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Morality, Responsibility, and the University: Studies in Academic Ethics

Steven Cahn

Publication Year: 2010

"[A] timely and important book.... These thoughtful essays surely will shape the debate about morality in higher education for years to come and provide guidance in the quest to improve the quality of campus Iife." —Ernest L. Boyer, President, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching This book, the first of its kind, consists of fourteen original essays by noted American philosophers critically investigating crucial moral issues generated by academic life. The authors ask: What are the standards of conduct appropriate in class-rooms, departmental meetings, and faculty meetings, in grading students, evaluating colleagues, and engaging in research? "The need for appropriate, sustained, philosophical analyses and examinations of practical ethics dilemmas in academic life undoubtedly is required since the reporting of questionable conduct alone does little to resolve the problem. This book of essays provides a vehicle for beginning this sustained investigation." —Betty A. Sichel, Long Island University "The essays address neglected matters which not only should, but I believe will, be of interest to academics...and perhaps a few administrators, which would be a very good thing indeed." —Hans Oberdiek, Swarthmore College

Published by: Temple University Press


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pp. vii

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pp. 3-7

In recent years philosophers have been examining the standards of conduct appropriate to a variety of professions. The activities of physicians, nurses, lawyers, business managers, journalists, engineers, and government policy makers have all been subjected to critical scrutiny. Serious questions have been raised about the degree of moral...

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1. Human Rights and Academic Freedom

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pp. 8-31

Universities stand in a double relation to human rights. On the one hand, all university personnel are the subjects or holders of the rights, including such of their corollaries as the right to academic freedom. On the other hand, university administrators have an especially strategic role as respondents or bearers of the duties that are...

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2. Free Speech on Campus

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pp. 32-55

That freedom of conscience and expression is protected in the First Amendment of our Bill of Rights is probably no coincidence.1 Such protection has been given preferred treatment by our judiciary during at least the past fifty years. In the institutional setting of a university or college, free speech takes on even greater importance.

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3. Tenure: Academe's Peculiar Institution

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pp. 56-75

Does everyone already have tenure? About fifteen years ago at my university an art professor made a small blue neon sign that said simply "tenure" in script and placed it in his studio window. Perhaps it counted as conceptual art; perhaps it won him tenure; I never knew. His art highlighted what professors believe is uniquely and profoundly...

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4. Ethics in Academic Personnel Processes: The Tenure Decision

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pp. 76-92

Most personnel decisions-appointing, promoting, dismissing, just to name some central ones-are not at all peculiar to the academy but part and parcel of most human enterprises with a modicum of complexity. The ethics of personnel decisions in colleges and universities is a special topic only because these institutions differ from...

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5. The Research Demands of Teaching in Modern Higher Education

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pp. 93-108

In the palst few decades institutions of higher education have demanded greater research efforts from their faculties. Actually, this has been a phenomenon of higher education for most of this century, but there is probably a perception among college teachers that the pace has quickened in recent years. Some have applauded...

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6. The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth

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pp. 109-118

Whatever may be true of them in other aspects of their lives, academics in thleir professional work and lives face some particularly knotty problems about truth telling. The difficulty is compounded by the many different areas of teaching and research, and even service work, in which such problems occur. In this essay I shall concentrate...

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7. The Ethics of Graduate Teaching

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pp. 119-133

Teaching is many things. It is conveying information, developing skills, and imparting modes of thought. It is imposing exercises, eliciting ideas, and encouraging imagination. It is creating attitudes, practicing communication among persons, and building citizenship. It is the modeling of personal styles, techniques of speech, and patterns...

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8. Professors, Students, and Friendship

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pp. 134-149

"Do they want us to be their friends?!" That's how a professor once reacted when the graduate students in his department complained about the faculty's insensitivity to their concerns. I'm not sure that the graduate students wanted the faculty members to be their friends, but would it have been inappropriate for them to want that?

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9. Sexual Harassment in the University

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pp. 150-176

The notion of sexual harassment entered public consciousness in the United States with the publication of a survey on sexual harassment in the workplace conducted by Redbook in 1976. More than nine thousand women responded to the survey, and almost nine out of ten reported experiencing some sort of sexual harassment on the job. l

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10. Beyond in Loco Parentis? Parietal Rules and Moral Maturity

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pp. 177-194

There is a certain sort of privacy that consists not in being actually screened from others' view but simply in the practice of not looking. Privacy of this limited sort is familiar in public restrooms, locker rooms, and hospitals. When I was a college student, this kind of privacy-and no otherprevailed within a hundred-yard circle of the entrance to the women's...

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11. Business-University Partnerships

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pp. 195-217

One of the more significant developments in higher education in the 1980s is the growth of partnerships between education and industry. Most of these are research partnerships in the natural sciences, especially in biology. However, partnerships are found in the business education field and in other areas. Examples of such partnerships...

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12. Diversity within University Faculties

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pp. 218-230

As a new generation of women and minority group members turns college age and enters the job market, a generation with far fewer victims of discrimination in lower schools than previous generations, one hears less call for affirmative action in university appointments for reasons of compensatory justice and more call for diversity...

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13. Academic Appointments: Why Ignore the Advantage of Being Right?

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pp. 231-242

Universities exist for the sake of the advancement of knowledge: its transmission by teaching, its expansion by research. Most of those who make academic decisions on behalf of universities will take the advancement of knowledge as their predominant, ultimate aim. Of course, some people in universities have different aims in mind. They may think the advancement of knowledge is meaningless, or...

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14. A Defense of the Neutral University

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pp. 243-270

In times of major social controversy, should colleges and universities function as political agents on behalf of particular causes? Although this issue is often forgotten in times of political quiescence, it rises to the surface again during times of political conflict. Protests against the Vietnam War, as well as concern in the 1980s over divestment...

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About the Authors

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pp. 271-273

ROBERT AUDI is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. He is the author of Belief, Justification, and Knowledge (1988) and Practical Reasoning (1989). He writes chiefly in the areas of epistemology, philosophy of mind, and ethics. He is a past president of the American Philosophical Association and has directed seminars for...

E-ISBN-13: 9781439905920

Publication Year: 2010