The Philosophy Program of the University of Nebraska at Omaha invites the public to attend a lunchtime Ethics Seminar on Thursday, Oct. 10 at 11 A.M. in the Weitz Community Engagement Center Rm 201 by Dr. Robert Audi, the John A. O’Brien Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame.
Dr. Audi is one of the country’s foremost and prolific researchers in ethics and political philosophy, as well as epistemology, philosophy of religion, and philosophy of mind. He is the author of 20 books, over a 150 articles, over 100 chapters in edited volumes, and is Editor-in-Chief of The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy. His most recent books include Means, Ends, and Persons: The Meaning and Psychological Dimensions of Kant’s Humanity Formula (2016); Moral Perception (2013); Democratic Authority and the Separation of Church and State (2011); Rationality and Religious Commitment (2011); Business Ethics and Ethical Business (2009); and Moral Value and Human Diversity (2007). Dr. Audi is also a past President of the American Philosophical Association.
Dr. Audi’s talk is entitled “Three Dimensions of Moral Conduct”:
Philosophical literature in normative ethics has tended to concentrate on one of three things: (1) what we should do— what acts we should perform—or (2) virtues of character, understood as leading their possessors to do the right deeds or, as most notably in Kant, (3) the importance of motivation in the appraisal of both agents and their actions. There is little doubt among contemporary moral thinkers that all of these elements—actions, virtues, and motives—are ethically significant. But there is a dimension of moral responsibility that should be given a place next to obligations to act, virtues of character, and appraisability of actions in relation to motivation for them. It is the manner in which actions are performed. This can be right or wrong; it can be an object of intention and can count as behavior for a reason; and it is important for assessing the moral virtue of the agent. This paper explores the range of manners of action, shows why (as may seem plausible) they are not reducible to kinds of actions, and proposes an account of their moral importance. The result is a wider conception of acting rightly than the common understanding on which it simply doing the right thing, a partial account of how acting rightly figures in the content of intention, and a sketch of the moral dimensions of the manners in which we act.