Intelligence is found first by attention to the substantial facts of life, not in the speed by which one passes over them.
The Ethics/Morals Table grew out of the Ethics Table, a key initiative of the Beamer-Schneider Professorship in Ethics. The “table” is a metaphor that has many institutional forms. Currently, it takes three, although the SAGES in-service program could conceivably be an analogue, as was A Color Removed. In all these forms, “ethics” is meant broadly in the original sense as ethos, a way of life, and so includes politics as well as more private matters. In 2018, the Professorship specified the focus to ethics and morals to convey closer analysis of the difference between the ethical (prudential realm of personal flourishing or agency development) and the moral (obligatory, interpersonal, and social justice realm). To preserve developmental history, the names of all those initiatives existing prior to this change have been preserved without disambiguation.
Ethics Table Fellows, 2011-2012, the first year of the table
Ethics/Morals Table Fellows
People grow up by learning to speak to themselves, and by learning to speak with each other.
The Ethics/Moral Table Fellows is a group of students, staff, and faculty selected from an application process that focuses on a project to improve the ethical learning environment of Case Western Reserve University. The fellowship is periodic, based on perceived need and interest.
Across the year, the fellows meet monthly, reading and discussing ethical theory, working on individual projects, and preparing for an open symposium at the school year’s end. Fellows are given some research money and a stipend or other appropriate form of compensation at year’s end for their work. If you are interested in applying to be a fellow, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2017-18 Ethics Table Fellows
Emily Jennings is an Accounting Clerk in the Office of Research Administration, Sponsored Projects Accounting and a frequent member of the Ethics Table and the Moral Inquiries. Her project is to help incoming students think about what it means to make an ethical home and empower them to make ethical decisions in their private lives. Illuminating the ethical choices inherent in creating a living space will help student make better choices and improve their lives and their communities. Furthermore, it will help them think of themselves as moral actors capable of changing systems for the better.
Annie Pécastaings teaches writing-intensive courses at CWRU. Her interests include the Gothic novel and travel literature. Her project focuses on walking with others to build a sense of community. These group walks aim to meet two goals: to cross over the visible and invisible lines that crisscross the city and delineate enclaves; to experience the city as a shared, common ground to which our common fate and stakes are tied. Her work relates to the courses she teaches.
Peter J. Whitehouse, MD-PhD, is a Professor of Neurology and former or current professor of Psychiatry, Psychology, Cognitive Science, Neuroscience, Bioethics, History, Nursing and Organizational Behavior at Case Western Reserve University, Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto, and President of Intergenerational Schools International. Peter is a prevention oriented, life course, developmental neurologist. He is the author of hundreds of academic papers and book chapters ranging from genetics, to clinical dementia to public health and bioethics. His project is the design of an intergenerational course on wisdom, aimed for both SAGES and the Siegel Lifelong Learning program.
Chat -n- Chew Lunches
First meeting, Friday, October 12th, 12:30-2PM, Clark Hall 104, What Might a “Trans-disciplinary” Grammar Look Like? Ecology, Ethics, and Religion, presented by Bharat Ranganathan
Friday, November 16th, 12:30-2PM, Clark Hall 206, Wonder and Self-Concept: From an Idiosyncratic Trait to Something We May Train Ourselves to Embody, presented by Stormy Sweitzer
Friday, December 7th, 12:30-2PM, Clark Hall 206, A Moral and Ethical Vision for Case Western Reserve University: A Report from Nine Years of the Beamer-Schneider Professorship in Ethics, presented by Jeremy Bendik-Keymer
Friday, February 15th, 12:30-2PM, Cleveland Room, Thwing, Education in the Service of Justice: What CWRU Might Learn from Kolvenbach, presented by Bharat Ranganathan
Friday, March 29th, 12:30-2PM, Cleveland Room, Thwing, with Michael Robinson, Rust Belt Riders
Friday, April 12th, 12:30-2PM, Cleveland Room, Thwing, with Peter Debelak, Soulcraft
In the 2017-2018 academic year, the Chat-n-Chew lunches will meet approximately once a month on Fridays during Common Hour, starting in January. The Fall schedule involves a hiatus as the Philosophy Common Hour starts up. The chat-n-chews may also be convened as topics arise. They are open to any member of the campus community.
