urban crises. Megan May Daalder’s documentary series Children of the Singularity questions assumptions of youth as passive consumers of the technologies and systems developed by their parents and invites them to be the preeminent philosophers of the future. Collectively, this screening look directly at the widespread gains and losses that are the legacy of technological development.

    Presented by Pleasure Dome; a Toronto based, non-profit, artist-run presentation organization and publisher dedicated to experimental media.

    07:30 PM - 10:00 PM
    Ryerson Image Arts Centre
    122 Bond St, RM 307

  • Wed, Oct 2, 2019
    Ethics & the Arts, Ethics & Film: Lights, Camera, Ethics!, Ethics in the City
    Citizen Jane: Battle for the City (2016) (Ethics in the City Films)

    Writer and urban activist Jane Jacobs fights to save historic New York City during the ruthless redevelopment era of urban planner Robert Moses in the 1960s. Citizen Jane is a timely tale of what can happen when engaged citizens fight the power for the sake of a better world. Arguably no one did more to shape our understanding of the modern American city than Jane Jacobs, the visionary activist and writer who fought to preserve urban communities in the face of destructive development projects. Director Matt Tyrnauer (Valentino: The Last Emperor; Where’s My Roy Cohn?) vividly brings to life Jacobs’ 1960s showdown with ruthless construction kingpin Robert Moses over his plan to raze lower Manhattan to make way for a highway, a dramatic struggle over the very soul of the neighborhood.

    Join us for a screening plus discussion (and cookies)!

    ☛ please register here

    06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Wed, Oct 2, 2019
    Ethics at Noon
    Elena Comay del Junco, Aristotle and the Ethics of Nature (Ethics@Noon)

    Aristotle and the Ethics of Nature

    Aristotle holds certain natural beings to have greater or lesser degrees of value or perfection. This raises the question of what ethical entailments such a hierarchy might have.  I argue for three main points: first, that there is no sense in which an ethical approach to the natural world can be straightforwardly derived from Aristotle’s form of natural hierarchy, since it does not entail viewing “lower” species instrumentally. Moreover, such a hierarchy is in fact fully compatible with strict limits on interspecies exploitation. Second, the one passage in which Aristotle seems to ground the exploitation of non-human nature by humans in his natural philosophy conflicts with his larger theoretical commitments. Third and finally, Aristotle himself – even if he is often unclear and self contradictory – provides powerful materials for an ethics of nature.

    ☛ please register here

    Elena Comay del JuncoElena Comay del Junco
    University of Toronto
    Centre for Ethics

    12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Oct 1, 2019
    Ethics of AI in Context
    Marzyeh Ghassemi, Can Machines Learn from Our Mistakes? (Ethics of AI in Context)

    Can Machines Learn from Our Mistakes?

    Healthcare runs on human-based algorithms, that routinely misdiagnose, mistreat, and mislead patients about their care. But what if mistakes aren’t bad? What if we could learn from these mistakes? And what does artificial intelligence have to do with it? Marzyeh Ghassemi’s talk will delve into how the machine learning revolution can be applied in a healthcare setting, to improve medical care and create actionable insights in human health.

    ☛ please register here

    Marzyeh GhassemiMarzyeh Ghassemi
    University of Toronto
    Computer Science

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Mon, Sep 30, 2019
    Perspectives on Ethics
    Luvell Anderson, Navigating Racial Satire (Perspectives on Ethics)

    Navigating Racial Satire

    What has to go wrong for racial satire to be racist? In 2014, Stephen Colbert came under fire for a tweet sent out on behalf of his show The Colbert Report. The tweet in question, “I am willing to show @Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong-Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever,” sparked a twitter response from writer and hashtag activist Suey Park. The tweet was a brief recap of a joke Colbert told on the show as a satirical response to Daniel Snyder’s creation of a charitable organization for Native Americans while continuing to maintain a racial slur for the same group as the name of his football team. We typically think of humor as a non-serious context. These sorts of contexts affect how we interpret utterances. Normally, we don’t interpret humorous utterances as straightforward assertions. In fact, some responses to the charge of racism against Colbert’s satirical performance claimed that recognizing it as satire was enough to exonerate the humor of the charge. But if this is so, what explains when charges of racism against satire persist? In this talk I critically explore candidate views of racist satire. I also draw a distinction between satire that is offensive and satire that is racist

    ☛ please register here

    Luvell AndersonLuvell Anderson
    Syracuse University
    Philosophy

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Sep 18, 2019
    Ethics at Noon
    Jill Ross, Horatian Poetics and Moral Theory in the Middle Ages (Ethics@Noon)

    Horatian Poetics and Moral Theory in the Middle Ages

    One of the animating doctrines of medieval poetic theory is the avoidance of poetic error. Based on the first 37 lines of Horace’s Art of Poetry where the poet counsels against inept, monstrous composition, medieval commentators created a system of 6 poetic errors that became a canonical element in the teaching of poetic technique in the standard artes poetriae of Geoffrey of Vinsauf and Matthew of Vendôme. The term used to refer to these poetic errors, vitia, carries with it a moral, ethical charge, with poetry placed firmly under the philosophical rubric of ethics. While this prescriptive system of avoiding poetic vice is a theoretical topos, what is less clear is how poets chose to intervene in such a fixed system. In this paper, I will use a case study of Juan Ruiz, a fourteenth-century Castilian poet who turns these poetic errors inside out in the process of narrating the moral, sexual sins of his protagonist whose unsuccessful efforts at seduction mirror the aesthetic lapses of the text itself. The poetic text of the Libro de buen amor (Book of Good Love) deliberately commits every aesthetic error condemned by Horace and his medieval readers in a poem that self-reflexively blurs the boundaries between poetics and ethics. I will then explore, through a sampling of commentary on Horace’s Ars Poetica, spanning the 12th to the 15th centuries, how and why the writing of poetry may constitute an ethical act. By placing the Horatian material in conversation with both Aristotelian ethics and the large Christian literature on sin, this paper will explore some possible avenues for theorizing and defining the kind of moral lapse that some commentators attributed to faulty poetic composition.

    ☛ please register here

    Jill RossJill Ross
    University of Toronto
    Comparative Literature and Medieval Studies

    12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Sep 17, 2019
    Ethics of AI in Context
    Teresa Heffernan, The Ethical Imagination: Humanities versus Artificial Intelligence (Ethics of AI in Context)

    The Ethical Imagination: Humanities versus Artificial Intelligence

    The era of “disruptive” technologies has given way to an ethical quagmire. Biased algorithms, invasive facial recognition software, proprietary black boxes, the theft and monetization of personal data, and the proliferation of hate-spewing bots and deepfakes have undermined democracy. Killer robots and the automation of war have led to a new arms raise with Vladimir Putin declaring whoever leads in AI will rule the world. The concentration of wealth and power of corporations that own most of this resource-intensive technology and the environmental price tag of AI can only hasten climate change. In response to these ethical problems, a number of research centres are now investing in the intersection of humanities and AI in order to study its impact on society, notably the Schwarzman College for Computing at MIT, the Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society at the University of Toronto, and The Schwarzman Centre’s Institute for Ethics in AI at Oxford. An article about the MIT initiative noted: “The approach has the potential not just to diversify tech but to help ‘techify’ everything else” while Geoffrey Hinton said: “My hope is that the Schwartz Reisman Institute will be the place where deep learning disrupts the humanities.” What these statements disavow, however, are the very different epistemological approaches that structure these fields. If we are to begin to deal with the ethical issues of AI, the humanities should not be “disrupted” and made to bow to the logic of big data, algorithms, and machines. In this talk, I will argue that it is only by keeping alive the tensions between artificial intelligence and the humanities that we can hope to have an informed debate about the limits and possibilities of this technology.

    ☛ please register here

    Teresa HeffernanTeresa Heffernan
    St. Mary’s University
    English

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Sep 10, 2019
    Ethics of AI in Context
    Ifeoma Ajunwa, The Paradox of Automation as Anti-Bias Intervention (Ethics of AI in Context)

    The Paradox of Automation as Anti-Bias Intervention

    A received wisdom is that automated decision-making serves as an anti-bias intervention. The conceit is that removing humans from the decision-making process will also eliminate human bias. The paradox, however, is that in some instances, automated decision-making has served to replicate and amplify bias. With a case study of the algorithmic capture of hiring as heuristic device, this Article provides a taxonomy of problematic features associated with algorithmic decision-making as anti-bias intervention and argues that those features are at odds with the fundamental principle of equal opportunity in employment. To examine these problematic features within the context of algorithmic hiring and to explore potential legal approaches to rectifying them, the Article brings together two streams of legal scholarship: law and technology studies and employment & labor law.
    Counterintuitively, the Article contends that the framing of algorithmic bias as a technical problem is misguided. Rather, the Article’s central claim is that bias is introduced in the hiring process, in large part, due to an American legal tradition of deference to employers, especially allowing for such nebulous hiring criterion as “cultural fit.” The Article observes the lack of legal frameworks that take into account the emerging technological capabilities of hiring tools which make it difficult to detect disparate impact. The Article thus argues for a re-thinking of legal frameworks that take into account both the liability of employers and those of the makers of algorithmic hiring systems who, as brokers, owe a fiduciary duty of care. Particularly related to Title VII, the Article proposes that in legal reasoning corollary to extant tort doctrines, an employer’s failure to audit and correct its automated hiring platforms for disparate impact could serve as prima facie evidence of discriminatory intent, leading to the development of the doctrine of discrimination per se. The article also considers other approaches separate from employment law such as establishing consumer legal protections for job applicants that would mandate their access to the dossier of information consulted by automated hiring systems in making the employment decision.

    ☛ please register here

    Ifeoma AjunwaIfeoma Ajunwa
    Cornell University
    Labor Relations, Law, and History

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Aug 21, 2019
    Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars
    Automated Violence: Who Will Guard the Guards? (w/ Daniella Barreto & Nicole Leaver) (Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars)

    Automated Violence: Who Will Guard the Guards?

    We will discuss automated decision-making systems (ADMs) being deployed by police services, with a specific focus on the RCMP’s “Project Wide Awake.” The surveillance program, sans privacy impact assessment, has garnered little media attention despite the chilling precedent it sets regarding privacy rights in Canada. In June 2017, the RCMP acquired and launched a social media surveillance program specifically targeting Black Lives Matter activists in Vancouver, BC. Our discussion will highlight some of the key features of the project and unpack a series of questions, including: Was there an objective to collecting data on BLM activists? Was the data disclosed to any other databases and third-parties, such as the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) database? And has this data been used to train ADMs? We will highlight how mass surveillance programs can exacerbate discriminatory and violent policing behaviours when data collection mechanisms and ADMs go unvetted and unchecked.

    ☛ please register here

    Daniella Barreto
    Amnesty International Canada
    Digital Activism Coordinator

    Daniella Barreto is a public health researcher and anti-racist queer activist. She holds an MSc. in population and public health and continues advocacy work with sex workers and people living with HIV. She is a co-founder of RUDE: The Podcast, a professional photographer and Nuance writing fellow. She is currently Digital Activism Coordinator at Amnesty International Canada.

    Nicole LeaverNicole Leaver
    Artificial Intelligence Impact Alliance
    Public Sector Technology Researcher

    Nicole Leaver is a progressive policy researcher and graduate student at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. Her current research focuses on automated decision-making systems and inequality in Canada. She is a public sector technology researcher at the Artificial Intelligence Impact Alliance and a co-founder of RUDE: The Podcast.

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Fri, Aug 16, 2019
    Public Issues Forum, Ethics of AI in Context
    State of AI Ethics: A Critical Discussion on the Societal Impacts of AI (w/ Montreal AI Ethics Institute)

    State of AI Ethics: A Critical Discussion on the Societal Impacts of AI

    NOTE: The feedback from this session will be integrated into the research project that we have going on at MAIEI this summer where we are joined by interns from across the world working on this subject! For more information, check out: https://montrealethics.ai/meet-the-16-inaugural-maiei-summer-research-interns/

    ☛ please register here

    Centre for Ethics – University of Toronto is hosting the Montreal AI Ethics Institute and the local AI ethics community at their offices to discuss the very important subject of State of AI Ethics – there has been a surge in the interest on the societal impacts of AI, especially with a whole host of declarations and sets of guidelines that have been published trying to capture these impacts from different angles. Yet, there are quite a few aspects that are missing in this conversation, especially when it comes to how these efforts are funded, what is the underlying diversity in the teams that put together these reports/research and most importantly are we missing key, unrepresented voices that need to be a part of the conversation but those that don’t necessarily have access to media sources to emphasize their work and opinions.

    In this session we’ll be looking to gain a holistic understanding by leveraging insights from a diversity of backgrounds and fields, both from a social science and technical perspective. We’ll be building on the work from the Research Internship Program project at MAIEI (material for that will be sent out closer to the session, please make sure to keep an eye out for the email around August 13/14).

    Guiding questions for the session:

    1) What are the unheard voices in the current discourse of AI ethics and how do we bring them into the fold of AI ethics enabling them to make meaningful technical and policy contributions? There are a set of AI ethics “elite” and influencers that are driving the conversation, agenda and research directions via their audiences on social media and prior connections from their work which are marginalizing the voices of the people who are on the ground facing the effects of automation.

    2) Given the current deluge of declarations, guidelines, and other initiatives that are trying to map out the developments in the field of AI ethics, who are the most underserved audiences when it comes to implementing AI ethics in a practical manner? The ultimate goal of work being done in AI ethics needs to be beyond just academic and theoretical interest and instead help people implement these practices in their research and work so that we can mitigate harms emerging from irresponsible uses of AI systems.

    Mandatory Readings:

    0-a) Machine Learning 101 [Very strongly recommended for those without a technical background]

    0-b) AI Ethics 101 [Very strongly recommended for those that are getting started with understanding issues in this space] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3Tme0WU5D8

    The following readings are a small sample to get us started – if you find other interesting material on this please reach out to abhishek@montrealethics.ai to have the readings be included for the session.

    1) AI and Human Rights by Harvard – https://ai-hr.cyber.harvard.edu/

    2) Linking AI principles – www.linking-ai-principles.org

    3) Deeper dive Comparative legal study on privacy and personal data protection for robots equipped with artificial intelligence: looking at functional and technological aspects

    4) Deeper dive IEEE Ethically Aligned Design – https://ethicsinaction.ieee.org/

    NOTE : Please join Slack via http://bit.ly/ai-ethics-signup as we will be actively discussing things there leading up to the session.

    Also, please make sure to sign up for the Montreal AI Ethics Newsletter https://bit.ly/maieisubscribe because we’ll be sharing back the results from the session there.

    Format :
    5:45-5:55 Registration and networking
    5:55-6:00 Introduction
    6:00-6:05 Break out into groups
    6:05-7:35 Group discussion
    7:35-7:45 Synthesize group discussion
    7:45-8:10 Group presentations and debate [3 min. presentation + 3 min cross-questioning by group]
    8:10-8:15 Session wrap-up

    05:45 PM - 08:15 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Wed, Aug 7, 2019
    Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars
    Business-as-Trust: Corporate Social Responsibility in the Era of AI (w/ Michael Motala) (Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars)

    Business-as-Trust: Corporate Social Responsibility in the Era of AI

    The new Artificial Intelligence-powered social technology economy has disrupted local and global markets with bewildering speed. From hoteling to online dating to urban transportation, GPS-enabled location-based apps like Uber, Facebook, Amazon, and Airbnb have broken down conventional axes of economic regulation, social interaction, and commercial power. Why and how must we reimagine the normative and practical foundations of corporate social responsibility and business ethics? Current approaches such as the stockholder and stakeholder theory of corporate social responsibility are vague, abstract, indeterminate, and have little relevance to the modern economy. To move past this impasse, this lecture, which is based on a forthcoming book entitled The New Business Ethics (Routledge, 2019), argues we must reimagine corporate social responsibility in five critical ways: as a practical process of decision-making and accountability that exists to foster and maintain trust in enterprise; as a dynamic and process-relational system of interconnected institutions and agents; as a discourse ethics concerned with articulating a new universal pragmatics; as an actor-centric model of market-state relations; and as a new social constitution of the digital economy grounded in the principles of responsibility, transparency, and accountability.

    ☛ please register here

    Michael MotalaMichael Motala
    University of Toronto
    Political Science

    Michael Motala is an Ethics of Artificial Intelligence Graduate Research Fellow at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Ethics, and a PhD student studying political science. Michael’s research interests lie at the intersection of law, economics, political science, and pragmatist moral philosophy. He holds degrees from Columbia University, Osgoode Hall Law School, the London School of Economics and Political Science, and the University of Toronto’s Trinity College.

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Jul 24, 2019
    Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars
    The Labour Behind AI: Micro-Work and the Platform Economy (w/ Julian Posada) (Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars)

    The Labour Behind AI: Micro-Work and the Platform Economy

    From data collection and annotation to AI impersonation, platforms like Amazon Mechanical Turk and Upwork fragment and outsource tasks to millions of workers around the globe, many of them situated in developing countries. This seminar focuses on how human labour in the platform economy helps to create and maintain AI systems. It positions platforms as organizational paradigms and retraces their historical evolution within contemporary neo-liberal capitalism. While “micro-work” platforms generate employment in developing countries, they are often disengaged from the traditional social role of enterprises and do not provide any social and economic protections to their workers. Due to their international nature, effective regulation of these platforms is challenging. However, this seminar concludes by presenting other potential alternatives that could improve the working conditions of workers in the global platform economy such as the implementation of ethical work principles and the empowerment of workers through co-operation.

    ☛ please register here

    Julian PosadaJulian Posada
    University of Toronto

    Faculty of Information

    Julian Posada is a Ph.D. student at the Faculty of Information of the University of Toronto and a Junior Fellow of Massey College. His research focuses on alternative forms of organization, fair labour, and worker co-operation in the platform economy. Previously, he worked for the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and holds a master’s degree in economic sociology from the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS) and a bachelor’s degree in the Humanities from Sorbonne University.

