Moral Sense Colloquium


Drawing credit, Wolfgang Köhler
Announcing the Moral Sense Colloquium IV - Cross-cultural Morality: Human and Animal. Saturday, 28 September, 2019, 12:00pm - 6:00pm. St. Francis College, 182 Remsen Street, Brooklyn, NY, USA. Founders Hall and Callahan Center. Free and open to the public, but we ask that you RSVP Professor Gregory F. Tague, gtague AT sfc DOT edu so we have an accurate head count for refreshments (following a vegetarian ethos). This Colloquium will feature, at the end, a special performance by actors, singers and musicians Vaneshran Arumugam and Emmanuel Castis.

GUIDING QUESTIONS FOR THIS COLLOQUIUM INCLUDE:
What is cross-cultural morality? What principles and standards of behavior are shared among cultures? How do values, beliefs, and practices differ among cultures? What is altruism? How do non-human animals, especially primates, and particularly great apes express what humans might call altruism, morality, and culture? Considering the extensive anthropogenic stressors now being forced upon delicate ecosystems and animal habitats, why is it important for humans to view animals as cultural and moral? Why is it important to emphasize the difference between cultures, including the somewhat false division of human-animal, as much as considering similarities?

PROGRAM (subject to modification)
All Events Unless Otherwise Noted Will Take Place In Founders Hall And Callahan Center, Both Located On The First Floor Of The College. Enter at 182 Remsen St.

†12:00pm – Welcome and light vegetarian lunch, Callahan Center.

†12:30pm – Opening Remarks, Dr. Jennifer Lancaster, VP for Academic Affairs, Academic Dean, Callahan Center.

†1:00pm – 2:30pm – Panel One: Cross-cultural morality. Follow-up Q/A and discussion, Founders Hall. Student panelists. Moderated by Dr. SungHun Kim and Dr. Kristy Biolsi.  

†2:30pm – 3:00pm – Coffee Break, Callahan Center.

†3:00pm – 4:30pm – Panel Two: Virtue ethics, veganism, and chimpanzee rights. Follow-up Q/A and discussion, Founders Hall. Dr. Carlo Alvaro and Dr. Jeff Sebo. Moderated by Dr. Gregory F. Tague and Dr. Clayton Shoppa.

†4:30pm – 5:00pm – Open Discussion including all participants, Founders Hall. Moderated by Dr. Alison Dell.

†5:00pm – 5:30 – Refreshment Break.

†5:30pm – 7:00pm – Songs of Story Men, musical and spoken-word performance by Emmanuel Castis and Vaneshran Arumugam, Founders Hall.


Event Founder and Director:
 Gregory F. Tague, Ph.D., Professor of English/Interdisciplinary Studies
Founder of The Evolutionary Studies Collaborative at SFC
of which the Moral Sense Colloquium is a key module

Event Curators:
Kristy Biolsi, Ph.D. (Psychology)
 Alison Dell, Ph.D. (Biology/Interdisciplinary Studies)
 Clayton Shoppa, Ph.D. (Philosophy)
 SungHun Kim, Ph.D. (Psychology)

IF YOU PLAN ON TRAVELLING to the area for MSC IV, we do not provide accommodations or make reservations. Scroll down to Past Colloquia for helpful links.


PAST COLLOQUIA____________________________________________
A one-day Moral Sense Colloquium took place at St. Francis College, Brooklyn, N.Y. on 2 June 2017. This was the third such colloquium and included a keynote speaker, a plenary address, and a series of break-out panels on various topics.  

Keynote speaker: Robert Trivers, Ph.D. (Bio below)

Reports on colloquium used #moralsense2017 

Colloquium Photos HERE

St. Francis College is located in beautiful downtown Brooklyn Heights, a very short distance by mass transportation to Manhattan. You could even walk over the Brooklyn Bridge to lower Manhattan. See links below for accommodations. Here is a campus/area map.  

