Dean's Master Class: research theme 'Morality and Ethics'

November 19, 2014

Event Information

Type: Master Class

Date: November 19 (Wednesday) 2014

Time: 13.00 - 17.00 (walk-in lunch at 13.00)

Location: EUR Woudestein campus, Blijdorpzaal (H17-01)

Enrolment: free for Graduate School members


Telephone: +31 (0)10 40 82607

After a very successful first session of the Dean’s Master Class on ‘Families’, the second master class will focus on the research theme ‘Morality and Ethics’. Professor Liesbet van Zoonen has again chosen a theme which cuts across disciplines.

Four distinguished EUR scholars will represent interpretation on the theme from four disciplinary angles: Development StudiesMedia and CommunicationPhilosophy and Public Administration.

The Dean’s Award for Multidisciplinary Excellence was awarded to Emy Koopman (Arts and Culture Studies), Mark van Ostaijen (Public Administration) and Annemieke Romein (History).

Presentation details Dean's Master Class on 'Morality and Ethics'

Value-critical policy analysis – the example of climate change

By: Prof. dr. Des Gasper - Development Studies

Climate change raises enormous policy challenges and ethical challenges, which will continue through our lifetimes and those of our children. The ethical challenges include challenges for analysis, for narrative imagination (thinking empathetically and sympathetically about other people's lives), and for moral courage and leadership. The challenges in analysis include how to bring ethical concerns influentially into policy and business analyses, and how as a first step to identify the types of (un)ethical choices that are embedded in current analyses.

This presentation gives an example of value-critical policy analysis - drawing out, considering, and contrasting the values that guided two important policy analyses of climate change: the United Nations Human Development Report 2007-2008 and the World Bank's World Development Report 2010. It illustrates some interpretive methods - including investigation of choices of vocabulary and of topic - that help us identify the values that steer attention and guide different studies, and that may also strengthen skills relevant for more ethically cultivated responses to the challenges.

Reading: Gasper, D., A.V. Portocarrero & A.L. St.Clair (2013). The Framing Of Climate Change And Development: A Comparative Analysis of the Human Development Report 2007/8 and the World Development Report 2010. Global Environmental Change 23 (1): 28-39.

The moral values in television drama

By: Assistant Professor Tonny Krijnen - Media and Communication

TV is a narrative medium through and through. The content of TV narratives is crucially moral, offering the viewer one moral position or another (Barthes, 1985). In turn, TV viewers consume, negotiate and appropriate these moral narratives. In academia this point of view has been broadly accepted.

Despite this embracement of TV's moral potential, studies into what moral narratives are actually told, by whom they are told, and what kind of impact - if any - these narratives have, are scarce.

Taking insights from literary philosophers as Martha Nussbaum and Richard Rorty as a starting point, we will explore moral narratives in contemporary TV.

Reading: Krijnen, T. (2011). Engaging the Moral Imagination by Watching Television: Different Modes of Moral Reflection. Participations. International Journal of Audience Research 8 (2), 52-73.

Moral agency and free will

By: Associate Professor Maureen Sie - Philosophy

According to studies in social psychology people primary motivation is to 'appear to act morally' not to truly act morally. This phenomenon is referred to as 'moral hypocrisy.' Philosopher barely discuss the body work to which the label refers. In this presentation I will argue that that is a pity and propose an interpretation of the findings that makes clear:

(1) why philosophers should pay attention to these findings, and;

(2) in what way the presentation of the result by social psychologists disclose an one-sighted (and simplistic) understanding of moral agency.

Reading: Sie, M. Moral Hypocrisy and Acting for Reasons: How Moralizing Can Invite Self-Deception [available upon request].

Morality and ethics in political thought

By: Associate Professor Koen Stapelbroek - Public Administration

In my presentation I will discuss how eighteenth-century political writers understood the idea of morality not in a restricted sense as related to the prescriptive ideal notions of good and bad, but according to a much wider normative template about the range of possibilities for human societies in history to develop social and economic relationships within and between states. From this shared (and multidisciplinary - as we would call it) template it was possible to create refined and influential perspectives on, for instance, human development, inequality, justice, wealth and peace. These same perspectives developed by eighteenth-century figures are now included in the textbooks of our respective academic disciplines, but their related ancestry is commonly overlooked.

Reading: Hont, I (2006). The early Enlightenment debate on commerce and luxury. In M. Goldie & R. Wokler (Eds.), The Cambridge History of Eighteenth-Century Political Thought (379 - 418). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.