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Jul 10, 2019
    Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars
    AI and Medical Education (w/ Nishila Mehta & AIMSS) (Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars)

    AI and Medical Education

    Today, emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, gene editing, nanotechnology, and blockchain are being explored as ways to fundamentally “disrupt” medicine and healthcare. Despite the promises of such technologies, implementing them has presented countless unintended challenges. First and foremost, given the Hippocratic duties of healthcare providers to ‘do no harm’, it is essential that the role of these emerging technologies in medicine is carefully scrutinized by practitioners that understand and can think critically about them. Artificial intelligence (AI) can be broadly defined as the ability for a machine to perform human-like tasks after learning from experience. AI is poised to introduce significant changes to medicine and healthcare. Physicians will be expected to navigate these changes and use new technologies in a competent and ethical manner. Currently, curricular and extracurricular opportunities addressing AI in medicine across Ontario medical schools are sparse or nonexistent. Failing to prepare future physicians to respond and adapt to novel AI applications in medicine may lead to dire consequences including but not limited to decreased quality of care, exploitation of patient data, and widened health disparities. It is crucial that physicians, as patient advocates, are equipped with the skills and knowledge base to be a voice in the evolving dialogue surrounding the integration of AI into healthcare.

    ☛ please register here

    Nishila MehtaNishila Mehta is a first-year medical student at the University of Toronto, and a recent graduate of York University’s Global Health program with a specialization in eHealth. She has diverse interests in health technology, quality improvement, and health equity, and has explored these by leading several research projects at hospital and university sites. Her interest in AI Ethics grew out of her undergraduate degree, where she observed the widespread societal consequences that emerging technologies could have. She has spent her year as an inaugural research fellow in Ethics of AI at the Centre for Ethics exploring the implications of Artificial Intelligence for medical education and global health equity. She has also worked alongside a student group at the faculty of medicine called the “Artificial Intelligence in Medicine Student Society” (AiMSS) to further explore how AI can be integrated into medical education.

    The Artificial Intelligence in Medicine Society (AIMSS) is a group for medical students at the University of Toronto. It was established in 2017 after students noticed the growing impact of machine learning and artificial intelligence on the healthcare field. Our mission is to provide medical students with insight on how AI is being applied to healthcare as well as the challenges it raises (especially ethically), connect students with opportunities and resources in the Toronto health-tech space, and advocate for greater integration of AI into the medical curriculum to prepare future doctors for the healthcare environment of tomorrow. We do this through speaker series, interactive workshops, and publishing in the scientific and popular literature. Our latest paper is a position paper endorsed by the Ontario Medical Students’ Association which outlines how we can better prepare medical students for AI in healthcare. It can be accessed here: https://omsa.ca/en/position-papers/preparing-medical-students-impact-artificial-intelligence.

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Thu, Jun 27, 2019
    Events on Campus
    Media Ethics: Human Ecology in a Connected World

    The 20th Annual Convention of the Media Ecology Association
    International Conference
    Toronto, 27-30 June 2019

    Presented by:

    University of St Micheal's College Media Ecology Association University of Toronto Faculty of Arts and Science University of Toronto Centre for Ethics

    12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
    St Michael's College
    81 St. Mary Street

  • Wed, Jun 26, 2019
    Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars
    Rebooting Regulation: Insights from a Series of Cross-Country AI Policy Labs (w/ Sarah Villeneuve) (Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars)

    Rebooting Regulation: Insights from a Series of Cross-Country AI Policy Labs

    Breakthroughs in artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, like prediction, natural language processing, and pattern and image recognition, offer promising opportunities and the potential for better services. Yet, they also pose challenges in areas such as fairness, privacy, and safety. There is an increasing need to build capacity within the public policy field to ensure AI technologies are developed, implemented, and governed in ways that align with public interest objectives. In this session, Sarah will share insights from discussions with policymakers across Canada around the ethical implications and policy considerations of AI development, as part of the AI Futures Policy Lab series co-designed by the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship and CIFAR.

    ☛ please register here

    Sarah VilleneuveSarah Villeneuve is an interdisciplinary researcher investigating the socio-economic impacts of artificial intelligence with the aim of influencing technology design and public policy in Canada. She is currently a Policy Analyst at the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship where she explores the impact of AI on public policy and the labour market, as well as public attitudes towards emerging technologies. Sarah holds a Master of Science in Data and Society from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Relations from the University of London. Her previous research has focused on algorithmic discrimination, smart-city marginalization, and predictive analytics for governance.

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Mon, Jun 17, 2019
    Author Meets Critics, Ethics of AI in Context
    Mark Kingwell, Wish I Were Here: Boredom and the Interface (Author Meets Critics)

    Wish I Were Here: Boredom and the Interface (McGIll 2019)

    Mark Kingwell
    Department of Philosophy
    University of Toronto

    Commentators:
    Lauren Bialystok 
    (Social Justice Education, OISE, University of Toronto)
    Molly Sauter (Communication Studies, McGill University)
    Ira Wells (Victoria College, University of Toronto)

    ☛ register here

    Offering a timely meditation on the profound effects of constant immersion in technology, also known as the Interface, Wish I Were Here draws on philosophical analysis of boredom and happiness to examine the pressing issues of screen addiction and the lure of online outrage. Without moralizing, Mark Kingwell takes seriously the possibility that current conditions of life and connection are creating hollowed-out human selves, divorced from their own external world. While scrolling, swiping, and clicking suggest purposeful action, such as choosing and connecting with others, Kingwell argues that repeated flicks of the finger provide merely the shadow of meaning, by reducing us to scattered data fragments, Twitter feeds, Instagram posts, shopping preferences, and text trends captured by algorithms.

    Written in accessible language that references both classical philosophers and contemporary critics, Wish I Were Here turns to philosophy for a cure to the widespread unease that something is amiss in modern waking life.

    04:15 PM - 06:15 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Wed, Jun 12, 2019
    Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars
    Humanistic Management of Artificial Intelligence (w/ Ryan Khurana) (Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars)

    Humanistic Management of Artificial Intelligence

    Artificial intelligence is challenging the dominant paradigm of scientific management by increasing the importance of judgement in decision-making, which has been historically undervalued. The highly specialised jobs and process-driven bureaucratic structures that dominate large organizations favour excessive automation. This would reduce the number of roles available for qualified workers while simultaneously increasing the risk of catastrophic prediction failure, as humans are likely to be prematurely removed “from the loop.” In order to ensure the productivity benefits promised by artificial intelligence while avoiding large scale failure, a program of humanistic management that allows for error and values qualitative judgement needs to be adopted.

    ☛ please register here

    Ryan Khurana Ryan Khurana is the Executive Director of the Institute for Advancing Prosperity, a technology policy think tank in Toronto. Prior to this, he held roles in technology policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., and at the Institute of Economic Affairs in London, UK.

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Jun 5, 2019
    Ethics of AI in Context
    What Society Must Require from AI (w/ Ron Baecker)

    What Society Must Require from AI

    Presented By: Ron Baecker, Professor Emeritus and Bell Chair in Human-Computer Interaction

    ☛ register here

    Abstract:
    Artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms, especially machine learning (ML) programs, are now being employed or proposed for use in:
    a) scanning résumés to weed out job applicants;
    b) evaluating risks children face in their families;
    c) informing judicial decisions about bail, sentencing, and parole;
    d) diagnosing medical conditions, and not just classifying medical images;
    e) identifying faces in the crowd for the police;
    f) caring for seniors;
    g) driving autonomous vehicles; and
    h) guiding and directing drones in eliminating terrorists.

    I will propose what society must require of algorithms that affect human welfare, health, life, and death. I shall discuss concepts including reliability, openness, transparency, explainability, trustworthiness, responsibility, accountability, empathy, compassion, fairness, and justice. The results will aid researchers in prioritizing problems for AI and HCI research, and will assist policy makers and citizens in determining when and how AI technology should be deployed.

    Biography:

    Ron Baecker is Emeritus Professor of Computer Science and Bell Chair in Human-Computer Interaction at the University of Toronto.
    He co-founded the Dynamic Graphics Project, and founded the university’s Knowledge Media Design Institute and its Technologies for Aging Gracefully lab (TAGlab). Recently, he has been a research lead in AGE-WELL, Canada’s technology and aging network.
    He has been named one of the 60 Pioneers of Computer Graphics by ACM SIGGRAPH, has been elected to the CHI (Computers and Human Interaction) Academy by ACM SIGCHI, has been named an ACM Fellow, and has been given the Canadian Human Computer Communications Society Achievement Award and a Canadian Digital Media Pioneer Award.
    He is the author of 5 books including Computers and Society: Modern Perspectives (Oxford University Press, 2019) and is the founding Editor of the Synthesis Lectures on Assistive, Rehabilitative, and Health-preserving Technologies (Morgan & Claypool, Publisher).

    This is a joint lecture with the Department of Computer Science and the Centre for Ethics.

    04:30 PM - 06:30 PM
    Department of Computer Science, University of Toronto
    Bahen Centre for Information Technology, Room 1130

  • Wed, May 29, 2019
    Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars
    Robotic Agents and the Evolving Nature of "Social" (w/ Shane Saunderson) (Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars)

    Robotic Agents and the Evolving Nature of “Social”

    Building on The Media Equation (1996), which highlighted the reflexive way humans treat computers and other technologies as social actors, this seminar will explore the depths and implications of robots and other anthropomorphized technologies as they adopt increasingly humanlike traits. As these technologies learn to mimic and replicate the nuances of our interactions, what responsibility do we have for their deployment and transparency in use? How will the creation of increasingly humanlike technologies change the ways in which we work, play, and live? Even if we could create artificial people, should we?

    ☛ please register here

    Shane SaundersonShane Saunderson
    University of Toronto
    Mechanical and Industrial Engineering

    Shane Saunderson received a B.Eng. in mechanical engineering from McGill University in 2005 and a M.B.A. in technology and innovation from Ryerson University in 2011. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate studying social Human-Robot Interaction under Prof. Goldie Nejat within the Autonomous Systems and Biomechatronics Laboratory (ASBLab) in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto. Shane holds a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship and is a Junior Fellow with Massey College. His research focuses on psychological influence caused by robots during social interactions with particular interest in topics such as persuasion, trust, and leadership.

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Thu, May 23, 2019
    Ethics of AI in Context
    Nagla Rizk, Artificial Intelligence and Inequality in the Middle East: The Political Economy of Inclusion (Ethics of AI in Context)

    Artificial Intelligence and Inequality in the Middle East: The Political Economy of Inclusion

    This paper explores the challenges, opportunities and tensions facing the equitable development of AI in the MENA region in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. While diverse in their natural and human resource endowments, countries of the region share a commonality in the predominance of a youthful population amidst complex political and economic contexts. The paper sheds light on how rampant unemployment, especially amongst a growing young population together with informality, gender and digital inequalities will likely shape the impact of AI technologies, especially in the region’s labour abundant resource poor countries. The paper attempts to unpack issues related to data, legislative environment, infrastructure and human resources as key inputs to AI technologies which in their current state may exacerbate existing inequalities. The promise for AI technologies for inclusion and helping mitigate inequalities lies in harnessing grounds up youth entrepreneurship and innovation initiatives driven by data and AI, with a few hopeful signs coming from national policies. The paper concludes that AI can concurrently serve to equalize and divide, underline the gap in focus between the economic and the political, and exemplify how investment in technology alone without developing human capital and an enabling environment would fail to achieve the desired objectives. With focus on political will, an awareness of these tensions informs the debate on AI and inclusion and helps mitigate the challenges and the threats that AI would exacerbate inequality in the region.

    ☛ please register here

    Nagla RizkNagla Rizk
    The American University in Cairo
    School of Business

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Fri, May 3, 2019
    Conferences
    The Ethics of Roles: Public, Professional, Personal (C4E Graduate Student Conference)

    The 7th Annual Graduate Student Conference
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    May 3-4, 2019

    The Ethics of Roles: Public, Professional, Personal explores the place of roles in our ethical lives and the duties of public and professional role occupants. The conference features presentations by graduate students from Canada and abroad, with comments by the Centre for Ethics Graduate Associates. Topics range from ethical problems for specific roles, including lawyers, judges, medical professionals, care workers, and scientific researchers, to more general investigations of how social roles shape our moral and political lives. View the full conference program and the agenda package .

    The conference also features a keynote address by Professor Arthur Applbaum of Harvard University. Applbaum is the author of Ethics for Adversaries: The Morality of Roles in Public and Professional Life (Princeton, 1999). His work has appeared in journals such as Philosophy & Public Affairs, Journal of the American Medical Association, Harvard Law Review, Ethics, and Legal Theory.

    Note on locations: the graduate student papers will be presented at the Centre for Ethics, while the keynote address is at the Jackman Humanities Building. All locations are accessible and have accessible and gender-neutral washrooms.

    If you have any questions, contact Hamish Russell at graduateassociates@gmail.com

    Keynote Speaker:
    Arthur Applbaum
    Adams Professor of Political Leadership and Democratic Values
    Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University                                   “Legitimacy and Wantonism: A Brexit Elegy”
                                                                Fri, 3 May 2019
    3:15 PM – 5:00 PM EDT
    Jackman Humanities Building, Rm 100
    170 St. George Street
    register for keynote here

    12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Wed, Apr 10, 2019
    Ethics & the Arts, Ethics & Film: Lights, Camera, Ethics!, Ethics in the City
    Ethics & Film: The Experimental City (Ethics in the City Film Series)

    The Experimental City (2017)

    In the 1960s, frustrated by the growing problem of urban pollution, Athelstan Spilhaus, a visionary scientist and futurist comic strip writer, assembled a team of experts to develop a bold experiment: the Minnesota Experimental City (MXC). MXC would be the city of the future, a domed metropolis for 250,000 pioneering residents, built from scratch and using cutting-edge technology to prevent urban sprawl and pollution. Things didn’t quite go as planned, as explored in Chad Friedrichs’ fascinating look back at the would-be city of tomorrow.

    ☛ please register here

    06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Wed, Apr 10, 2019
    Ethics in the City
    Ethics in the City: Theresa Enright

    Underground Arts: The Cultural Politics of Mass Transit

    Abstract: In the past two decades, cities around the world have tied investments in public transit to high-profile initiatives of art, design, architecture, and cultural programming. While transit art is proliferating, and has become a standard element of infrastructure planning, it is not well understood why municipalities and transit authorities are prioritizing the arts, or what function this cultural production plays in broader dynamics of urban development. This talk considers the close association between art and infrastructure investment with a focus on Toronto’s urban rail network. It asks: What accounts for the proliferation of transit art today? Where, how, and why is this occurring? And with what effects?

    Through investigating the cultural politics of transit, the paper identifies transit art as an important means for representing, imagining, producing, and organizing urban space and urban society. In line with existing critical research on public art, the paper finds that art and design are being used to ‘clean up’ struggling and defunded public utilities, to promote speculative financial investment, and to rebrand aspiring cities through culture-led placemaking. However, it also finds that transit art and design have less obvious functions—turning transit networks into valuable cultural assets, promoting vibrant public spheres, building communities, generating dynamic metropolitan imaginaries, and placing people and neighbourhoods in a hypermobile world.

    ☛ please register here

    Theresa EnrightTheresa Enright
    University of Toronto
    Political Science

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Wed, Mar 27, 2019
    Ethics & the Arts, Ethics & Film: Lights, Camera, Ethics!, Ethics in the City
    Ethics & Film: Metropolis (Ethics in the City Film Series)

    In a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city’s mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences. (IMDb)

    Join us for a screening plus discussion (and cookies)!

    ☛ please register here

    06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Wed, Mar 27, 2019
    Ethics at Noon
    Ethics@Noon: Benjamin Berger

    Indigenous Rights, Sovereignty, and the Heart of Religious Freedom

    Recent years have seen the rise of religious freedom as the “most difficult right” in the Canadian legal landscape, just as it has become an increasingly contested constitutional concept in other jurisdictions.  Freedom of religion has become a site for debate about the nature of the public/private divide, the balancing of competing rights, and the role of group and collective rights.  Scholarship seeking to understand the right — and the place and workings of religious freedom within liberal constitutionalism — has tended to explore its relationship to broad concepts like “secularism” and multiculturalism, and to understand it either as an equality- or liberty-based protection.  This talk will use the Supreme Court of Canada’s recent decision in Ktunaxa Nation v British Columbia as a pathway into a different understanding of the fundamental problematic at play in religious freedom.  In Ktunaxa, an Indigenous nation sought protection of its religious beliefs and practices under section 2(a) of the Charter.  Linking the case to other developments in Canada and abroad, this talk will argue that the Ktunaxa Nation’s decision to pursue their claim as a matter of freedom of religion — and the Court’s reasons for unanimously rejecting that claim — call our attention to the place of sovereignty in the architecture of religious freedom.  The specific features of Indigenous religions in a colonial context, and their awkward treatment in law, illuminate more broadly what is so difficult about freedom of religion.

    ☛ please register here

    Benjamin BergerBenjamin Berger
    York University
    Osgoode Hall Law School

    12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Mar 26, 2019
    Ethics of AI in Context
    Ethics of AI in Context: Sheila McIlraith

    Making Good Decisions and Getting AI to Do the Same

    As we contemplate a future in which AI systems are making decisions about everything from how long to toast our bagel to how fast our car should be driving on the icy roads, how do we ensure that these AI systems are making good decisions on our behalf? It has been suggested that highly autonomous AI systems adhere to the Value Alignment principle — that they be designed so that their goals and behaviours can be assured to align with human values throughout their operation — but how do we go about doing this? In this talk I will discuss technical approaches to building autonomous systems that “do the right thing” and the challenges to realizing this objective as we contemplate the elusive path from toasters to Artificial General Intelligence.