Summary Program HERE

Full Program with abstracts HERE 

ASEBL Journal with selected, revised papers HERE

Conference directors:

Gregory F. Tague, Ph.D. (St. Francis College, English)

David C. Lahti, Ph.D. (Queens College, Biology)

Alison Dell, Ph.D. (St. Francis College, Biology)
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CALL IS CLOSED - Colloquium complete. But you can see the original CALL

US Travel Visa Link – registrants are responsible for obtaining proper documentation to enter the country:  https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en.html 

Accommodations


Night Life, Arts and Entertainment, Restaurants  


Local Restaurants and Car Services - the second page includes a map


College website


Publication of Conference Proceedings:

Revised conference papers will be considered for publication in the ASEBL Journal. Please visit the ASEBL site, Guidelines page, for details: www.asebl.blogspot.com ASEBL is a peer-reviewed online journal, indexed in the EBSCO Host Humanities Source database and in the Modern Language Association’s International Bibliography. The journal is a member of the Council of Editors of Learned Journals. Deadline: 30 September 2017 for a 2018 publication (pending receipt of a good sample of papers). 

UPDATES:

Keynote speaker: Robert Trivers, Ph.D.


We are pleased to announce that ROBERT TRIVERS, Ph.D., will be the keynote speaker at the Moral Sense Colloquium III, St. Francis College, Brooklyn, N.Y., 2 June 2017. For more information, including a detailed Call for papers, please go to moralsense2017.org

For many of you, Trivers needs no introduction. Here is some information from his website RobertTrivers.com


“I have been an evolutionary biologist since the fall of 1965 when I first learned that natural selection is the key to understanding life and that it favors traits that give individuals an advantage (in producing surviving offspring). Spring of 1966 I learned Hamilton’s kinship theory, which extended one’s self-interest to include not only one’s own offspring but also those of relatives, each devalued by the appropriate degree of relatedness. I was eager to contribute to building social theory based on natural selection, because a scientific system of social theory must, by logic be based on natural selection, and getting the foundations correct would have important implications for understanding our own psyches and social systems. A general system of logic that applies to all creatures also vastly extends the range of relevant evidence. I then published a series of papers on social topics: reciprocal altruism (1971), parental investment and sexual selection (1972), the sex ratio (1973), parent-offspring conflict (1974), kinship and sex ratio in the social insects (1976), summarized in my book Social Evolution (1985).  [....] I devoted 1990 to 2005 to mastering genetics, in particular Selfish Genetic Elements, which typically are harmful to the organism as a whole but spread through within-individual genetic conflict. They infect all known organisms, including ourselves, come in a zoo of forms but can be understood by a logic of genetic conflict continuous with the kind that operates at the individual level (with no internal conflict). [....] Finally, I have recently attempted to master the scientific literature on self-deception and to sketch out some of the many applications of the resulting view.”

Early, Initial Colloquia______________________________________
I, April 2012, to mark opening of new science labs; II, 7 March 2014, on animal cognition featuring Dr. Diana Reiss and Julie Hecht as well as student panels. 
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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION


In Darwin’s century, while Herbert Spencer and T.H. Huxley famously defended Darwin’s ideas, they also confounded his notion of morality by pitting it against nature (i.e., the flawed ideas of social Darwinism). After Darwin, prominent biologists of the twentieth century have tackled the question of why cooperation extends beyond kin: R. Haldane (in 1932) uses the term altruism; in the 1960s W.D Hamilton addresses the evolution of social behavior, and George C. Williams writes of social donors; by 1971 R.L. Trivers pens his famous article on the evolution of reciprocal altruism. Since then there has been a steady flow of articles and books (popular and academic) on what it means to be moral (and from whence such behavior arose). In his 1990 book Created from Animals, James Rachels argues that the notion of dignity is a human creation devised only to elevate us above animals.

Philosophers (mostly British) of primarily the eighteenth century, in reaction to a number of complex events – religious, social, and scientific – of the seventeenth century, developed a notion of the moral sense. These philosophers, working in an increasingly secular age, argue very strongly that any human goodness was not bestowed from a divinity but was driven by innate human feelings of benevolence or sympathy. Some have written extensively about this very issue: from an evolutionary and biological perspective, we do in fact have a so-called moral sense. Taking the lead from the British Moralists, Darwin, in The Descent of Man, has a chapter on moral faculties and employs the term moral sense. There is a rich history of philosophy that focuses on morality and ethics; now, science is helping us understand much better those concerns and the connection of ancestral human caring to morality. Some psychologists help us understand social-moral decision making in terms of our individual biological construction. Some neuroscientists and biologists have written on these controversial topics – i.e., the connection between the biology of the brain and moral decisions or moral behavior.

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