WMU Ethics Center closes season with Princeton, OSU philosophers

Contact: Mark Schwerin
Photo of Sarah McGrath


Photo of Lindsay Rettler


KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Philosophers from Princeton and Ohio State universities will visit the area next month to take part in the final two presentations in the Center for the Study of Ethics in Society's Fall 2014 Lecture Series.

Dr. Sarah McGrath, assistant professor of philosophy at Princeton, will speak at 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 4, in Room 1121 Moore Hall. Her topic will be "Should We Believe in Moral Experts?" Two days later, Lindsay Rettler, a WMU graduate now studying at Ohio State, will speak at 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6, in the Multicultural Center of the Trimpe Building. Her topic is "Doxastic Blame and Responsibility."

Free and open to the public, the presentations are co-sponsored by the WMU Department of Philosophy and the Visiting Scholars and Artists Program and are part of the WMU Graduate Philosophy Conference. McGrath is featured as the conference Distinguished Ethics Speaker, while Rettler is Distinguished Alumna Speaker.

Sarah McGrath

McGrath received her doctoral degree in philosophy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2002 and has been an assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy at Princeton University since 2007. McGrath's research interests are in epistemology, metaphysics and ethics with recent work done in moral realism and moral disagreement.

In her talk, McGrath will take a closer look at the practice of outsourcing one's moral convictions or basing one's moral beliefs on the beliefs of another, trusted person. In the case of deferring to a weather forecaster of what tomorrow's weather will be like, people do this unhesitatingly. But on more complex moral choices, this deference afforded experts is more problematic.

Lindsay Rettler

Rettler received her master's in philosophy from WMU in 2010 and is currently working on a doctoral degree at Ohio State. Her research interests are in epistemology and practical rationality. In her talk she will examine the practice of blaming other people for their beliefs. Rettler will survey several prominent accounts of moral blame, including those of Angela Smith and T.M. Scanlon.

For more information, visit wmich.edu/ethics.

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