    ☛ please register here

    Sheila A. McIlraithSheila A. McIlraith
    University of Toronto
    Computer Science

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Mar 13, 2019
    Ethics & the Arts, Ethics & Film: Lights, Camera, Ethics!, Ethics in the City
    Ethics & Film: The Human Scale (Ethics in the City Film Series)

    ☛ please register here

    06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Wed, Mar 13, 2019
    Ethics at Noon
    Ethics@Noon: Tom Parr

    On Private Discrimination

    On what basis, if any, may owners of small businesses discriminate against customers or their requests? In particular, should these vendors enjoy a right to refuse to manifest beliefs that they do not hold? And, if so, what are the contours of this right? On the one hand, there are those who deny that private discrimination of this kind is ever permissible; on the other hand, there are those who maintain that it is always permissible. Perhaps predictably, my view occupies a position in between these two extremes: small vendors should enjoy a prerogative to discriminate against customers and their requests, but this prerogative is restricted. My defence of this claim comes in two parts. First, I explain why owners of small businesses should enjoy such a prerogative to discriminate. Second, I set out three ways in which we should restrict the prerogative. ‘On Private Discrimination’: On what basis, if any, may owners of small businesses discriminate against customers or their requests? In particular, should these vendors enjoy a right to refuse to manifest beliefs that they do not hold? And, if so, what are the contours of this right? On the one hand, there are those who deny that private discrimination of this kind is ever permissible; on the other hand, there are those who maintain that it is always permissible. Perhaps predictably, my view occupies a position in between these two extremes: small vendors should enjoy a prerogative to discriminate against customers and their requests, but this prerogative is restricted. My defence of this claim comes in two parts. First, I explain why owners of small businesses should enjoy such a prerogative to discriminate. Second, I set out three ways in which we should restrict the prerogative.

    ☛ please register here

    Tom ParrTom Parr
    University of Essex
    Department of Government

    12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Mar 12, 2019
    Ethics of AI in Context
    Ethics of AI in Context: Virginia Eubanks

    Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police and Punish the Poor

    In Automating Inequality, Virginia Eubanks systematically investigates the impacts of data mining, policy algorithms, and predictive risk models on poor and working-class people in America. The book is full of heart-wrenching and eye-opening stories, from a woman in Indiana whose benefits are literally cut off as she lays dying to a family in Pennsylvania in daily fear of losing their daughter because they fit a certain statistical profile. “This book is downright scary,” says Naomi Klein, “but with its striking research and moving, indelible portraits of life in the ‘digital poorhouse,’ you will emerge smarter and more empowered to demand justice.”

    ☛ please register here

    Virginia EubanksVirginia Eubanks
    SUNY Albany
    Political Science

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Mar 6, 2019
    Ethics in the City
    Ethics in the City: Robert Vipond

    What Does It Take To Be “Truly One of Us”? Lessons from the History of a Toronto Public School

    In 2017, the Pew Research Organization released a study of citizen attitudes to immigration and integration across thirteen countries, Canada among them. This paper attempts to understand the Canadian take on what it means “to be truly one of us.” To understand the Pew findings, I suggest that it may be helpful to take a longer view of debates over citizenship in Canada. One such example is furnished by the history of a gateway public school in Toronto, the Clinton Street Public School. Using Clinton Street School as a microcosm, I try to make sense of the Pew study by linking it to broader arguments about ideas of citizenship, especially those I develop in Making a Global City: How One Toronto School Embraced Diversity (UTP, 2017).

    ☛ please register here

    Robert Vipond
    University of Toronto
    Political Science

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Tue, Mar 5, 2019
    Ethics & the Arts, Ethics & Film: Lights, Camera, Ethics!, Ethics of AI in Context, Ethics of AI Film Series
    Ethics & Film: Black Mirror (Ethics of AI Film Series)

    Black Mirror featuring Mark Kingwell (Philosophy)

    ☛ please register here

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Mon, Mar 4, 2019
    Perspectives on Ethics
    Perspectives on Ethics: Jennifer Morton

    The Ethical Costs of Upward Mobility

    In this talk, I argue that there are ethical costs upwardly mobile students must bear if they are to dramatically transform their life circumstances. These costs affect their relationships with family and friends, their sense of cultural identity, and their place in their community and they are ethical in so far as they concern those aspects of life that give it value and meaning. Using social science evidence, I show how these costs are the result of a complex tangle of economic, cultural, and structural factors that unjustly and disproportionately affect disadvantaged students and their communities. I suggest that we need to offer students a new ethical narrative of upward mobility that recognizes and acknowledges these ethical costs.

    ☛ please register here

    Jennifer MortonJennifer Morton
    City College of New York
    Philosophy

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Fri, Mar 1, 2019
    Conferences, Ethics of AI in Context
    Toward a Handbook of Ethics of AI: An Interdisciplinary Workshop

    What has been left behind in the global rush to put the science of AI to work is the ethics of AI. We need to work together, within the university and beyond, to lay the groundwork for closing the gap between AI science and ethics, locally, nationally, and globally. Tackling the complex challenge of the ethics of AI requires an all-hands-on-deck effort that draws on the combined brain power and analytic tools of a global community of experts and scholars from a wide range of disciplines and backgrounds.

    To help facilitate the much needed broadly-framed conversation about the ethics of AI, the Centre for Ethics launched Ethics of AI Lab, beginning with an interdisciplinary workshop series and a cross-divisional graduate course. Relatedly, the Oxford Handbook of Ethics of AI (forthcoming in early 2020) aims to lay the foundation for the emerging field of Ethics of AI as an inclusive and diverse enterprise. Edited by two Ethics of AI Lab members (Markus Dubber, Sunit Das) and a leading scholar in the field (Frank Pasquale, University of Maryland), the Handbook will be an interdisciplinary and international collection designed to capture and shape research and reflection on normative frameworks for the production, application, and use of artificial intelligence in all spheres of individual, commercial, social, and public life. The Handbook’s underlying conception of its subject matter will be reflected in its roster of contributors, which will include some fifty authors from several continents, ranging from current to future research leaders and representing a variety of methodological approaches, areas of expertise, and research agendas. Its content will be similarly wide and diverse in scope and substance, covering a range of perspectives, topics, and applications.

    The workshop on March 1-2, 2019, brought together selected Handbook contributors to present and discuss their work-in-progress:

    Friday, March 1
    9-10 Judith Donath, Berkman Center, Harvard University: “Ethics of AI in Context: Society & Culture” Video: Judith Donath, Artificial Entities | Audio (SoundCloud)
    10-11 Tom Slee, SAP: “Private Sector AI: Ethics and Incentives” Video: Tom Slee, Private Sector AI: Ethics and Incentives | Audio (SoundCloud)
    11-12 John Basl, Philosophy, Northeastern University: “The Rights of Artificial Intelligences” Video: John Basl, AI Rights | Audio (SoundCloud)
    12-1 Jason Millar, Engineering & Computer Science, University of Ottawa: “Perspectives on Ethics of AI: Engineering” Video: Jason Millar, Social Failure Modes in Technology – Implications for AI | Audio (SoundCloud)
    1-2 Break
    2-3 Anton Korinek, Economics, University of Virginia: “Perspectives on Ethics of AI: Economics” Video: Anton Korinek, Economic and Ethical Perspectives on the Rise of Artificial Intelligence | Audio (SoundCloud)
    3-4 Avery Slater, English, University of Toronto: “Automating Origination: Perspectives from the Humanities” Video: Avery Slater, Computation and Creativity | Audio (SoundCloud)
    4-5 Jason Jackson, Urban Studies & Planning, MIT: “Perspectives on Ethics of AI: Political Economy” Video: Jason Jackson, The Ethics of AI: A Political Economy Approach | Audio (SoundCloud)

    Saturday, March 2
    9-10 Kiel Brennan-Marquez, Law, University of Connecticut: “Public Law & Policy: Notice, Predictability, and Due Process” Video: Kiel Brennan-Marquez, Kiel Brennan-Marquez, “Fair Notice” in the Age of Big Data | Audio (SoundCloud)
    10-11 Ellen Goodman, Law, Rutgers University-Camden: “Smart City Ethics” Video: Ellen P. Goodman, Smart City Ethics | Audio (SoundCloud)

    The video symposium of the event is available here; all audio recordings are accessible here.

    The event was co-sponsored by the Office of the Vice-President, Research & Innovation, University of Toronto

    12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
    Vivian and David Campbell Conference Facility
    1 Devonshire Place

  • Wed, Feb 27, 2019
    Ethics at Noon
    Ethics@Noon: Thilo Schaefer

    Theorizing Densification: Balancing Self-Determination and Exclusion in the Housing Market

    Facing increasingly severe housing shortages, cities like San Francisco and Toronto are struggling to balance the need for more housing against the desires of current residents to maintain neighbourhood stability. Normative scholarship examining these conflicting considerations tends to focus on gentrification and the harms of residential displacement. This paper draws upon utopian theory to frame this challenge in terms of the tension between the utopias of the self-regulating free market and the self-determining community. A revised version of Nozick’s “framework for utopia” that takes into account the egalitarian critique is then developed. This revised framework establishes that communities should be able to exercise substantial self-determination over density regulations with compensation paid to offset the externalities resulting from any restrictions imposed. This approach could be extended to other issue areas where the exercise of community self-determination has harmful exclusionary consequences, such as immigration policy.

    ☛ please register here

    Thilo SchaeferThilo Schaefer
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Doctoral Fellow

    12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Feb 26, 2019
    Ethics of AI in Context
    Ethics of AI in Context: Chelsea Barabas

    Beyond Algorithmic Reform: Re-imagining the Role of Artificial Intelligence and Statistical Discourse in Criminal Law

    Data-driven decision-making regimes, in the form of predictive tools like crime hotspotting maps and risk assessment instruments, are rapidly proliferating across the criminal justice system as a means of addressing accusations of discriminatory and harmful practices by police and court officials. In recent times these data regimes have come under increased scrutiny, as critics point out the myriad ways that they can reproduce or even amplify pre-existing biases in the criminal justice system. These concerns have given rise to an influential community of researchers from both academia and industry who have formed a new regulatory science under the rubric of “fair, accountable, and transparent” algorithms, which seek to optimize accuracy and minimize bias in algorithmic decision making systems.

    In this talk, I argue that the ethical, political, and epistemological stakes of criminal justice applications of AI cannot be understood simply as a question of bias and accuracy. Nor can we measure the impact of these tools if key outcome measures are left unexamined. I outline a more fundamental, abolitionist approach for excavating the ways that predictive tools reflect and reinforce the punitive practices that drive disparate outcomes in the criminal justice system. Finally, I will illustrate a more transformational approach to re-imagining the way data might be used to challenge the penal ideology and de-naturalize carceral state practices.

    ☛ please register here

    Chelsea Barabas
    Chelsea BarabasMIT
    Media Lab

     

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Feb 13, 2019
    Ethics at Noon
    Ethics@Noon: Ashley Rubin

    Deviance, Deviants, and Dirtbags: Toward a Neo-Institutional Criminology of Rock Climbing

    Sociologists have long recognized that all social groups have their own sets of rules and norms and thus their own sets of deviants. Unfortunately, the sociology of deviance itself has become rather deviant in recent decades, relegated to criminology, where it is likewise a fairly marginal topic (when it is considered separately from criminal activity). In this project, I first describe the various reasons why deviance studies has become marginalized (especially in US sociology), focusing on the problem of a lack of theoretical vigor. Next, I outline a new approach to studying deviance, building on the neo-institutional tradition from organizational theory. I illustrate this approach using the case of rock climbing. After contextualizing rock climbing as a sport that began as a marginal, countercultural, and deviant endeavor that has since become mainstream, I trace the evolution of rock climbing ethics—focusing on the right way to climb and the right way to be a climber. I then apply neo-institutional theory to several specific episodes from the 1950s to today to understand how field-level dynamics help render certain activities deviant or normal. This neo-institutional framework distinguishes between rational considerations and cultural-cognitive considerations in ethical debates about the right way to climb and the right way to be a climber. It also explores the role of funders, regulators, experts, and particularly successful climbers in resolving these questions. Although rock climbing is a unique and rather colorful sport, many of the issues that come up will be familiar not only to other sports but also to other areas of leisure, work, and social life.

    ☛ please register here

    Ashley RubinAshley Rubin
    University of Toronto
    Sociology

    12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Mon, Feb 4, 2019
    Ethics & Film: Lights, Camera, Ethics!
    Ethics & Film: Sorry to Bother You

    Sorry to Bother You, Presenter Daniel Adleman (Innis College)

    Presenter:
    Daniel Adleman
    Writing and Rhetoric
    Innis College, University of Toronto

    ☛ please register here

    06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Wed, Jan 30, 2019
    Ethics at Noon
    Ethics@Noon: Brian Price

    Boredom, Objectivity and the Picture of Solidarity

    In this talk, I will propose that objectivity is only accessible in a state of boredom, and that boredom is an experience that is much rarer than we regularly suppose it to be. One consequence of this claim will be to add ballast, in temporal terms, to Richard Rorty’s well known contention that solidarity is a more reliable way of accessing agreement in the social, and for the sake of social change, than is any appeal we might make to objectivity. Yet, in my account, what follows or interrupts boredom are acts of picturing—attempts to feature for ourselves a different way of relating to what appears to us in the rare instant of boredom, and that divide us from each other just as much as unite us. At issue, then, will be the extent to which acts of picturing—described as a particular way of thinking and of regarding thought in relation to the failure of objectivity—produce an imaginative density across perceivers that might inhibit solidarity by virtue of the same procedures that compel it. At the heart of my discussion will be a little-seen film, Sleeping Dogs Lie (2006, d. Bobcat Golthwaite).

    ☛ please register here

    Brian PriceBrian Price
    University of Toronto
    Cinema Studies

    12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Jan 29, 2019
    Ethics of AI in Context
    Ethics of AI in Context: Kelly Hannah-Moffat

    Risk, Intersectional Inequalities and Racial Proxies: How Is Machine Learning and Big Data Shaping Legal and Criminal Justice Analysis of “Risk”? 

    CJS and social justice organizations and individuals are challenging and redefining conventional risk episteme(s) through the use of big data analytics, which are shifting organizational risk practices, challenging social science methods of assessing risk, and affecting knowledge about risk. I argue that big data reconfigures risk by producing a form of algorithmic risk, which is different from the actuarial risk techniques already in use in many justice sectors; that new experts are entering the risk gametechnologists who make data public and accessible to a range of stakeholders; and that big data analytics can be used to produce forms of usable knowledge but questions still persist on whether or not these technologies can learn how to limit bias and inequality.

    ☛ please register here  

    Kelly Hannah-MoffatKelly Hannah-Moffat
    University of Toronto
    Criminology & Sociolegal Studies

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Mon, Jan 28, 2019
    Perspectives on Ethics
    Perspectives on Ethics: Rachel Nolan

    The Ethics of International Adoption

    Illegal or gray adoptions are most frequently associated with armed conflicts and dirty wars in Argentina, Francoist Spain, and Nazi Germany. Cross-racial forcible adoption also has a painful history as part of settler colonial projects in Canada, the U.S., and Australia. This talk will consider a case that combines elements of both historical patterns: Guatemala during the twentieth century. International adoptions began during Guatemala’s civil war (1960-1996) and grew rapidly–overtaking other “sender” countries until 1 in 110 children born in Guatemala was relinquished at the height of the adoption boom. This talk will draw on oral histories, judicial records, and all of the state adoption files from the period to consider the adoptions of indigenous children during the most violent years of the war (1982-1986) without meaningful parental consent as part of a wider project to erase indigenous peoples. Forcible adoption is just now beginning to be understood, like sexual violence, as a tool of war and social control.

    ☛ please register here

    Rachel Nolan
    Columbia University
    Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race

    co-sponsored by:
    Centre for Diaspora & Transnational Studies

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Jan 23, 2019
    Ethics & the Arts, Ethics & Film: Lights, Camera, Ethics!, Ethics in the City
    Ethics & Film: The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces (Ethics in the City Film Series)

    watch preview here

    This highly influential film in architecture and planning circles by William H. Whyte analyzes the success and failures of urban spaces. Observing the natural order of spaces and the way people move through them, Whyte provides an intuitive critique of urban spaces and ways these spaces can be improved. (IMDB; Luke Keller)

    Join us for a screening plus discussion (and cookies)!

    ☛ please register here

    06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Wed, Jan 23, 2019
    Ethics at Noon
    Ethics@Noon: Étienne Brown

    Misinformation and Freedom of Expression

    With the rise of ‘fake news,’ European liberal democracies are currently in the midst of a debate about the value of laws that aim to regulate the spread of false information on the internet. One central objection directed against such laws is that they represent undue violations of our individual right to freedom of expression. In this presentation, I argue that they do not. More precisely, I contend that legal prohibitions against the intentional spread of false information can be justified on three main philosophical accounts of free speech: the epistemic account, the civic duties account, and the harm-based account. I then consider the objection according to which any legal prohibition against intentional misinformation will unjustly set back the interests of individuals who unintentionally misinform others.

    ☛ please register here

    Étienne BrownÉtienne Brown
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow

    12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Jan 16, 2019
    Ethics of AI in Context, Ethics in the City
    Ethics in the City: Tracey Lauriault

    From Aspiration to Reality: Open Smart Cities

    Open smart cities might become a reality for Canada.  Globally there are a number of initiatives, programs, and practices that are open smart city like which means that it is possible to have an open, responsive and engaged city that is both socio-technologically enabled, but also one where there is receptivity to and a willingness to grow a critically informed type of technological citizenship (Feenberg). For an open smart city to exist, public officials, the private sector, scholars, civil society and residents and citizens require a definition and a guide to start the exercise of imagining what an open smart city might look like. There is much critical scholarship about the smart city and there are many counter smart city narratives, but there are few depictions of what engagement, participatory design and technological leadership might be. The few examples that do exist are project based and few are systemic. An open smart city definition and guide was therefore created by a group of stakeholders in such a way that it can be used as the basis for the design of an open smart city from the ground up, or to help actors shape or steer the course of emerging or ongoing data and networked urbanist forms (Kitchin) of smart cities to lead them towards being open, engaged and receptive to technological citizenship.

