2nd Global Conference
Wednesday 16th May – Friday 18th May 2012
Prague, Czech Republic
Taking their professional responsibilities seriously, practitioners of a wide variety of professions, including medicine, psychology and social work; journalism, tourism and the arts; architecture, civil engineering and the law, engage in reflection about ethical issues as part of their daily practice. Most professions have an ethical code with which its members are expected to comply. But ethical issues are not to be found only in the workplace. Whether we are aware of it or not, we all face ethical decisions every day. Or at any rate, each day we make decisions that have ethical significance – about, for example, what we eat; how we
behave towards others, including strangers as well as family and friends; about the extent to which we are willing to share what we have with others who have less; about the energy we use in traveling and in heating our homes, and about where we should shop for food, clothes and the other essentials of modern life.
Probably the most talked about problems about the intention to live responsibly arise in relation to human induced climate change, which has provoked heated debate at every level, and global summits aimed at forging agreements about how to tackle the problems of global warming. As well as local and international regulation, reflection about the problems of climate change have led also to mountains of advice about what we can to do to limit our impact on the planet – from changes in the ways we produce and package goods, to how we build, heat and insulate our homes; and from the advantages of using locally produced food and other necessities, to those of recycling almost everything. Of course, global warming is not the only area of life in which ethical living has become a major focus for many people. For example, they are concerned also, about a wide range of other issues including:
- The ethical realities that surround food production, such as the use of chemicals in farming and the introduction of genetically modified crops.
- Corruption in public life.
- The power of multi-national companies and of the media in changing the ways we think and live.
- Ways of keeping children safe and allowing them to grow to their full potential, wherever they live.
- Poverty in both developing and developed countries.
- Whether to buy their clothes from cut price shops that source them from manufacturers that pay their workers such low wages that they are barely better off than slaves, or from swankier shops that they hope are more ethical.
- The destruction of the rainforests and the depletion of the earth’s resources.
Living Responsibly: reflecting on the ethical issues of everyday life will facilitate dialogue about living more responsibly. It will be of interest to everyone who cares about living in ways that are respectful of others and respectful of the planet, whether they are lay people or, for example, ethicists, sociologists, theologians, anthropologists or psychologists who are interested in what it means to behave ethically, and in what motivates ethical behaviour.
Abstracts are invited about any aspect of ethical issues in everyday life, of which the following suggested topics and questions are merely exemplars:
- What should we eat and where should we buy our food?
- Should concerns about animal welfare turn us into vegetarians, or persuade us only to eat meat from animals that have been reared humanely?
- Is it really morally better to eat organic, locally produced food?
- What’s more important – the air miles it takes to bring my mange tout here from Kenya, or the fact that the Kenyan farmer who grows them gets at least some money?
- Do organically fed, free range chickens really enjoy their lives more than factory made ones?
- Is eating organically grown beef really more ethical?
CLIMATE CHANGE and GLOBAL WARMING
- What should we do about the problem of global warming?
- Will it really make any difference if we recycle; consume less energy and take fewer foreign holidays?
- Should I pay the optional carbon offsetting charge every time I fly?
- What will we do when the oil runs out?
- Wind farms, nuclear power and the overuse of energy.
RELATING TO AND CARING FOR OTHERS
- What ethical demands do personal relationships with family or friends place on us?
- Does the role of ‘parent’ or ‘spouse’ create particular ethical
- How responsible are we for those who are less well off than we are?
- Should we give money to beggars in the street, even if we suspect they will
use it for drugs and alcohol?
- Do we also have ethical obligations to strangers, whether they are from our society or more distant ones, that conflict with our obligations to friends and lovers?
- Must we donate to every global disaster fund, even if we believe that our money may not reach those who need our help?
- Should I feel guilty about the plight of folk in developing countries that are squandering their GDP on warfare?
- What special ethical considerations do sexual relationships involve?
- What does it take for a business to be ethically sound?
- Should multinationals rule the world?
- What’s fair about ‘fairtrade’?
- Isn’t ‘Responsible and sustainable tourism’ just another way of capturing a share of the market from cyncial business people?
- Should we buy newspapers published by companies that have a track record of unethical behaviour?
Papers will be considered on any related theme. The Steering Group particularly welcomes the submission of pre-formed panel proposals. Papers will also be considered on any related theme.
300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 23rd December 2011. If an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper should be submitted by Friday 23rd March 2012. Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to both Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word, WordPerfect, or RTF formats with the following information and in this order: a) author(s), b) affiliation, c) email address, d) title of abstract, e) body of abstract, f) up to 10 keywords
E-mails should be entitled: RL2 Abstract Submission.
Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using footnotes and any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline). Please note that a Book of Abstracts is planned for the end of the year. All accepted abstracts will be included in this publication. We acknowledge receipt and answer to all paper proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you should assume we did not receive your proposal; it might be lost in cyberspace! We suggest, then, to look for an alternative electronic route or resend.
Gavin J Fairbairn
Professor of Ethics and Language
Leeds Metropolitan University
Priory House, Wroslyn Road
Freeland, Oxfordshire OX29 8HR
For further details of the conference, please visit: