Coercion and morality meet in ethics discussion

contact: Mark Schwerin
| WMU News

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—A University of Connecticut philosopher will address the intersection of coercion and moral deliberation when she speaks at Western Michigan University Friday, Nov. 4, as part of the WMU Center for the Study of Ethics in Society's Fall 2016 Season.

Dr. Hallie Liberto, assistant professor of philosophy at UConn, will speak at 5 p.m. in 157 Bernhard Center. Her presentation, titled "Coercion and Moral Power," is also part of the 10th annual Graduate Philosophy Conference and is free and open to the public.

In her talk, Liberto will examine the most prevalent explanation for why coercion ever undermines consent, an explanation that she calls moral debilitation. Moral debilitation includes cases in which true moral permission—promise or consent—cannot be given because of one's circumstances. Those circumstances may include: coercion, age, intoxication, incapacitation or deception about relevant facts.

Liberto will address two questions that philosophers try to answer when determining how coercion undermines consent:

  • What kind of coercive threat undermines consent?
  • By what mechanism does a threat undermine consent?

Hallie Liberto

Liberto earned a doctoral degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has been an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Connecticut since 2011. She spent 2014-15 at Princeton University as a Laurence S. Rockefeller Visiting Fellow. Next year, she will be a visiting fellow at the Australian National University.

Her research interests are moral and social philosophy. Some of the topics she has explored include promises, exploitation, sexual consent, and the nature and transfers of bodily rights.

Liberto's presentation is co-sponsored by the WMU Department of Philosophy.

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