    This talk will discuss some of the successes resulting from this Open Smart Cities work, which might also be called a form or engaged scholarship. For example the language for the call for tender of the Infrastructure Canada Smart City Challenge was modified to include as a requisite that engagement and openness be part of the submissions from communities. Also, those involved with the guide have been writing policy articles that critique either AI or the smart city while also offering examples of what is possible. These articles are being read by proponents of Sidewalk Labs in Toronto. Also, the global Open Data Conference held in Argentina in September of 2018 hosted a full workshop on Open Smart Cities and finally Open North is working toward developing key performance indicators to assess those shortlisted by Infrastructure Canada and to help those communities develop an Open Smart Cities submission. The objective of the talk is to demonstrate that it is actually possible to shift public policy on large infrastructure projects, at least, in the short term.

    ☛ please register here

    Tracey Lauriault
    Carleton University
    Communication Studies

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Wed, Jan 16, 2019
    Ethics at Noon
    Ethics@Noon: Patti Tamara Lenard

    The Ethics of Citizen Selection of Refugees for Resettlement

    One way that states discharge their duties to refugees is by admitting them for resettlement. Of the millions of refugees in places of refuge, only one million are specially designated by the UNHCR for resettlement in third countries. These individuals, identified by the UNCHR as either especially vulnerable, or particularly unlikely to find any alternative permanent solution, are prioritized for admission to third countries for resettlement. Of these, only a small number are actually selected by host countries for resettlement, however; last year, just over 100 000 found permanent homes in third countries. In this talk, I consider the ethics of one particular way of selecting refugees for resettlement, that is, by giving citizens the driver’s seat in selecting refugees for admission to resettlement. I ask whether it is morally acceptable to permit citizens to name specific refugees for resettlement, under the condition that they are willing to support – financially and emotionally – those whom they name. I argue, ultimately, that there are moral goods that derive from permitting citizens to select refugees for admission, but that they do not outweigh the importance of offering scarce resettlement spots to those who are most in need. Therefore, any refugee admission scheme that permits citizens to select refugees must constrain those who can be named for admission to those who are most in need. I conclude with some proposals for how this can be achieved.

    ☛ please register here

    Patti Tamara LenardPatti Tamara Lenard
    University of Ottawa
    Graduate School of Public and International Affairs

    12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Jan 15, 2019
    Ethics of AI in Context
    Ethics of AI in Context: Michael Kearns

    The Ethical Algorithm

    Many recent mainstream media articles and popular books have raised alarms over anti-social algorithmic behavior, especially regarding machine learning and artificial intelligence. The concerns include leaks of sensitive personal data by predictive models, algorithmic discrimination as a side-effect of machine learning, and inscrutable decisions made by complex models. While standard and legitimate responses to these phenomena include calls for stronger and better laws and regulations, researchers in machine learning, statistics and related areas are also working on designing better-behaved algorithms. An explosion of recent research in areas such as differential privacy, algorithmic fairness and algorithmic game theory is forging a new science of socially aware algorithm design. I will survey these developments and attempt to place them in a broader societal context. This talk is based on the forthcoming book “The Ethical Algorithm”, co-authored with Aaron Roth (Oxford University Press, 2019).

    ☛ please register here

    Michael KearnsMichael Kearns
    University of Pennsylvania
    Computer Science

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Mon, Jan 14, 2019
    Perspectives on Ethics
    Perspectives on Ethics: Bonnie Honig

    Bartleby or the Bacchae? A Feminist Theory of Refusal

    “Where’s your spine?” we often say to those who seem to lack moral ‘backbone.’ How do such vertical metaphors limit and drive our imagination of refusal? Drawing on Adriana Cavarero’s work, Inclination, this lecture develops a postural analysis of refusal in the Antigone, the Bacchae, Thoreau’s “Walking”, and Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of the Madonna. Cavarero promotes inclination (the leaning in posture of maternal care) as the preferred posture for her ethics and politics. This lecture pluralizes the feminist subject position of inclination to include sorority, as well, and argues that the refusals we find in maternal and sororal care express not only love but rage, and promise not only the holding of community but also the dismemberment of revolution/new beginning.

    ☛ please register here

    Bonnie HonigBonnie Honig
    Brown University
    Nancy Duke Lewis Professor of Modern Culture and Media and Political Science

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Sat, Jan 12, 2019

    Symposium on "Grace" by Jane Doe (Nightwood Theatre)

    Grace by Jane Doe – January 8-26, 2019 at Streetcar Crowsnest. A Nightwood Theatre production in association with Crow’s Theatre. Directed by Andrea Donaldson, starring Michaela Washburn, Rose Napoli, Brenda Robins and Conrad Coates.

    In conjunction with its production of Grace, Nightwood Theatre is proud to present a symposium on Saturday, January 12th from 4pm-6pm, 2019 onstage at Streetcar Crowsnest. Free to attend. The symposium will consist of two panels: one on the challenges and failures of the legal system, with guest speakers Judge Donna Hakett, prosecutor Jill Witkin, Megan Savard and Deepa Mattoo, and moderated by Christine McGoey; and another on the psychology of memory.

    Click here to RSVP for the free symposium.

    co-sponsored by, among others:

    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Streetcar Crowsnest
    345 Carlaw Avenue

  • Tue, Jan 8, 2019
    Ethics of AI in Context
    Ethics of AI in Context: Sunit Das et al.

    Artificial Intelligence, Medical Diagnostics and the Limits of Certainty

    It is estimated that physicians are unable to reach a diagnosis that accounts for their patient’s symptoms in nearly 90% of outpatient patient encounters. Many proponents of artificial intelligence (AI) look to the movement from data gathering to diagnosis as limited by the finite nature of human analytic capability, and consider AI as a mechanism by which to refine this process. This leads us to two divergent perceptions of uncertainty in decision-making. On one hand, some view uncertainty as a bug and argue that optimal decision-making is based on the minimization of uncertainty. On the other hand, uncertainty can be taken as a core feature of the decision-making process in an attempt to weigh various solutions against one another. Here, we make the argument, using the experiences of IBM Watson on Jeopardy! and Watson for Oncology as examples, that the latter is a more likely explanation. This conclusion has significant implications for how we are to understand the integration of artificial intelligence into medical practice.

    ☛ please register here

    Vinyas Harish, University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine
    Felipe Morgado, University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine
    Sunit Das, University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine, Division of Neurosurgery, St. Michael’s Hospital & Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Jan 8, 2019

    "Grace" by Jane Doe (Nightwood Theatre)

    Grace by Jane Doe – January 8-26, 2019 at Streetcar Crowsnest. A Nightwood Theatre production in association with Crow’s Theatre. Directed by Andrea Donaldson, starring Michaela Washburn, Rose Napoli, Brenda Robins and Conrad Coates.

    Exquisitely told in a stunning blend of documentary theatre, striking visual projections and choreography, Grace is a searing piece that ignites a pertinent discussion on the failures and limitations of the legal system. “There was no justice, there was just a legal outcome.” In the wake of a young woman’s disclosure of childhood sexual assault, a family presses charges. A true story about survival, hope, and the pursuit of justice at a time when provability still usurps truth in our courtrooms.

    ☛ tickets $25-$40 at crowstheatre.com.

    co-sponsored by, among others:

    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Streetcar Crowsnest
    345 Carlaw Avenue

  • Thu, Nov 29, 2018
    Perspectives on Ethics
    Perspectives on Ethics: Arlie Loughnan

    Self, Others and the State: Relations of Criminal Responsibility

    The paper aims to make the case for a fresh examination of the topic of criminal responsibility. An assessment of the criminal law literature reveals that criminal responsibility is regarded as significant in three main ways: (1) as the normative heart of the criminal law; (2) as serving the coordination and legitimation needs of the criminal law; and (3) as a platform for the development of the modern criminal law. These three accounts of the significance of criminal responsibility correspond to the work of a group of scholars, or, in the case of (2) and (3), single scholars – Nicola Lacey and Lindsay Farmer – who have developed sui generis analyses. This is not all there is to the significance of criminal responsibility, however. I suggest that criminal responsibility is significant because it encodes keys sets of relations – between self, others and the state – as relations of responsibility. My account of criminal responsibility as encoding relations of responsibility assists in identifying the significance of criminal responsibility outside the criminal law. As I discuss in this chapter, on my account, the significance of criminal responsibility arises from the dynamic inter-relation between criminal responsibility and social ideas about responsibility, according to which considerations of power, subjectivity and relationality make themselves felt in the criminal law in particular ways.

    ☛ please register here

    Arlie LoughnanArlie Loughnan
    University of Sydney
    Law

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Nov 28, 2018
    Ethics at Noon
    Ethics@Noon: John Enman-Beech

    Contract as an Ethical Frame for Employment, Tenancy, and Consumption

    What happens when we think employment, tenancy, and consumption (ETC) through the ethical frame of contract? This frame sees ETC as a collection of individual deals that assign obligations to the deals’ parties. The ETC system is justified if the individual deals are justified, and a deal is justified if it is the product of voluntary and informed agreement. But deals are rarely if ever fully voluntary and informed in ETC. This calls the contractual frame into question, but it continues to be used everywhere, from legal doctrine to economic analysis to political rhetoric to individuals’ conceptions of their relationships to their cell providers. My hypothesis: contract perversely conscripts people into choosing and re-choosing the existing social order, entrenching patterns of preferences and entitlements, and thereby (through people’s desire to feel in control of their choices) to identify with their roles.

    ☛ please register here

    John Enman-BeechJohn Enman-Beech
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Doctoral Fellow

    12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Nov 27, 2018
    Ethics of AI in Context
    Ethics of AI in Context: Regina Rini & Leah Cohen

    Deepfakes, Deep Harms

    Imagine that an online video appears, showing you doing or saying something you would never do. You know it is fake, but not everyone believes you. This scenario may soon be possible, thanks to the use of machine learning to fabricate convincing video and audio recordings, so-called ‘deepfakes’. We look ahead to the dangers of this technology, distinguishing the variety of ways it can harm or wrong people: material, reputational, and existential.

    ☛ please register here

    Regina Rini

    Regina Rini

    Regina Rini & Leah Cohen
    York University
    Philosophy

     

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Mon, Nov 19, 2018
    Perspectives on Ethics
    Perspectives on Ethics: Murad Idris

    Idealizations of Peace in Islamic Political Thought: The Case of Sayyid Qutb

    “Before us today is the problem of universal peace,” Sayyid Qutb declares in the prologue to his much-neglected Universal Peace and Islam (1951). “Does Islam have an opinion on the matter? Does Islam have a solution?” Albeit popularly considered the ideologue of “Islamic jihad,” the Muslim Brotherhood’s leading theorist designed a plan for universal peace. Qutb’s plan pegs the emergence of universal peace to an immanent organization of individual states with laws in common. Its promise of peace is embedded in an Enlightenment script that claims to correct unjust savagery through the state and the law. This is a script that calls up Immanuel Kant and Thomas Hobbes, specifically their predications of peace upon law and statehood. Drawing attention to Kant’s discussions of “the Arab” and Hobbes’s references to empire, this talk unpacks the unacknowledged salience of denials of law, political economy, and settler-colonialism for theorizations of peace. Qutb’s adaptations of that familiar logic unwittingly expose its limits, culminating with perpetual war against enemies whose laws and form are ‘wrong. This talk draws on a chapter of Idris’s book, War for Peace: Genealogies of a Violent Ideal in Western and Islamic Thought, published by Oxford University Press in Fall 2018. This book deconstructs dominant formulations of peace in the writings of Plato, al-Farabi, Aquinas, Erasmus, Grotius, Gentili, Hobbes, Ibn Khaldun, Immanuel Kant, and Sayyid Qutb.

    ☛ please register here

    Murad Idris Murad Idris
    University of Virginia
    Department of Politics

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Nov 14, 2018
    Ethics & the Arts, Ethics & Film: Lights, Camera, Ethics!, Ethics in the City
    Ethics & Film: Marshall McLuhan's The Burning Would (Ethics in the City Film Series)

    ☛ please register here

    06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Wed, Nov 14, 2018
    Ethics of AI in Context, Ethics in the City
    Ethics in the City: Ken Greenberg

    A Human-centred Use of Technology in Cities

    Advances in technology inevitably play a critical part in the evolution of cities. How they are absorbed, and what impacts they have are open questions. We have good examples and uncomfortable ones. The uncritical euphoria with which we embraced the internal combustion engine in the decades after World War II led to many unforeseen consequences as we reshaped the urban world around the needs of the car. As we recover from that excess, we now have a new and pressing set of challenges in the digital area. The questions for me often come down to how a ‘human-centred’ urbanism could be aided by technology, not be subverted by it. Can we assess potential solutions against human values and decide when to say no, not exactly, bend, inflect and choose.

    ☛ please register here

    Ken Greenberg
    Principal, Greenberg Consultants

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Wed, Nov 14, 2018
    Ethics at Noon
    Ethics@Noon: Nicola Lacetera

    Ethical Concerns and the Reach of Markets: Paying Kidney Donors

    Legislation and public policies are often the result of competition and compromise between different views and interests. In several cases, strongly held moral beliefs voiced by societal groups lead lawmakers to prohibit certain transactions or to prevent them from occurring through markets. However, there is limited evidence about the specific nature of the general population’s opposition to using prices in such contentious transactions. We conducted a choice experiment on a representative sample of Americans to examine preferences for payments to kidney donors. We found strong polarization, with many participants in favor or against payments regardless of potential supply gains. However, about 20% of respondents would switch to supporting payments for sufficiently large supply gains. Preferences for compensation have strong moral foundations. Participants especially oppose systems with payments by organ recipients, which they find in conflict with principles of fairness and dignity. We corroborate the interpretation of the findings with the analysis of a costly decision to donate money to a foundation that supports donor compensation.

    ☛ please register here

    Nicola LaceteraNicola Lacetera
    University of Toronto
    Department of Management UTM &
    Rotman School of Management

    12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Nov 13, 2018
    Ethics of AI in Context
    Ethics of AI in Context: Avery Slater

    Kill-Switch: The Ethics of the Halting Problem

    Two centuries of dystopian thought consistently imagined how technologies “out of control” can threaten humanity: with obsolescence at best, with violent systemic destruction at worst. Yet current advances in neural networked machine learning herald the advent of a new ethical question for this established history of critique. If a genuinely conscious form of artificial intelligence arises, it will be wired from its inception as guided by certain incentives, one of which might eventually be its own self-preservation. How can the tradition of philosophical ethics approach this emerging form of intelligence? How might we anticipate the ethical crisis that emerges when machines we cannot turn off cross the existential threshold, becoming beings we should not turn off?

    ☛ please register here

    Avery SlaterAvery Slater
    University of Toronto
    Department of English

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Oct 31, 2018

    The Precarious Pathways Project

    The Precarious Pathways Project

    A growing number of people live in Canada with precarious immigration status. These migrants experience barriers accessing many social services, including education. Despite living in Canada and paying taxes, often for many years, they are unable to apply to university as domestic students and pay domestic fees. They are also unable to apply without fear that their immigration status will be discovered and they may be detained or deported. The term ‘precarious immigration status’ encompasses a wide range of experiences, including those who have entered Canada as a visitor but overstayed their visa, those who are still undergoing the – often lengthy – refugee determination process, or those who have come on a work-related visa and have lost their job, among many others.

    Universities can easily reduce these barriers by admitting academically-qualified students with precarious immigration status and charging them domestic fees. It is important to note that it is legal for a university in Canada to admit students with precarious immigration status. Neither the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act nor the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations provide sanctions to punish institutions that do not enforce the requirement of a study permit. It is imperative that universities carefully consider privacy when admitting students with precarious immigration status, as the fear of their immigration status being released or reported is another major barrier to accessing education for this population.

    ☛ please register here

    Presenters:
    Dr. Stephanie J. Silverman
    Almeera Khalid
    Kate Motluk

    12:00 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Oct 30, 2018
    Ethics of AI in Context
    Ethics of AI in Context: John Vervaeke

    Why the Creation of A.I. Requires the Cultivation of Wisdom on Our Part

    Abstract:  Most considerations concerning the ethics of A.I. are concerned with the ethical issues posed by the potential threat of the machines or concerning their ambiguous moral status and the resulting unclarity of our ethical obligations towards them.  However, a cognitive scientific approach suggests an additional ethical issue. There is converging theory and empirical evidence that while necessary, intelligence in not sufficient for rationality. Rationality requires acquiring skills for overcoming the  biases and the self-deception that inevitably result from any cognitive agent using optimization strategies.  These heuristic strategies often reinforce each other because of the complex and recursively self-organization nature of cognitive processing.  As our A.I. moves increasingly into Artificial General Intelligence (A.G.I), these patterns of self-deception increasing become possible in our machines. This vulnerability is pertinent to us because we are often unaware of our biases or how we are building them implicitly into our simulations of intelligence.  Since self-deception and foolishness are an inevitable result of intelligence, as we magnify intelligence will may also magnify the capacity for self-deception.  Our lack of rational self-correcting  self-awareness could very well be built into our machines. The examination of a couple of historical examples will add plausibility to this argument.  Given this argument, i will further argue that we have an ethical obligation to seriously cultivate a cognitive style of self-correcting self-awareness, i.e., wisdom, in individuals and communities of individuals who are attempting to create A.G.I.

    ☛ please register here

    John VervaekeJohn Vervaeke
    University of Toronto
    Cognitive Science

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Fri, Oct 26, 2018
    Events on Campus, Ethics & the Arts, Ethics of AI in Context
    Reading Frankenstein: Then, Now, Next. A Celebration of the 200th Anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818-2018)

    Reading Frankenstein: Then, Now, Next. A Celebration of the 200th Anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818-2018) (October 26-31, 2018)

     

    Frankenstein

    Jackman Humanities Institute

    12:00 AM - 11:59 PM


  • Thu, Oct 25, 2018
    Perspectives on Ethics
    Perspectives on Ethics: Derrick Darby

    Du Bois’s Defense of Democracy

    I will reconstruct W. E. B. Du Bois’s argument for democracy in Darkwater and draw a lesson about how to address America’s democratic crisis.

