WMU News

Cosmetic surgery, environmental justice addressed

Jan. 26, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- Though one is an expert on the ethics of cosmetic enhancement and the other specializes in environmental justice, two upcoming scholars visiting Western Michigan University next month share a common cause--advocating for teaching philosophy to schoolchildren.

Visiting experts Drs. Sara Goering and Robert Figueroa will talk about all those topics in three presentations Friday and Saturday, Feb. 9 and 10, on the WMU campus. Sponsored by WMU's Center for the Study of Ethics in Society, the presentations are free and open to the public.

Goering, assistant professor of philosophy and director of the Center for Applied Ethics at California State University at Long Beach, will address "The Ethics of Human Enhancement: From Cosmetic Surgery to Cosmetic Genetics," at 10 a.m. in Room 205 of the Bernhard Center. As the implications of the human genome project are just beginning to be known, there are a number of questions regarding the morality of genetic human enhancement technologies. Goering will provide an analysis of the ethics of cosmetic surgery as a way to understand the potential ethical pitfalls of cosmetic genetics.

Later that day, Figueroa will examine "Visions of Environmental Justice," at 2 p.m. in Room 205 of the Bernhard Center. Figueroa, a visiting assistant professor in philosophy and religion, environmental studies and Africana and Latin American studies at Colgate University, is the author of a forthcoming book titled "Whose Environment, Which Justice: Environmental Justice and Social Philosophy." His presentation will examine the way such issues as race and class discrimination, domestic and global development policies, and the interaction between social justice and environmental conditions have affected the efforts of the environmental social justice movements.

Figueroa and Goering will come together the next day, Saturday, Feb. 10, to present a "Seminar on Pre-College Philosophy," from 1 to 5 p.m. in Room 1040 of the Fetzer Center. Both have been active in advocating for philosophy education for students in kindergarten through 12th grades. Toward that end, they created the Summer Philosophy Institute of Colorado, a one-week residential philosophy institute for high school students, and the Philosophy Outreach Program of Colorado, which sends graduate students to teach classes in philosophy in high schools and middle schools throughout that state. Goering is also director for the Center for Advancement of Philosophy in the Schools, a program that establishes teaching partnerships to introduce philosophy into Southern California K-12 classrooms.

For more information on these presentations, persons should contact the WMU Center for the Study of Ethics in Society at (616) 387-4397.

Media contact: Marie Lee, 616 387-8400, marie.lee@wmich.edu

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