September 15th, Inamori Ethics Prize panel with Marion Wright Edelman
October 13th, Inamori Center Classroom with Kyle Powys Whyte, 2017 Beamer-Schneider Lecture in Ethics & Civics, “Indigenizing Futures, Decolonizing Our Lands: Indigenous Methods for Transformation”
January 26th, Guilford House Lounge, “Is ‘diversity’ a cop-out word for the task of equality?“
February 23rd,Guilford House Lounge, “The anti-empathy, anti-humane, anti-personal folk“
March 23rd,Guilford House Lounge, “True pragmatism“
April 27th, Guilford House Lounge, “Moral relationships” -a presentation by CWRU students
The Moral Inquiries ~ a Heights gathering
The Ethics Table generated a group that meets in the historic Coventry neighborhood of Cleveland Heights at Mac’s Back’s Books, the much-loved independent bookstore that adjoins Tommy’s. Called “The Moral Inquiries ~ a Heights gathering,” this community group discusses moral issues and is co-organized with members of the community. For more information, please see its website. You can join the hosting platform easily if you want to sign up for it.
Tuesday, Oct. 9th, 2018, 7-8:45PM: Misogyny – an improved definition
Tuesday, Nov. 13th, 2018, 7-8:45PM: What could go right?
Tuesday, Dec. 11th, 2018, 7-8:45PM: I just found my mind. Now what am I supposed to do with it?
Tuesday, Jan. 22nd, 2019, 7-8:45PM: The morality of walls
Tuesday, Feb. 19th, 2019, 7-8:45PM: One sole person in a mass, social problem
Tuesday, March 26th, 2019, 7-8:45PM: Cleaning house: conveniences in a world of injustice
Tuesday, April 16th, 2019, 7-8:45PM: Is it morally important to remember the dead for the sake of the future?
The history of the first Ethics Table
One thing wonder does is to slow things down and to open up the space of possibilities.
In the mid-1990s, Bob Lawry from the School of Law convened a summer ethics institute that allowed Case Western Reserve University faculty to explore incorporating ethics into their classes. In 2011-12, supported by the Kent H. Smith Charitable Trust, the Beamer-Schneider Professorship renewed the institute in a different, evolving form–and opened the Table to staff, administration and to graduate students who in direct ways through their programs foster the ethical learning environment of Case Western Reserve University.
In its new form, the Ethics Table’s first pulse was during the year 2011-2012. The group met daily for a week in August 2011 to explore the idea of a university ethos. Readings included D.H. Winnicott’s Playing and Reality; Dan Scheinfeld’s et al., We Are All Explorers: Learning and Teaching with Reggio Principles in Urban Settings; Martha Nussbaum’s Creating Capabilities; Alice Munro’s Runaway, and the Share the Vision common reading for the year, Justice by Michael Sandel.
The group then met monthly around town — to get out of school, gain perspective and to support local businesses. We ate at the Squirevue Vallee Farm with Spice of Life farm to table catering, at Le Petit Triangle in Ohio City, Club Isabella in University Circle, Prosperity Social Club in Tremont, the Alumni House where we skyped in philosophical counselor Lauren Tillinghast, Empress Taytu in East Cleveland, Café Anatolia in Cleveland Heights, and at the Greenhouse Tavern downtown.
At each of these meetings, two members of the group presented on ethics from their perspective in the university, and a special guest gave a presentation. The special guests this year were Anthony Jack (Cognitive Science), Shannon French (The Inamori Center), Chin-Tai Kim (Philosophy), Laura Hengehold (Philosophy), Lauren Tillinghast (NYU extension branch and private practice), Rhonda Williams (Social Justice Institute), Piers Turner (Ohio State University, Ethics Center), and Dean Moyar (Johns Hopkins University, Philosophy).
Finally, the group convened for a two day retreat in May 2012, with The Montessori School of Cleveland and Roger Saillant (Fowler Center) as special guests at the Inamori Center and at the Manor House of Squirevue Vallee Farm. The group reflected on its future and on the prospect of future developing our university’s ethos. Members of the group also chose to read Simon Blackburn’s Being Good, which was given to all members of the group for their reference.
Members of the Ethics Table 2011-2012
- Elizabeth Banks, Director, Center for Civic Engagement and Learning
- Nicole Deming, Assistant Professor of Bioethics, Director of Medical Education, Co-Director, Bioethics Master’s Program
- Sarah Gridley, Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing
- Mary Holmes, SAGES instructor and local foods entrepreneur
- Megan Jewell, Director, The University Writing Center
- Kenneth Johnson, Graduate student, Affiliate of the Inamori Center
- Kathryn Mercer, Professor of Legal Writing, the Law School
- Mark Pedretti, Lecturer, the Department of English
- Adam Perzynski, SAGES instructor and medical sociologist at MetroHealth
- Rolfe Petschek, Professor of Physics
- Drew Poppleton, Assistant Director for Experiential Learning, the Career Center
- Suzanne Rivera, Associate Vice President for Research and the Department of Bioethics
- Rachel Sternberg, Associate Professor of Classics
- Tracy Wilson-Holden, Director of Research Education
- Jeffery Wolkowitz, Dean of Undergraduate Studies
- Peter Yang, Associate Professor of German