    ☛ please register here

    Derrick Darby

    Derrick Darby
    University of Michigan
    Department of Philosophy

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Oct 24, 2018
    Events on Campus
    Peter Alilunas, Closed (to the Profane) Due to Pressure from the Morality Squad: The Cinema 2000, Porn Studies, and Cultural Consecration

    Peter Alilunas, Closed (to the Profane) Due to Pressure from the Morality Squad: The Cinema 2000, Porn Studies, and Cultural Consecration

    The growth of Porn Studies has been accompanied by an exciting surge in research related to adult film history, which has started to fill in long-neglected gaps in traditional film histories. With this growth, however, the field has also slowly begun constructing familiar boundaries and barriers, valuing and foregrounding some objects of study as worthy of scholarly interest while dismissing or ignoring others. To explore these tensions, this presentation explores a wide variety of historical moments, spaces, and places, and foregrounds the Cinema 2000, the legendary Yonge Street adult theater originally created by Max Allen. Drawing on Pierre Bourdieu’s formulations of “legitimate” cultural pleasures—and the ways in which they must be “closed to the profane”—this presentation will ultimately argue for an open and reflexive approach to studying adult film history.

    Peter Alilunas
    University of Oregon
    Cinema Studies 

    ☛ please register here

    co-sponsored by:

    Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies
    Cinema Studies Institute | Centre for the Study of the United States
    Canadian Studies Program | Centre for Ethics

    04:30 PM - 06:30 PM
    Faculty of Information
    140 St. George St.

  • Wed, Oct 24, 2018
    Ethics at Noon
    Ethics@Noon: Colin Grey

    Cosmopolitan Pariahs: Exploring the Moral Rationale for Withholding Protection from Criminal Refugees

    Article 1F of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees excludes from refugee protection persons guilty of serious international and domestic crimes. Excluded persons are not eligible for refugee status even if they face a well-founded fear of persecution. This paper asks whether a coherent rationale for such exclusion is available, focusing on the influential—and strikingly unexamined—suggestion by UNHCR that Article 1F serves to exclude persons who are “undeserving” of refugee protection. If refugees are persons threatened with violations of their basic human rights, as several philosophical and legal accounts hold, we must ask: What could possibly justify abandoning them to their fate? I will argue that exclusion of refugees for past criminality is best explained as the institutional expression of a form of blame that is appropriate if we accept that all human beings on the Earth exist in a juridical relationship of cosmopolitan right, a Kantian construct that is plausibly seen as the animating idea behind the international refugee regime. The construal of the exclusion clauses as an institutional expression of blame, however, is ultimately inconsistent with a strong human rights reading of the international refugee regime. Instead, the exclusion clauses suggest refugee law represents an institutionalized form of humanitarianism. In other words, the ultimate claim of this paper is that we must choose between exclusion and a strong human rights reading of refugee law. We cannot have both.

    ☛ please register here

    Colin GreyColin Grey
    Université du Québec à Montréal
    Faculty of Political Science and Law

    12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Oct 23, 2018
    Ethics & the Arts, Ethics & Film: Lights, Camera, Ethics!, Ethics of AI in Context, Ethics of AI Film Series
    Ethics & Film: WALL-E (Ethics of AI Film Series)

    Poster: Wall-E Film poster with the words 'feat. Mark Kingwell (Philosophy)'

    ☛ please register here

    06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Mon, Oct 22, 2018
    Author Meets Critics
    Author Meets Critics: Hilary Evans Cameron

    Refugee Law’s Fact-finding Crisis: Truth, Risk, and the Wrong Mistake (Cambridge 2018)

    ☛ please register here

    Hilary Evans Cameron
    Postdoctoral Affiliate, Centre for Ethics
    University of Toronto

    Commentators:
    Amar Bhatia
    (Law, York University)
    Catherine Bruce 
    (Refugee Law Office, Toronto)
    Graham Hudson (Criminology, Ryerson)

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Wed, Oct 17, 2018
    Events on Campus
    The Sexual Representation Collection Presents: Susanna Paasonen and Jenny Sundèn

    Susanna Paasonen: NSFW, or, Sex as Risk

    The Internet slang term and social media tag NSFW—“Not Safe/Suitable for Work”— is widely used in Anglophone contexts (and beyond) to organize and regulate sexual content and pornographic imagery, often in connection with humor. Zooming in on the tag that functions as both a warning and a lure, this talk examines the logics of content classification and filtering connected to it. More specifically, it asks how the boundaries of risk and danger become drawn in connection with sexuality on online platforms, and on Facebook in particular, as well as what other avenues remain available for considering the distribution of risk and harm online. Refusing the default association of sex and risk, upon which the marker NSFW more or less playfully operates, I argue for shifting focus onto considerations of consent in the circulation of sexual content, as well as for highlighting the value of sexuality in and for people’s lives as these intersect with social media.

    Susanna Paasonen 
    University of Turku, Finland
    Media Studies 


    Jenny Sundén: Play, Secrecy, and Sensitive Data: On Networked Intimacy and Public Sex

    Based on a new materialist analysis of ‘vibrant matter’ (Bennett 2010) to understand the disobedience of sexual objects in toy-based play, in this presentation I investigate the politics of thinking digital technologies as operating partly beyond human forms of agency and control. I use as my core examples privacy breaches and data leaks in the world of networked sex toys – such as a vibrator which allegedly audio recorded its clients’ play sessions without express permission – to engage with questions of intimacy and privacy in digital networks of humans and nonhumans. In particular, the discussion focuses on the consequences of new forms of publicness for how we can understand sexual intimacy and sexual play. What does it mean to be have an intimate moment when connected to a device, a medium, and a network that is by definition public, corporate, and promiscuous (cf. Chun 2016)? And how could we imagine other ways of being intimate and exposed – yet safe – in public digital networks?

    Jenny Sundén
    Södertörn University, Sweden
    Gender Studies

    ☛ please register here

    hosted by:
    Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies

    co-sponsored by:
    Centre for Ethics

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Faculty of Information
    140 St. George St.

  • Tue, Oct 16, 2018
    Ethics of AI in Context
    Ethics of AI in Context: Mark Fox

    Accountable AI Systems 

    The most recent advances of AI technology, namely neural networks, and their application to sophisticated pattern recognition tasks, such as image classification in automated vehicles, has led to a plethora of concerns regarding accountability, often couched in terms of the capability of these algorithms to explain their decisions. This presentation will address a different type of accountability: system accountability. We will look at the architecture of intelligent systems that are made of large numbers of intelligent agents and explore the issues and possible solutions to accountability when decisions and actions are the result of large numbers of individual decisions made by interacting intelligent agents.

    ☛ please register here

    Mark S. FoxMark S. Fox
    University of Toronto
    Distinguished Professor of Urban Systems Engineering

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Oct 16, 2018
    Public Lectures
    Ruth Gavison, Israel and the Legacy of World War II

    The lecture will address the question whether it was WWII that in fact enabled the foundation of Israel, and the question whether it is justified that the world make the Palestinians pay for the horrors of the Holocaust. While the Holocaust ‘helped,’ the Jewish national infrastructure built in Palestine from the 1880s was a critical necessary condition for Israel’s foundation in 1948.

    Ruth Gavison
    Hebrew University
    Faculty of Law

    presented by:
    Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies

    co-sponsored by:
    Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures | Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies | Centre for Ethics  | Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies (Munk School of Global Affairs)  | Department of History  | Joint Initiative in German and European Studies and the German Academic Exchange Service | Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations | Konstanty Reynert Chair of Polish History | Al and Malka Green Program in Yiddish Studies

    01:00 PM - 02:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Mon, Oct 15, 2018
    Perspectives on Ethics
    Perspectives on Ethics: Nils Holtug

    Does Nationhood Promote Egalitarian Justice? Challenging the National Identity Argument

    According to the national identity argument, a shared national identity is important for two aspects of social cohesion that, in particular, are required for egalitarian, distributive justice, namely trust and solidarity. I critically discuss the national identity argument as it pertains to social justice. I first provide a more detailed account of the argument. Then I consider, in greater detail, different conceptions of the nation on which the national identity argument may rely. Furthermore, I assess two theoretical arguments for why we should expect national identities to promote social cohesion and so distributive justice. According to the first, a shared identity tends to produce the emotional disposition towards compatriots required for trust and solidarity. According to the second, sharing an identity with someone tends to make their behaviour more predictable which makes it easier to trust them. However, neither of these two accounts of the causal mechanism leading from a national identity to trust and solidarity establishes the need for a national identity, or so I argue. For the purpose of assessing the empirical studies that test the national identity argument, I then decompose the argument in terms of the different elements that may be thought to causally impact social cohesion. On this basis, I survey the empirical evidence for and against the national identity argument. One worry pertaining to these studies is that, very often, they do not appropriately distinguish between different conceptions of the nation, or at least do not do so along the lines that political theorists have thought important. Therefore, I go into greater depth with a recent Danish study I have conducted with two colleagues – a study that aims more specifically to test the impact on trust and solidarity of conservative and liberal nationalist identities. I conclude that, just as the theoretical explanations to which nationalists appeal do not sufficiently support the national identity argument, nor does the empirical evidence that has been gathered so far.

    ☛ please register here

    Nils HoltugNils Holtug
    University of Copenhagen
    Director, Centre for Advanced Migration Studies
    Professor of Political Philosophy
    Philosophy Section
    Department of Media, Cognition and Communication

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Fri, Oct 12, 2018
    C4E Flash Event, Ethics of AI in Context
    Crime Prediction Support System (CPSS): A State-of-the-Art Artificial Intelligence Based Expert System for Crime Prediction (with E.G. Rajan) (Kelly Hannah-Moffat, commentator)

    Crime Prediction Support System (CPSS): A State-of-the-Art Artificial Intelligence Based Expert System for Crime Prediction (w/ E.G. Rajan) (Kelly Hannah-Moffat, commentator)

    We are in the process of developing a Reliable, Robust and Fast Crime Prediction Support System (CPSS) using novel machine learning techniques that work on genuine crime data bases without causing any damage to the dignity of any ethnic society.

    Objective
    1. To develop a state-of-the-art Crime Analytics and Prediction Support System that involves a plethora of software components and IoT
    2. To customize the product for the benefit of individuals, security agencies, real estate businessmen, media, various research and service organizations

    Sub Objects
    1. To help organize global old and current raw crime data for format standardization (to start with US and Indian crime data)
    2. To train individuals and groups (intelligence agencies) in crime prediction and predictive policing
    3. To develop various modules and integrate CPSS with RedZone Map (a pioneering product developed by Zone Technologies Inc)
    4. To help maintain and upgrade CPSS periodically

    ☛ please register here

    Dr. E.G. RajanPresenter:
    Prof. Dr. E.G. Rajan

    President & Chairman
    Pentagram Group of Companies

    http://www.pentagramresearch.com

     

    Kelly Hannah-MoffatCommentator:
    Kelly Hannah-Moffat
    University of Toronto

    Professor of Sociology
    Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity
     

    12:00 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Wed, Oct 10, 2018
    Ethics of AI in Context, Ethics in the City
    Ethics in the City: Mark Kingwell

    Human Cities, Posthuman Cities

    Traditional urban philosophy has focussed on the relationship between humans and their built environments. Thus the emphasis on spaces, forms and circulatory systems as conditioned by the physical features of people. A standard injunction of such philosophy would then be to make cities ‘more human’. But what if the standard human body is no longer the baseline for consciousness within cities? In such a case, cities would have to be reconceived at a basic level.

    ☛ please register here

    Mark Kingwell
    University of Toronto
    Philosophy

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Wed, Oct 3, 2018
    Ethics & the Arts, Ethics & Film: Lights, Camera, Ethics!, Ethics in the City
    Ethics & Film: Urbanized (Ethics in the City Film Series)

    ☛ please register here

    06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Wed, Oct 3, 2018
    Ethics at Noon
    Ethics@Noon: Kimmo Nuotio

    ☛ please register here

    What’s Wrong and What’s Right with Deterrence Theories in Criminal Law

    Criminal law has many aims, one of them being that it seeks to influence human conduct. Criminal law has in-built theories about human action. Often some sort of rational action theory serves as a model. According to classical law and economics, human beings can be deterred by keeping the costs of offending high enough. The model of rational economic action has famously been challenged by findings of the so-called behavioral economics and law. Human beings simply fail to act rationally when studied empirically. Behavioral law and economics has created its own way, even its own language, to study law and regulation. We all know about ‘endowment’, ‘bounded rationality’, ‘nudging’, and ‘choice architecture’.

    The theory of positive general prevention, well known to Continental criminal law scholars, works on somewhat different premises than classical law and economics. According to that theory, human beings are able to internalize the moral and ethical values that the criminal law tells about which in turn gives individuals additional reasons not to offend. This theory could even be linked with the theory of a democratic Rechtsstaat, since the citizens quite obviously have reasons to respect legitimate norms. Even legal doctrines which provide for legal security and predictability could contribute to the legitimacy of criminal law.

    We should also mention regulatory theory, which has equally departed from classical law and economics. According to regulatory theory, at least if we read Christopher Hodges, no-blame cultures are most efficient as means to improve the quality of human action, be it in terms of security in civil aviation, or reducing malpractice by medical professionals. Often the solution seems to be to choose another regulatory option than criminal law. For serious violations of interests of others we may still need criminal law. From a regulatory point of view criminal law would still always also interact with ethics and social norms since criminalisations trigger effects on the side of the legal subjects, and on the side of the society at large. Hodges claims that behavioral law and economics is not enough to found socio-legal structures on the reality of how people make decisions. He tries to build an integrated theory, integrating theories of regulation, enforcement, compliance and ethics.

    I wish to look at more closely whether behavioral law and economics as well as the theory of regulation call for a reassessment of how we should think about criminal law as a way of regulating behavior. Is behavioral economics still too narrow, too utilitarian, to be relevant for criminal law theory? Isn’t it too reductionist in its style? How would regulatory theory see this? Should we only adopt the psychology part of it?

    It seems that the various approaches to and understandings about seeking to influence human behavior have very different criminal policy implications. As concerns environmental criminal law or economic criminal law, to take two examples, the Chicago-style law and economics leads to stressing the severity of (criminal) sanctions, whereas positive general prevention would leave more room for additional ethical reasons for actors in a company frame to work for minimizing the risk of crime. We do not need severe punishments to communicate blame. Much of EU criminal law seems to build on negative general deterrence.

    It looks as if it makes sense to stress that criminal law possesses certain specific qualities which go beyond simple instrumental and utilitarian concerns. The theory of positive general prevention might work even if we cannot expect people to act rationally. As criminal law uses blameworthiness to communicate values, this goes well together with the idea that the individuals should be approached as responsible citizens who have the ability to learn to do better. We need to go beyond a utilitarian theory of regulating behavior. This could even be a paradox: we have to introduce non-instrumental views about how criminal law is anchored in the society in order to truly understand how criminal law operates and becomes functional. There is different politics of criminal law involved, and a different view of the society.

    Nicola Lacey has put it aptly:

    ‘… as democratization proceeds, with the normative implication that the regulatory subject should be treated not only as a rational chooser but also in some stronger sense as an agent – as someone who not only makes choices but has some deeper form of responsibility for those choices, as a queen and not as a pawn – a non-instrumental attachment to the responsibility condition emerges.’ ‘Criminalization as Regulation’, in, Regulating Law (Eds. Parker et al), Oxford 2004, 158-159.

    Kimmo Nuotio

    Kimmo Nuotio
    University of Helsinki
    Faculty of Law

    12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Oct 2, 2018
    Ethics of AI in Context
    Ethics of AI in Context: Moshe Vardi

    The Ethical Crisis in Computing?

    Computer scientists think often of “Ender’s Game” these days. In this award-winning 1985 science-fiction novel by Orson Scott Card, Ender is being trained at Battle School, an institution designed to make young children into military commanders against an unspecified enemy. Ender’s team engages in a series of computer-simulated battles,
    eventually destroying the enemy’s planet, only to learn then that
    the battles were very real and a real planet has been destroyed.

    Many of us got involved in computing because programming was fun.
    The benefits of computing seemed intuitive to us. We truly believe
    that computing yields tremendous societal benefits; for example, the
    life-saving potential of driverless cars is enormous! Like Ender,
    however, we realized recently that computing is not a game–it is
    real–and it brings with it not only societal benefits, but also
    significant societal costs, such as labor polarization, disinformation,
    and smart-phone addiction.

    The common reaction to this crisis is to label it as an “ethical crisis”
    and the proposed response is to add courses in ethics to the academic
    computing curriculum. I will argue that the ethical lens is too narrow.
    The real issue is how to deal with technology’s impact on society.
    Technology is driving the future, but who is doing the steering?

    ☛ please register here

    Moshe VardiMoshe Vardi
    Rice University
    Karen Ostrum George Distinguished Service Professor in Computational Engineering
    Director, Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Mon, Oct 1, 2018
    Perspectives on Ethics
    Perspectives on Ethics: Simone Chambers

    Democracy and Constitutional Reform: Deliberative Versus Populist Constitutionalism

    Whereas, populism has sometimes been thought to be a movement that attempts to bypass, discredit, or suspend constitutions, contemporary populism has often progressed and gained ground through embracing and claiming ownership over national constitutions and the “people.” The cases that I look at are Hungary, Poland, Turkey and Venezuela but the threat is quite broad.
    Populist constitutionalism poses a problem for scholars and citizens alike who believe that constitutional politics should also be democratic politics. How do we tell the difference between democratically driven constitutionalism and populist constitutionalism? How can citizens participate in constitution-making without hijacking constitutionalism for majoritarian, nationalist, and authoritarian ends?
    One of the challenges in identifying normative objections to populist constitutionalism is how to hold on to essential ideas of popular sovereignty and citizen participation without surrendering constitution-making and constitutional limits to the anti-pluralist forces of populism. Deliberative constitutionalism, because it invests popular sovereignty in processes of collective egalitarian discourse rather than in outcomes of majoritarian procedures or an identifiable general will is in a good position to offer a critical yard stick for questioning the democratic credentials (not just liberal) of populist constitutionalism.
    In this paper I lay out the main features of populist constitutionalism and then contrast it with three alternatives: liberal constitutionalism, popular constitutionalism, and deliberative constitutionalism. I argue that only deliberative constitutionalism offers a model of constitutional reform that includes citizens but offers practical advice for excluding or mitigating populist forces. The use of referendums in Scotland and Ireland are used as illustrations of deliberate appeals to citizens in constitutional questions.

    ☛ please register here

    Simone ChambersSimone Chambers
    UC Irvine
    Political Science

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Fri, Sep 28, 2018
    C4E Flash Event, Ethics of AI in Context
    Flash Event: Bots at the Gate: A Human Rights Analysis of Automated Decision Making in Canada’s Immigration and Refugee System (w/ Petra Molnar)

    Bots at the Gate: A Human Rights Analysis of Automated Decision Making in Canada’s Immigration and Refugee System

    Canada is experimenting with the use of automated decision-making, or AI, in its immigration system. A brand new report by the International Human Rights Program and the Citizen Lab looks at how algorithms and automated decision making will augment or replace human decision makers in Canada’s immigration and refugee system and highlights how the use of these technologies threatens to create a laboratory for high-risk experiments within an already highly discretionary system. Vulnerable and under-resourced communities such as non-citizens often have access to less robust human rights protections and fewer resources with which to defend those rights. Adopting these technologies in an irresponsible manner may only serve to exacerbate these disparities.

    ☛ please register here

    Petra Molnar
    University of Toronto Faculty of Law
    International Human Rights Program

    02:30 PM - 04:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Tue, Sep 25, 2018
    Ethics & the Arts, Ethics & Film: Lights, Camera, Ethics!, Ethics of AI in Context, Ethics of AI Film Series
    Ethics & Film: Ex Machina (Ethics of AI Film Series)

    ☛ please register here

    06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Mon, Sep 24, 2018
    Perspectives on Ethics
    Perspectives on Ethics: Kali Gross

    The Butcher of Richard Street: Hannah Mary Tabbs, Black Womanhood, Violence, and Sovereignty

    Hannah Mary Tabbs, an African American southern migrant, was accused of throwing the severed torso of her paramour off of a bridge in Eddington, Pennsylvania, in 1887. Through the trial and investigation Tabbs emerged at once as a figure steeped in the horror and tragedy of American slavery and its violent aftermath and as a brutal neighborhood terror in her own right. Whereas most studies of black women in this era focus on their victimization, this research explores an instance of black female violence that did not appear to be explicitly motivated by self-defense or even financial gain but rather by the sheer thrill of the exercise of power and domination, and, ultimately, pleasure. Further, this presentation ponders whether a black woman’s decision to mobilize violence on her own behalf may uniquely sketch and challenge the interstices of race, gender, sexuality, and state power.

    ☛ please register here

    Kali GrossKali Gross
    Rutgers University
    Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor of History

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Sep 19, 2018
    Ethics at Noon
    Ethics@Noon: Rachel Cristy

    Justice in Nietzsche’s Virtue Epistemology

    This paper examines Nietzsche’s peculiar use of the word “justice” [Gerechtigkeit] and related terms, especially in the second of the Untimely Meditations, “On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life,” but also continuing into his later works, notably On the Genealogy of Morality. Nietzsche’s usage is peculiar in two major respects. First, he speaks of justice primarily as an epistemic virtue or attitude rather than a moral or practical one: justice is a matter of attributing to everything (events, institutions, agents) the appropriate level of importance and value; Nietzsche claims that all actions, even (morally) just ones, require a stance of epistemic injustice. Second, “justice” in Nietzsche’s writing often has an affective cast: it is not merely a reliable disposition but a “will,” a “drive,” with a distinctive associated state of mind; it is not indifference or impassivity, the lack of interest or preference, but rather, as Nietzsche puts it in the Genealogy, “justice is always a positive affect.” I interpret these data by reading Nietzsche, following Alfano (2013), as a virtue epistemologist of the “inquiry responsibilist” type, who is interested not in offering definitions of knowledge of justification but in the mindset and attitudes appropriate to knowledge-seeking and the place of inquiry in a good human life. Finally, I offer some connections between Nietzsche’s unusual understanding of “justice” and some of his larger concerns, including his perspectivist epistemology and his critique of (post-)Christian morality.

    ☛ please register here

    Rachel CristyRachel Cristy
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Postdoctoral Fellow in Ethics

    12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Sep 18, 2018
    Perspectives on Ethics
    Perspectives on Ethics: Lea Ypi

    Eleven Theses on Migration in the Capitalist State

    For much of the past century, the expansion of the political franchise and the related exercise of political rights meant that citizenship had the potential of being a vehicle of political emancipation. Democratic citizenship was essential to opposing capitalism with radical social reforms; it was one of the cornerstones of egalitarian policy for social democrats around the world. Contemporary trends in the admission of immigrants illustrate that citizenship has become once more increasingly selective, a good to be bought, sold or denied at the will of political elites, accessible once again along class lines. In light of these trends, I argue that citizenship has turned from a vehicle of political emancipation to one of social oppression.  I focus on contemporary practices of migrant integration and try to show how they are instrumental to consolidating the oligarchical character of the capitalist state and to entrenching its class divisions.

    ☛ please register here

    Lea YpiLea Yp
    London School of Economics
    Professor in Political Theory
    Department of Government

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Mon, Sep 17, 2018
    Perspectives on Ethics
    Perspectives on Ethics: Klaus Günther

    Freedom in a Universe of Echoes?

    When we are going online, we cannot avoid that our data are collected. Private and (some) governmental organizations use these data to produce a personal profile of you and me, some for observation and surveillance, others for mirroring and continuously confirming my individual preferences, choices, my activities, thoughts, emotions by offering corresponding products. Something similar happens in social networks. Many users are looking for other people who confirm what they are thinking, saying and doing. Others participate in groups which are constituted by a shared world view or at least a shared view on some issues, whose members encourage each other to maintain their view. Of course it always happens that these people are confronted with information or with views which are different, which do not coincide with what they are thinking. But in a universe of echoes, dissent and dissonance, criticism and contestation are only one more opportunity to confirm or slightly modify one´s own view, but not to change it or to give it up. Conspiracy theories are the most prominent examples of such a method. In my presentation, I shall ask for the consequences to our freedom. When we make a choice in a universe of echoes – is this still a free choice? Or does freedom require the experience of dissent, contestation, and even of failure and learning? If the answer to the last question were yes, then freedom would be lost in a universe of echoes.

    ☛ please register here

    Klaus Günther

    Klaus Günther
    Goethe-Universitãt Frankfurt a.M.
    Faculty of Law & Excellence Cluster “Normative Orders”

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Thu, Sep 13, 2018
    Public Lectures
    Atsushi Moriya: "Harmony Between Morality and Business: The Philosophy of Shibusawa Eiichi"

    Atsushi MoriyaHarmony Between Morality and Business: The Philosophy of Shibusawa Eiichi

    A lecture by:
    Atsushi Moriya
    Scholar in Residence
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto

    Shibusawa Eiichi (1840-1931) is regarded as the father of Japanese capitalism. He founded nearly 500 enterprises and economic organizations, most of which operate to this day. Equally dedicated to social and public welfare, he launched 600 philanthropic programs in many areas, including social welfare, education, and international exchange. His basic philosophy in the management of businesses was the harmony between morality and business.
    In recent years his thought has drawn increasing international attention for its ethical vision of capitalism as an alternative to the untrammeled profit-seeking and capital accumulation characteristic of contemporary market economies. His most famous work, The Analects and the Abacus, has been translated into Chinese nine times.
    This lecture will offer an overview of Shibusawa Eiichi’s thought, its roots in Confucian ethics, and its implications for 21st-century economic systems.

    Atsushi Moriya is a writer and a researcher. He is an expert in ancient
    Chinese thought and the thought of Shibusawa Eiichi, and has translated Shibusawa Eiichi’s books into modern Japanese. His translation of Shibusawa’s The Analects and the Abacus has sold over 130,000 copies.

    To register, please click here.

    Co-sponsored by

    Japan Foundation
    Shibusawa Eiichi Memorial Foundation
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto

    06:30 PM - 08:00 PM
    Japan Foundation
    2 Bloor Street East, Suite 300

  • Fri, May 11, 2018
    Conferences
    Globalization and Its Critics in the 21st Century

    The 6th Annual
    University of Toronto
    Centre for Ethics

    Graduate Student Conference
    May 11-12, 2018

    Globalization and Its Critics in the 21st Century will take the opportunity to consider the ethical implications of the resurgence of anti-globalization movements, in an interdisciplinary setting. We will look at the categories and concepts that different disciplines have used to understand, defend, or critique globalization and its critics, and ask whether they remain adequate frameworks for thinking about contemporary developments.

    Further information, including a conference schedule, is available here.

    Keynote Speaker:
    Bernard Yack
    Lerman Neubauer Professor of Democracy and Public Policy
    Brandeis University

    12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Thu, May 10, 2018
    Book Symposium
    Book Symposium: Abraham Rotstein, Myth, Mind and Religion

    Myth, Mind and Religion: The Apocalyptic Narrative (Peter Lang 2017)

    Abraham Rotstein (1929-2015) (Economics & Political Science, University of Toronto)

    Commentators:
    Ruth Marshall (Religion and Political Science, University of Toronto)
    Stephen Scharper (Anthropology, Religion, and School of Environment, University of Toronto)
    Igor Shoikhedbrod (Political Science, University of Toronto)

    Moderator: Kyumin Ju (Political Science, University of Toronto). 

    The French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss scoured the Amazon forest for the myths of its primitive peoples. He found that a certain logic governed the construction of these myths—his mythologique; he regarded this logic as innate in the human mind and thus universal. Despite this claim of universality, Lévi-Strauss deliberately sidestepped the myths of the biblical religions as well as the myths of modern societies. This proved to be a missed opportunity since these myths lend themselves very well to his mode of analysis.

    The apocalyptic narrative is the ongoing myth of Western society. It makes its first appearance in the Bible in the story of the Exodus and in the Passion of Christ. Its characteristic feature is its opening scenario of one or another form of unendurable oppression— whether the Pharaoh in Egypt for the Jews or the bondage of the body for Christians. “Lord and servant” is the binary pair that prevails and through a process of inversion leads to the Kingdom of Heaven (celestial or terrestrial). The work of Augustine and Luther follow suit as surprisingly enough, do the Lutheran Hegel and the Hegelian Marx. In every case, the initial oppression is inverted and a sublime destination ensues.

    A demonic version of the same apocalyptic narrative appears in the 1930s. The Nazis point to their own tale of ‘oppression’ of the German people and in the same fashion proclaim the Dritte Tausendjährige Reich. It is a terrible irony but perhaps Lévi-Strauss’s mythologique may help us to see through the ‘glass’ a little less darkly.

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Fri, May 4, 2018
    Events on Campus, Critical Ethics
    Rainer Forst, A Critical Theory of Transnational (In-)Justice: Realistic in the Right Way

    Rainer Forst
    Professor of Political Theory & Philosophy
    Goethe-Universität Frankfurt a.M.

    hosted by:

    University of Toronto Faculty of Law

    co-sponsored by:

    University of Toronto Centre for Ethics

    12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
    Solarium, Faculty of Law
    84 Queen's Park, Falconer Hall

  • Thu, May 3, 2018
    Critical Ethics
    C4E Master Class with Rainer Forst

    Noumenal Alienation: Rousseau, Kant and Marx on the Dialectics of Self-Determination

    Alienation (as Entfremdung) should be understood as a particular form of individual and social heteronomy that can only be overcome by a dialectical combination of individual and collective autonomy, recovering a deontological sense of normative authority. If we think about alienation in Kantian terms, the main source of alienation is a denial of standing or, in the extreme, losing a sense of oneself as a rational normative authority equal to all others. I call the former kind of alienation, where persons deny others equal standing as a normative authority in moral or political terms, first order noumenal alienation, as there is no proper mutual cognition and recognition of each other in such a social context. I call the latter kind of alienation, where a subject does not consider themselves an equal normative authority or an end in oneself’ – second order noumenal alienation (again, in a moral and a political form). In this sense, alienation violates the dignity of humans as moral and political lawgivers a dignity seen by Rousseau, Kant and Marx as inalienable: It can be denied or violated, but it cannot be lost. [full-text link]

    This interactive event is intended for graduate and professional students and postdocs. Participants should be prepared to discuss the above article by Professor Forst. To register, please click below (by May 1): 

    Rainer Forst
    Professor of Political Theory & Philosophy
    Goethe-Universität Frankfurt a.M.

    hosted by:

    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto

    co-sponsored by:

    University of Toronto, Faculty of Law

    12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
    Room 200, Larkin Building
    15 Devonshire Place

  • Fri, Apr 13, 2018
    Events on Campus
    Stefan Gosepath, Is Inheritance Justified?

    This essay is concerned with the question of whether it is just that people inherit property. What should happen to private property after the death of the person owning it? Should the owner, while alive, be entitled to transfer their property holdings for the time after their death, to a person of their choosing? Is such a right to pass one’s property on posthumously a part of the right to private property?

    The intuition I want to begin to explore states that the common social practice of inheritance (embodied in law and institutions) is in fact pro tanto unjust, since it confers an unjust advantage on the beneficiary. The first step, as undertaken in this essay, will be to ask, very abstractly for now, whether bestowing or receiving an inheritance or a bequest is just. This part of the inquiry, then, is situated within the realm of abstract and ideal political philosophy or theory.

    Stefan Gosepath
    Professor of Practical Philosophy at the Free University Berlin (Germany)
    Co-Director, Centre for Advanced Studies “Justitia Amplificata: Rethinking Justice: Applied and Global”

    Commentator:
    Waheed Hussain
    Assistant Professor of Philosophy, University of Toronto

    hosted by
    University of Toronto Department of Political Science

    co-sponsored by
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto

    02:30 PM - 04:30 PM
    Room 3130, Sidney Smith Building
    100 St. George St.

  • Thu, Apr 12, 2018
    Conferences
    CRÉ/C4E 2018!

    This year’s installment of the annual CRÉ/C4E Montréal/Toronto joint workshop will take place at C4E, in Toronto. (If you’re interested in attending, please register below.)

    Here’s the schedule (and here are the abstracts):

    CRÉ/C4E 2018
    4.12/13.18

    April 12
    I 1-2:20
    Christine Tappolet & Mauro Rossi, “Happiness as an Affective Evaluation”
    Willem van der Deijl, “Is Pleasure All that Is Good About Experience?”

    II 2:30-3:50
    Aaron Ansell, “Dirty Compromise: The Ethics of Making Concessions to Injustice”
    Simon Lambek, “Receiving Rhetoric and the Hermeneutics of the Self”

    III 4:00-5:20
    Charles Dupras, ” Epigenetic Discrimination: Should We Rely on Recent Policies Against Genetic Discrimination for Oversight?”
    Hazar Haidar, “Expanding the scope of Non Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) Uses: Ethical Considerations for Policy Decision-Making”

    April 13
    IV 9:30-10:50
    Stephanie Silverman, “A Difficult, Multilayered Conversation: The Promises and Perils of Incremental Abolitionism in Immigration Detention”
    Hilary Evans Cameron, “Logics of Legal Reasoning: Truth, Risk, and Inference to the Best Explanation”

    V 11-12:20
    John-Stewart Gordon, “Moral Rights for Intelligent Robots?”
    Pablo Gilabert, “Human Dignity and Human Rights”

    VI 1-2:20
    Richard Moon, “Conscientious Objection in Canada: Pragmatic Accommodation and Principled Adjudication”
    Étienne Brown, “Misinformation as Harmful Speech”

    Eventbrite - Judgement, Relationality, Care: A Celebration of the Work of Jennifer Nedelsky

    12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
    Room 200, Larkin Building
    15 Devonshire Place

  • Tue, Apr 10, 2018
    Ethics & the Arts, Ethics & Film: Lights, Camera, Ethics!
    Ethics & Film: Moonlight

    06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Wed, Apr 4, 2018
    Public Lectures, Ethics & the Arts
    Peter Brooks, The Chameleon Poet and the Ethics of Reading (C4E Public Lecture)

    My understanding of an “ethics of reading” stands more with John Keats’ “chameleon poet” than with his “virtuous philosopher.” Starting from my reaction to the U.S. “torture memos” (post 9/11), I explore what an ethics of reading might mean, and what is peculiar to the literature classroom. I then pursue the idea by way of the concept of a literary “character”: how we have learned to reach fictional persons, why we want and need them, and what kind of an ethical investment they propose to readers. Among a number of examples, that of Proust will be crucial here.

    Peter Brooks
    Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Scholar, Comparative Literature and University Center for Human Values

    Princeton University

    co-sponsored by:

    Centre for Comparative Literature, University of Toronto

     

     

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Vivian and David Campbell Conference Facility
    1 Devonshire Place

  • Mon, Apr 2, 2018
    Perspectives on Ethics, Events on Campus
    Shai Lavi, Is Medicalization Secular? Regulating Circumcision in Germany, Turkey, and Israel

    Shai Lavi
    Director, Van Leer Jerusalem Institute

    hosted by:

    Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies, University of Toronto

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Room 100, Jackman Humanities Building
    170 St. George St.

  • Wed, Mar 28, 2018
    Ethics at Noon
    Ethics@Noon: Ryan Liss

    Crime at the Limits of Sovereignty:

    The jurisdictional framework governing the prosecution and punishment of international crimes is unusual. While the prosecution of domestic crimes is ordinarily limited to the courts of states with a connection to the offence or offender, such connections are not required in the context of international criminal punishment. Those accused of international crimes (such as crimes against humanity or war crimes) can be tried before the courts of foreign states that are unconnected to the offence, or before international tribunals. In this talk, I examine how this reality raises the question of whether the international criminal law framework and the unique scope of the right to punish it entails can be justified. I examine the shortcomings of existing theories of what might justify international criminal punishment. I also begin to sketch out a new theory, grounded in an historical account of the field, highlighting the connection between parallel changes in ideas of state sovereignty and the definition of international crime over recent centuries.

    Ryan Liss
    Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow
    Centre for Ethics

    University of Toronto

    12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Tue, Mar 27, 2018
    Science|Ethics|Tech, Ethics & Film: Lights, Camera, Ethics!, Ethics of AI in Context, Ethics of AI Film Series
    Ethics of AI Film Series: Her

    Her Film Poster

    06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Tue, Mar 27, 2018
    Science|Ethics|Tech, Ethics in the City
    Ronald Deibert, These Are the Sensors in My Neighbourhood (Ethics in the City Series)

    As almost everyone knows by now, we share a lot of highly-revealing and sensitive data with companies. But what those companies do with that data, whether they share it or not with third parties, and just how much of it they collect and retain, is still largely a mystery. Drawing from Citizen Lab reports, in my talk I will review the exploding universe of “big data” collection, the accumulating fine-grained sensors that facilitate it, and the public policy, security, and privacy issues that accompany it.

    Ronald Deibert
    Director, The Citizen Lab, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Thu, Mar 22, 2018

    Deborah Stone, Why Statistics Should be Taught as Ethics, Not Math

    From simple tallies to complex quantitative analyses, counting necessarily requires value choices. Historically, measurement has always been intimately connected to notions of distributive justice and procedural fairness. This talk explores some of these connections and what it means to count with integrity.

    Deborah Stone is a Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, and an Honorary Professor of Political Science at Aarhus University in Denmark. A specialist in health and social policy, she is the author of numerous articles and four books, including the renowned Policy Paradox: The Art of Political Decision Making, which won the American Political Science Association’s Wildavsky Award for an Enduring Contribution to Policy Studies, and The Samaritan’s Dilemma, a call for harnessing altruism, rather than self-interest, as the moral engine of political life. Her lifetime of distinguished contribution to political science was recently recognized with the APSA’s prestigious James Madison Award in 2017.

    Stone is one of the co-founders and sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law. In addition to academic publications, she has written for The American Prospect, Nation, New Republic, Boston Review, salon.com, and some natural history magazines. She has served as a consultant to the Social Security Administration, the Institute of Medicine, the Office of Technology Assessment, and the Human Genome Project, and more recently, to The Asia Foundation Nepal, where she helped establish a public policy institute called Niti Foundation.

    Stone holds a B.A. in Russian Studies from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. in Political Science from MIT.

    This seminar is co-sponsored by the School of Public Policy & Governance and the Centre for Ethics at the University of Toronto.

    Lunch will be served.

    Admission is free by registration and open to the public. Register here.

    12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
    Room 200, Larkin Building
    15 Devonshire Place

  • Wed, Mar 21, 2018
    Ethics of AI in Context, Ethics in the City
    Building Cities Better, Building Better Cities: Are We Building Smart Cities on Dumb Information Systems? (Ethics in the City Series)

    The advent of Smart Cities has seen an explosion of research, development and deployment of applications that take advantage of the convergence of technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Web-based information systems, mobile technologies, and the Cloud. But lurking beneath these applications is a city-wide information system (Urban Operating System) whose architecture is rooted in the previous century. Just as cities have physical infrastructures that are over 100 years old, city operating systems are often legacy systems over 10-20 years old. Yet, the Urban OS is fast becoming the primary means by which citizens and corporations interact with the city. It is becoming the face of the city. How do we want to interact with the city?. More importantly, how do we want the Urban OS to behave when the city and the Urban OS are the same? In this presentation we explore the question of how the future Urban OS should behave and not just how they are constructed.

    Mark S. Fox
    University of Toronto Distinguished Professor of Urban Systems Engineering

     

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Tue, Mar 20, 2018
    Ethics of AI in Context
    Ethics of AI in Context: Kathryn Hume

    Ethical Algorithms: Bias and Explainability in Machine Learning Systems

    Over the past year, discourse about the ethical risks of machine learning has largely shifted from speculative fear about rogue superintelligent systems to critical examination of machine learning’s propensity to exacerbate patterns of discrimination in society. This talk explains how and why bias creeps into supervised machine learning systems and proposes a framework businesses can apply to hold algorithmic systems accountable in a way that is meaningful to people impacted by systems. You’ll learn why it’s important to consider bias throughout the entire machine learning product lifecycle (not just algorithms), how to assess tradeoffs between accuracy and explainability, and what technical solutions are available to reduce bias and promote fairness.
    [☛ eVideo]

    Kathryn Hume
    integrate.ai

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Fri, Mar 16, 2018
    Political Theory Research Workshop
    Zhichao Tong, Epistemic Democracy and International Relations 03:00 PM - 04:30 PM
    Room 3130, Sidney Smith Building
    100 St. George St.

  • Fri, Mar 16, 2018

    Julian Savulescu, The Science and Ethics of Moral Enhancement

    The Science and Ethics of Moral Enhancement

    The greatest problems of the 21st century – climate change, environmental degradation, terrorism, poverty, global inequality, mass migration, depletion of resources, infectious diseases, abuse and neglect of children – are predominantly the result of human choice and behaviour. The greatest problems humanity now faces are not the result of external threat, but are the result of human choice. They are caused by human moral limitations.

    Human moral psychology has been shaped by its evolutionary history. It is characterized by aggression, restricted altruism, partiality to kin and in-group members, hostility and disregard of out-group members, bias towards the near future and limited co-operation including free riding. These dispositions have generated common sense moralities which are characterized by strong prohibitions against harming in-group members, few requirements for beneficence or aiding, especially out-group members, a causal sense of responsibility which places greater weight on the consequences of acts in the near future, affecting in-group members, with little consideration given to the foreseeable consequences of omissions.

    These dispositions and articulated moral norms expose humanity to unprecedented threats in the modern world of advanced technology and global community. Liberal democracy increases the threat our limited moral dispositions pose to our survival and flourishing. I will focus on violence, global poverty and climate change. I argue that we should not rest content with our current strategies for addressing these problems. I argue that we should look to not only policies tailored to our moral limitations, but to altering the biological dispositions which contribute to these limitations. I sketch briefly how this might be possible. I argue that research into human moral bioenhancement is an urgent priority.

    Julian Savulescu
    Director, The Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics

    02:00 PM - 04:00 PM
    Room 200, Larkin Building
    15 Devonshire Place

  • Wed, Mar 14, 2018
    Science|Ethics|Tech, Ethics of AI in Context, Ethics in the City
    Countering the Digital Consensus: The Political Economy of the Smart City (Ethics in the City Series)

    What are the risks related to the trend of increasingly technocratic governance? How might it enable the commercialization of the public service? How can government respond to this mounting digital and data-driven consensus?

    Bianca Wylie
    Head, Open Data Institute Toronto

    Co-Founder, Tech Reset Canada

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Wed, Mar 14, 2018
    Ethics at Noon
    Ethics@Noon: Jeremy Davis

    The Algebra of Partiality

    Most people agree that we are permitted to do more for those with whom we stand in certain special relationships, subject to several constraints. But most also agree that the presence of partiality does not eliminate our more general moral reasons to others. In some cases, however, these two sets of reasons must be compared; thus, we need to know how these two sets of reasons weigh against each other. But just how much extra weight can partiality justify?

    Much has been written on the question of whether or not our reasons of partiality may override certain of our positive duties of beneficence to others—for example, our duties to provide aid and famine relief to the global poor. While there is disagreement about the grounds and the extent of such partiality, many philosophers believe that we may indeed give some preference to our co-nationals over outsiders. By contrast, very little has been said concerning the question of how to weigh our various duties of partiality against our negative duties of non-maleficence to outsiders—in particular, our duties to avoid harming or killing them. While the issue of beneficence arises most naturally in discussions of global justice, the question of our duties of non-maleficence is especially pressing in the context of war, which generally involves risking, harming, or killing many innocent people, some of whom are our co-nationals, but many of whom are not. Whereas many philosophers accept that our duties to our co-nationals may in some cases outweigh our duties of beneficence to outsiders, very few philosophers accept that we may prefer our co-nationals when it comes to duties of non-maleficence to outsiders.

    My goal in this talk is to illustrate—literally and figuratively—how can sometimes justify overriding certain otherwise weighty negative duties to those with whom we share no special relationship in order to satisfy duties, both positive and negative, that we have towards those with whom we do share such a special relationship. As I will argue, this conclusion follows from endorsing certain plausible assumptions about the relative base weights of various duties, as well as what I will show to be the most plausible account for how to determine the added weight that partiality affords.

    Jeremy Davis
    Centre for Ethics & Department of Philosophy
    University of Toronto

    12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Tue, Mar 13, 2018
    Ethics & the Arts, Ethics & Film: Lights, Camera, Ethics!
    Ethics & Film: The Second Mother

    06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Mon, Mar 12, 2018
    Perspectives on Ethics, Ethics & the Arts
    Perspectives on Ethics: Jessica Rosenfeld

    Winners, Wasters, and the Shadow of Envy: Theories of Justice and the Scene of Medieval Literature

    Is envy at the root of all claims for justice (so says Freud), or is envy a regrettable but surmountable human tendency that will be minimized in a just society (as Rawls has it)?  Should we, as newer political and feminist theory has suggested, take envy seriously as a “political emotion” and allow it to direct the building of a better democracy?  My talk will trace the recent history of envy’s role in theorizing social justice and then turn to medieval literature as a terrain of close attention to envy, not only as a “deadly sin,” but as an emotion that provokes the social imagination, and the articulation of the move from the individual to the political.  The figures of the winner (upstanding citizen) and waster (profligate spender, “welfare queen”) have a long history, and can help us to understand the passages between the personal and the social, the economic and the affective, and perhaps to disentangle the threads of envy, resentment, and justice.

    Jessica Rosenfeld
    Washington University in St. Louis
    English

    co-sponsored by

    Centre for Comparative Literature, University of Toronto

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Mar 7, 2018
    Author Meets Critics
    Author Meets Critics: Richard Moon

    Putting Faith in Hate: When Religion Is the Source or Target of Hate Speech (Cambridge 2018)

    Richard Moon
    Faculty of Law
    University of Windsor

    Commentators:
    Mohammad Fadel
    (Law & Religion, University of Toronto)
    Anna Korteweg (Sociology, University of Toronto)
    Ruth Marshall (Religion & Political Science, University of Toronto)

    To allow or restrict hate speech is a hotly debated issue in many societies. While the right to freedom of speech is fundamental to liberal democracies, most countries have accepted that hate speech causes significant harm and ought to be regulated. Richard Moon examines the application of hate speech laws when religion is either the source or target of such speech. Moon describes the various legal restrictions on hate speech, religious insult, and blasphemy in Canada, Europe and elsewhere, and uses cases from different jurisdictions to illustrate the particular challenges raised by religious hate speech. The issues addressed are highly topical: speech that attacks religious communities, specifically anti-Muslim rhetoric, and hateful speech that is based on religious doctrine or scripture, such as anti-gay speech. The book draws on a rich understanding of freedom of expression, the harms of hate speech, and the role of religion in public life.

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Wed, Mar 7, 2018
    Ethics at Noon
    Ethics@Noon: Simon Lambek

    Nietzsche’s Rhetoric and the Politics of Possibility

    This talk addresses the question of Nietzsche’s style and presents a reading of Nietzsche’s use of rhetoric as inseparable from his philosophical project. I provide an exegesis of Nietzsche’s own reflections on rhetoric and attend to its actual deployment. In doing so, I highlight the underexplored themes of receptivity and dissonance. I challenge common interpretations by arguing that Nietzsche’s rhetoric is neither deployed as a means to get at some unitary whole, nor is it evidence of an embrace of indeterminism. Nor yet does its significance reside only in relation to Nietzsche’s perspectivism. Rather, Nietzsche’s rhetoric, I argue, is often deliberately dissonant and oriented toward facilitating receptive effects. The aim is to alter the conditions of possibility. I conclude by suggesting that Nietzsche’s rhetoric has implications for critical theory, shifting how we might view critical political engagement in the public sphere. 

    Simon Lambek
    Centre for Ethics & Department of Political Science
    University of Toronto

    12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Tue, Mar 6, 2018
    Ethics of AI in Context
    Ethics of AI in Context: Vincent Chiao

    Predicting Proportionality: Algorithmic Decision-Making in Sentencing

    Sentencing in many jurisdictions remains quite discretionary, with significant variability in how judges approach otherwise similar cases, raising concerns of both arbitrariness and bias. This paper proposes systematizing judgments of proportionality in sentencing by means of an algorithm. The aim of such an algorithm would be to predict what a typical judge in that jurisdiction would regard as a proportionate sentence in a particular case. Notably, unlike most discussions of algorithmic decision-making in the criminal law, the objective of the algorithm would be on predicting the behavior of judges rather than defendants. I show that endorsing such an algorithm does not come at the cost of case-specific justice, that it is consistent with a highly particularistic account of moral judgment, and that it is attractive even despite pervasive uncertainty as to the point of punishment.

    Vincent Chiao
    Law & Criminology
    University of Toronto

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Fri, Mar 2, 2018
    Political Theory Research Workshop
    Thilo Schaefer, Laneways of the Imagination, Sidewalks in the Cloud: The Importance of Utopia for City-Building
    Political philosophy David Estlund has remarked that political philosophy suffers from a case of “utopophobia” or “the unreasonable fear of utopianism.” This paper shows how two common critiques of utopia, one represented by the work of F.A. Hayek and Karl Popper and the other by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, are based on a misunderstanding of the concept. Furthermore, this paper goes on to demonstrate how utopianism is also implicit in the writings of these anti-utopian critics in several problematic ways. Following this analysis, this paper suggests that we can think about utopia in terms of a loose typology, evaluating any particular utopian vision on two dimensions: (1) its level of perfectionism compared to its openness to possibility and (2) the degree to which it is grounded in generally accepted empirical facts. Finally, this paper uses the City of Toronto’s laneway housing debate and the recent proposal from Google’s Sidewalk Labs to build a smart neighbourhood in the city to illustrate the need to explicitly discuss the utopian visions underpinning contemporary planning practices.
    03:00 PM - 04:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Thu, Mar 1, 2018
    Ethics & the Arts, Critical Ethics
    Emily Baxter, We Are All Criminals

    We Are All Criminals looks at people with criminal histories but no record–people who have had the luxury to forget.

    Doctors and lawyers, social workers and students, retailers and retirees tell stories of crimes they got away with, and consider how different their lives would have been had they been caught.

    The stories are of youth, boredom, intoxication, and porta potties. They are about race, class, and privilege. They are humorous, humiliating, and humbling in turn.

    Through photography and storytelling, this project seeks to challenge society’s perception of what it means to be a criminal and how much weight a record should be given, when truly – we are all criminals.

    Emily Baxter
    Founder & Executive Director, We Are All Criminals

    Commentators:
    Shaunna Kelly
    Law Offices of Shaunna Kelly

    Paula Maurutto
    Department of Sociology, University of Toronto

    co-sponsor:
    University of Toronto Faculty of Law

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Wed, Feb 28, 2018
    Ethics of AI in Context, Ethics in the City
    The End of Public Works? The Politics of Infrastructure and the Quiet Decline of Local Democracy (Ethics in the City Series)

    Focusing on Sidewalk Toronto, the joint project of Waterfront Toronto and Google’s Sidewalk Labs, Mariana Valverde critically examines the evolution, via neoliberal privatization, from public works to public-private partnerships as modes of urban governance.

    Mariana Valverde
    Criminology & Sociolegal Studies

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Wed, Feb 28, 2018
    C4E Flash Event, Ethics in the City
    Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, To Police and Be Policed: Multiple Perspectives on Racialized Law Enforcement in a Diverse and Changing City

    Despite official claims of tolerance and inclusion, Toronto’s Black population has a historically tenuous relationship with the city’s law enforcement agencies. This study addresses how distrust of the police and notions of Black criminality are mutually sustained and reproduced through police encounters with Black citizens. Prior research has documented the myriad ways in which the police serve to subjugate and control Black populations. Previous research has also highlighted the importance of fair treatment in shaping citizens’ perceptions of police (and state) legitimacy. Very little, however, has simultaneously incorporated the perspectives of those on both sides of “the thin blue line.” Utilizing a mixed-methods approach, this study draws on interview and survey data with police officers and civilians to untangle the intricate relationship between race, policing, citizenship and state authority. The findings illustrate that both police officers and Black citizens act in ways that run counter to their own interests during their often hostile and confrontational encounters. Such encounters contribute to the erosion of police legitimacy and to the criminalization of race/racialization of crime. The findings provide support for a methodological approach to the study of racial inequality that is attentive to the multiple perspectives of the actors involved.

    Akwasi Owusu-Bempah
    University of Toronto, Sociology

    02:15 PM - 03:45 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Wed, Feb 28, 2018
    Ethics at Noon
    Ethics@Noon: John-Stewart Gordon

    Moral Experts vs. Ethical Theories

    The lively topic of whether moral expertise and moral experts exist has been vividly discussed in recent contributions in ethics and, particularly, in bioethics. I hold the view that moral expertise exists and that some moral philosophers can be considered as moral experts in the full sense, who have moral expertise, while most cannot. In this talk, however, I focus on the question of whether moral experts–by adhering to their particular expertise–are better qualified to solve complex moral questions than (moral) philosophers who (only) use a particular moral theory. This is an important issue because my analysis will respond to the vital question of whether one is, in general, able to solve complex moral issues by adhering to only one moral theory given the background of the complexity of moral life.

    John-Stewart Gordon
    Professor & Head of the Research Cluster for Applied Ethics
    Vytautas Magnus University Kaunas

    12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Tue, Feb 27, 2018
    Ethics & the Arts, Ethics & Film: Lights, Camera, Ethics!
    Ethics & Film: No No: A Dockumentary

    06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Tue, Feb 27, 2018
    Ethics at Noon, C4E Flash Event
    New Perspectives on Mass Incarceration in the United States

    The American incarceration rate has quintupled over the last generation, to the point where the United States now incarcerates over two million individuals. A wave of new empirical, sociological and legal scholarship has begun shed new light on the growth of mass incarceration. John Pfaff (Fordham) and Jonathan Simon (Berkeley) will discuss their groundbreaking research on the causes of mass incarceration, the response by the courts and proposals for reform going forward.

    Panelists:

    Faculty of Law
    Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies
    12:00 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Mon, Feb 26, 2018
    Perspectives on Ethics, Science|Ethics|Tech
    Perspectives on Ethics: Regina Rini

    Democracy and Social Media Are Incompatible: Now What?

    It takes time for the norms of democratic debate to adjust to new technologies – in some cases, too much time. In parts of Europe in the 1920s and 30s, change brought on by the new technology of radio outran democratic adaptation. I will argue that we are now at a similar inflection point with social media. Healthy democratic debate requires that we view fellow citizens as typically sincere and thoughtful when they express disagreement. I identify several features of social media discourse that have rapidly undermined this presumption and weakened the authority of democratic norms. What can be done about these shifts? I will argue that state and consumer solutions are unlikely to work. Our best hope is for social media platforms to create infrastructure enabling citizens to detect insincerity and carelessness in discourse.

    Regina Rini
    York University
    Philosophy

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Feb 20, 2018
    Ethics of AI in Context, Ethics in the City
    The Ethics of Smart Cities: Interacting with Non-Human Agents (Ethics in the City Series)

    In her book on Smart Technologies and the End(s) of LawMireille Hildebrandt sketches the contours of a new landscape, animated by all kinds of machine agency. She calls the fusion of online and offline worlds “the Onlife World,” highlighting that the boundaries between on- and offline are becoming increasingly artificial: we have to make them to retain some of our personal space. Being human in a hyperconnected world was the subtitle of the “Onlife Manifesto,” that was written by a group of European philosophers, neuroscientists, psychologists, lawyers and experts in artificial intelligence. In her lecture, Hildebrandt will employ the work of Julie Mehretu to discuss the impact of a transformed cityscape that confronts citizens with the effects of hyperconnectivity, big data and predictive analytics at the level of municipal policies. The question will be what kind of humans we may become when ‘living with algorithms’ is the new normal, and how we can learn to shape our algorithmic environment in the Onlife World without succumbing to idealistic or cynical portrayals of the upcoming smart cityscape. This talk will revisit a presentation Hildebrandt gave at art centre Stroom in The Hague.

    Mireille Hildebrandt
    Law and Technology, Vrije Universiteit Brussels
    Computing & Information Sciences, Radboud University Nijmegen

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Fri, Feb 16, 2018
    Political Theory Research Workshop
    Cáit Power, The Jew in Speech: Conceiving the City, God, and Man 03:00 PM - 04:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Thu, Feb 15, 2018
    Events on Campus
    Killam Lecture: Thomas Hurka

    University Professor Thomas Hurka, the Chancellor Henry N. R. Jackman Professor of Philosophical Studies, is the recipient of a 2017 Killam Prize in the Humanities, one of the most prestigious academic honours in Canada, granted for outstanding career achievement.

    Prof. Hurka will deliver a public lecture under the title of The Intrinsic Values of Knowledge and Achievement. The event is free and open to the public.

    Read more about Prof. Hurka’s monumental achievement, publications, and career on the U of T Arts & Science News website.

    hosted by:

    co-sponsored by:

    03:00 PM - 05:00 PM
    Room 100, Jackman Humanities Building
    170 St. George St.

  • Wed, Feb 14, 2018
    Ethics of AI in Context, Ethics in the City
    Canadian Smart Cities: Defining the Public Good (Ethics in the City Series)

    From the federal government’s smart city challenge to Sidewalk Labs‘ partnering with Waterfront Toronto on the planning of Quayside, smart cities are part of a new urban agenda in Canadian cities. Their technology and data have clear value to the private sector but what do smart cities offer in terms of public good outcomes? This talk will explore how early experiments with smart cities send signals that deliberate and creative attention must be paid if we seek to derive public good from this technology.

    Pamela Robinson
    Associate Dean, Graduate Studies and Strategic Initiatives, Faculty of Community Services

     

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Wed, Feb 14, 2018
    Author Meets Critics
    Author Meets Critics: Mara Marin

    Connected by Commitment: Oppression and Our Responsibility to Undermine It (Oxford 2017)

    Mara Marin
    Postdoctoral Affiliate, Centre for Ethics
    University of Toronto

    Commentators:
    Shannon Dea
    (Philosophy, University of Waterloo)
    Kerry Rittich (Law, University of Toronto)
    Meredith Schwartz (Philosophy, Ryerson University)
    Torrey Shanks (Political Science, University of Toronto)

    Saying that political and social oppression is a deeply unjust and widespread condition of life is not a terribly controversial statement. Likewise, theorists of justice frequently consider our obligation to not turn a blind eye to oppression. But what is our culpability in the endurance of oppression?

    In this book, Mara Marin complicates the primary ways in which we make sense of human and political relationships and our obligations within them. Rather than thinking of relationships in terms of our intentions, Marin thinks of them as open-ended and subject to ongoing commitments. Commitments create open-ended expectations and vulnerabilities on the part of others, and therefore also obligations. By this rationale, our actions sustain oppressive or productive structures in virtue of their cumulative effects, not the intentions of the actors.When we violate our obligations we oppress others.

    12:00 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Tue, Feb 13, 2018
    Science|Ethics|Tech, Ethics & Film: Lights, Camera, Ethics!, Ethics of AI in Context, Ethics of AI Film Series
    Ethics of AI Film Series: Star Trek TNG

    06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Tue, Feb 13, 2018
    Ethics of AI in Context
    Ethics of AI in Context: Richard Zemel, Ensuring Fair and Responsible Automated Decisions

    Information systems are becoming increasingly reliant on statistical inference and learning to render all sorts of decisions, including the issuing of bank loans, the targeting of advertising, and the provision of health care. This growing use of automated decision-making has sparked heated debate among philosophers, policy-makers, and lawyers, with critics voicing concerns with bias and discrimination. Bias against some specific groups may be ameliorated by attempting to make the automated decision-maker blind to some attributes, but this is difficult, as many attributes may be correlated with the particular one.  The basic aim then is to make fair decisions, i.e., ones that are not unduly biased for or against specific subgroups in the population. I will discuss various computational formulations and approaches to this problem.

    [☛ eVideo]

    Richard Zemel
    Computer Science & Vector Institute
    University of Toronto

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Wed, Feb 7, 2018
    Conferences
    Conference: Collective and Temporally Extended Rights and Wrongs

    Collective and Temporally Extended Rights and Wrongs
    (A Halbert Network Workshop)

    Paradigmatic cases of moral obligations and wrongdoing involve a single act of an individual towards specific persons. However many cases of moral obligations and wrong do not have this structure. I can wrong a student by repeatedly failing to call on her in class, even if I am not obligated to call on her on any specific occasion. It seems also that we together can wrong others even though no individual act of any of us wrongs any specific other person. A similar structure presents itself in the theories of practical reason and collective rationality. Philosophers have examined the rational demands on behaviour that obtain in virtue of projects, plans, and commitments that extend through time. In the area of collective action, we may ask how my participation in a collective action contributes to the assessment of what is rational for me to do.

    Organizer:
    Sergio Tenenbaum
    Professor of Philosophy
    University of Toronto

    Schedule

    Tuesday, February 6 (Location: Jackman Humanities Building Rm. 418)
    2:45 – 4:15pm Haim Abraham (Toronto), Corrective Justice Duties for Belligerent Wrongs
    4:30 – 6:00pm Alon Harel (HUJI) & Ofer Malcai (HUJI), Vox Populi Vox Dei: Populism, Elitism and Private Reason

    Wednesday, February 7 (Location: Centre for Ethics, Larkin Building Rm. 200)
    9:15 – 10:45am Emma McClure (Toronto), Microaggressions as Collective Harms and Individual Wrongs
    11:00am – 12:30pm Daniel Attas (HUJI), Who Owns Cultural Heritage?
    Lunch
    2 – 3:30pm Julia Nefsky (Toronto), Global Warming, Individual Obligations and the Inefficacy Problem: the Need for an Imperfect View
    3:45 – 5:15pm Rona Dinur (HUJI), Intentional Discrimination

    co-sponsored by:
    Philosophy, University of Toronto
    Munk School of Global Affairs
    Faculty of Law

    09:15 AM - 05:15 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Tue, Feb 6, 2018
    Ethics of AI in Context
    Ethics of AI in Context: Mireille Hildebrandt, The Ethics of Agonistic Machine Learning

    What do we mean when we say that machines learn? What is the difference that makes a difference between human learning and machine learning? In my talk I will discuss the nature of machine learning (ML), including a series of design decisions that inform ML research designs and the trade-offs they incorporate. I will argue that these trade-offs have real world implications that require the participation of those who will suffer or enjoy the consequences of real world ML applications. Building on Mouffe’s democratic theory and Rip’s constructive technology assessment, I will argue for agonistic or adversarial ML as the only viable way to ensure that ML contributes to human and societal flourishing.

    [☛ eVideo]

    Mireille Hildebrandt
    Law and Technology, Vrije Universiteit Brussels
    Computing & Information Sciences, Radboud University Nijmegen
    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Mon, Feb 5, 2018
    Perspectives on Ethics
    Perspectives on Ethics: Jennifer Carlson

    The Police Man’s Burden: Emotional Labor, Masculinity and the Ethics of Force

    Use of force is central to police work, yet the contours of the use of force for American police have changed dramatically in recent years. First, police have become increasingly prepared to use force due to changes in training and equipment amid threats of mass shootings, domestic terrorism, and so forth. Second, police are increasingly policing contexts that are gun-rich and gun law-lax, with over 13 million people licensed to carry guns in the US. Third, police have increasingly faced public outcry related to the use of force, especially with regard to racial disparities in excessive force. In what contexts do police embrace, versus accept or even avoid, the use of force? Is police use of force equally ‘non-negotiable’ (see Bittner, 1973) across social settings? If not, why not—and to what ends? To explore these questions, this talk draws on interviews with nearly 80 police chiefs across Arizona, California, and Michigan. While policing scholarship has documented how “hard charger” masculinist approaches to policing mediates the central role of firearms in constituting “real” policework (see Herbert, 2001), I draw on the concept of ‘moral wages’ (see Kolb, 2014) to show how guns operate not just as means of violence but also as gendered tools of emotional management. Examining how police evaluate more versus less moralistic uses of force and at times even opt out of force, I show that police make ethical sense of the use of force by framing it as masculine carework. Further situating these findings within the divergent contexts of Arizona, California and Michigan (especially their respective gun cultures) reveals that the boundaries between police and broader society are more porous than often acknowledged: police sensibilities about legitimate force are patterned by more localized norms regarding the use of force as well as by the socio-legal regimes in which police are embedded.

    Jennifer Carlson
    University of Arizona
    School of Sociology & School of Government and Public Policy

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Fri, Feb 2, 2018
    Political Theory Research Workshop
    Chi Kwok, Personal Autonomy and Workplace Justice 03:00 PM - 04:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Tue, Jan 30, 2018
    Science|Ethics|Tech, Ethics & Film: Lights, Camera, Ethics!, Ethics of AI in Context, Ethics of AI Film Series
    Ethics of AI Film Series: Blade Runner

    Film Poster with Mark Kingwell

    06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Jan 30, 2018
    Science|Ethics|Tech, Ethics of AI in Context
    Ethics of AI in Context: Frank Rudzicz, The Future of Automated Healthcare

    As artificial intelligence and software tools for medical diagnosis are increasingly used within the healthcare system generally, it will be important that these tools are used ethically. This talk will cover recent advances in machine learning in healthcare, current approaches to ethics in healthcare, likely changes to regulation to allow for increased use of AI, and new challenges, both technical and societal, that will arise given those changes.

    [☛ eVideo]

    Frank Rudzicz
    University Health Network & Computer Science
    University of Toronto

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Mon, Jan 29, 2018
    C4E Flash Event
    Flash Event: The Quebec City Mosque Shooting: What Have We Learned?

    On the evening of January 29, 2017, a University of Laval student entered a mosque in Quebec City after evening prayers, opening fire on the worshippers. In the end, he killed six, and wounded nineteen others. Although motivated by anti-Muslim animus, he was not charged with terrorism, but rather with first-degree murder. The massacre should have reminded Canadians that the election of Justin Trudeau did not usher in a new feel good era that spelled the end of anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim animus in Canada.

    One year later, what has Canada learned from this attack? Did it learn anything, or has it been forgotten or minimized in an attempt to preserve a complacent view of Canada as a successful, multicultural state that has successfully integrated immigrants without triggering the rise of right-wing, xenophobic nationalism, as has occurred in the United States and elsewhere, including in Europe?

    Panelists:

    Christopher Cochrane
    Political Science, University of Toronto

    Mohammad Fadel
    Law, University of Toronto

    Jasmin Zine
    Sociology, Wilfrid Laurier University

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Wed, Jan 24, 2018
    Ethics of AI in Context, Ethics in the City
    Sidewalk Toronto: Ethics in the "Smart City" (Ethics in the City Series)

    Join us for the kick-off event in our new series on Ethics in the City: a panel discussion of the Sidewalk Toronto Project, a collaboration of Google’s Sidewalk Labs and Waterfront Toronto.

    Panelists:

    Mark Fox
    Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto

    Ruben Gaetani
    Management, University of Toronto

    John Lorinc
    spacing.ca

    Mariana Valverde
    Criminology & Sociolegal Studies, University of Toronto

    Kristina Verner
    Waterfront Toronto

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Wed, Jan 24, 2018
    Ethics at Noon
    Ethics@Noon: Richard Moon

    Ktunaxa Nation v. BC and the Shape of Religious Freedom 

    The main criticism of the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision in Ktunaxa is that the court in its s. 2(a) (freedom of religion) analysis relies on a “Protestant” or “Christian” conception of religion – that focuses on personal belief rather than collective practice or shared ways of living. I will argue, however, that this criticism of the court’s approach to s. 2(a) fails to understand the practical limits of religious freedom in a spiritually and culturally diverse political community.

    Richard Moon
    Professor of Law
    University of Windsor

    12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Fri, Jan 19, 2018
    Political Theory Research Workshop
    Constantine Vassiliou, Montesquieu and Hume's English Affinities: The Nature of Honour and Its Function in Polite Commercial Society 03:00 PM - 04:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Wed, Jan 17, 2018
    Ethics at Noon
    Ethics@Noon: Audrey Macklin
    Resettler Society: Private Refugee Sponsorship and Citizenship 

    How does the project of making refugees into citizens remake the citizenship of those who undertake it? That question animates an empirical research project focused on private refugee  sponsors. I will introduce the conceptual framework that structures the inquiry, and consider (provisionally) cosmopolitanism as motive for sponsorship, privatization as mode, and citizenship as effect.

    Audrey Macklin
    Director, Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies
    Professor of Law and Chair in Human Rights
    University of Toronto

    12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Tue, Jan 16, 2018
    Ethics & the Arts, Ethics & Film: Lights, Camera, Ethics!
    Ethics & Film: Timbuktu

    06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Mon, Jan 15, 2018
    Perspectives on Ethics, Understanding Ethics
    Perspectives on Ethics: Joshua Knobe

    Norms and Normality

    People ordinarily distinguish between ways of behaving that are “normal” and those that are “abnormal.” But how exactly is this distinction to be understood? This talk will discuss a series of experimental studies designed to explore people’s ordinary notion of normality. The key result is that people’s ordinary notion of normality is not a purely statistical one (e.g., the type of behavior that is most frequent) or a purely prescriptive one (e.g., the type of behavior that is ideal) but rather one that mixes together statistical and prescriptive considerations. I discuss implications of these findings for ethics and for research in cognitive science.

    Joshua Knobe
    Yale University
    Program in Cognitive Science &
    Department of Philosophy

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Room 200, Larkin Building
    15 Devonshire Place

  • Thu, Dec 7, 2017
    Ethics & the Arts
    Music Amidst Violence: A Discussion Forum

    Recent decades have witnessed a growing impetus to perform music invoking past violence or troubled historical contexts: music composed under oppression or in exile, songs sung by sufferers and survivors of trauma. Such performances bear witness to the past, recognize that trauma occurred, memorialize loss and celebrate survival. They may inspire reflection or engender empathy among listeners.

    Is this music’s ethical dimension? Or does the immediacy of musical experience argue against its re-performance: does it not merely remember but re-activate violent histories? Are there some sonic artifacts that should not be re-sounded –– might silence be a better means toward reconciliation with the troubled past?

    Join us for a roundtable-forum integrating performance with scholarly discussion and critical reflection on the challenges of musical rendition as historical recovery and traumatic reconciliation.

    Eventbrite - Music Amidst Violence: A Discussion Forum

    Participants:

    • Michael Beckerman (Musicology, New York University) is an eminent scholar of Central and Eastern European music of the 19C and 20C, Jewish music, music in contexts of war, and music in the concentration camps.
    • Anna Shternshis (Director, Centre for Jewish Studies, University of Toronto) is an expert on Jewish culture in the Soviet Union.
    • Joshua Pilzer (Ethnomusicology, University of Toronto) specializes in the relationships between music, survival, memory, and traumatic experience, with a focus on the anthropology of music in modern Korea and Japan.
    • Adi Braun (singer-songwriter, Toronto) and Linda Ippolito (Sheridan, Ippolito & Associates, Toronto) have been researching the music and performers of the politically progressive Weimar-era cabaret for Braun’s new album Moderne Frau (2017).
    • Dobrochna Zubek (cello, Toronto) is an award-winning Polish musician whose multifaceted international career encompasses solo, chamber, orchestral and interdisciplinary performance.

    Hosted by:

    University of Toronto, Faculty of MusicJackman Humanities InstituteAnne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies

    11:00 AM - 01:00 PM
    Centr