Speaking Ethically Across Borders: Interdisciplinary Approaches
To register visit http://www.crassh.cam.ac.uk/events/25021
8 January 2014 – 10 January 2014
CRASSH, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DT – SG1&2
Register online via the link at the top right hand side of this page
Conference fee: £60 (full), £30 (students) – includes lunch and tea/coffee
Conference Dinner at St John’s College: £42 (optional, places are limited)
Deadline: Sunday 5 January 2014
Jonathan Mair<http://www.crassh.cam.ac.uk/page/1120/dr-jonathan-mair.htm> (Mellon Newton Fellow, CRASSH)
Nicholas Evans<mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> (Division of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge)
Recent years have seen a dramatic growth in the study of ethics among social anthropologists. Much of this growth has been due to the assimilation into anthropological thinking of virtue ethics building on two streams of theoretical work: that of Foucault, and that of virtue ethicists working in the Anglo-Saxon philosophical tradition.
Proponents of the virtue-ethics approach in anthropology argue that a focus on self- cultivation as a process allows for sufficient attention to be paid to self-conscious reflection. Reflection and the freedom it entails, they argue, are essential aspects of ethical life that traditional social scientific approaches to ethics–Durkheimian approaches–simply ignore.
There appears to remain an area of ethical experience, however, that neither approach can easily accommodate. Since virtue ethics sees ethical judgment as the result of cultivation within a self-conscious ethical tradition, it can no more account for ethical judgment outside of or between traditions than the Durkheimian approach can.
Yet history is full of situations in which multiple, self-conscious ethical traditions meet, and in which people try to judge each other, persuade each other, or draw lessons from each other across the borders that separate those traditions. These situations are what we call ‘speaking ethically across borders’, and this is the phenomenon that the conference, and the publication we hope to produce from it, will aim to explore.
Contexts in which we might expect to find people ‘speaking ethically across borders’ include:
* religious missions
* international law
* colonialism and anti-colonialism
* vernacularization of cosmopolitan cultures
* universalization of vernacular cultures
* the adaptation of ancient models to contemporary situations in renaissances
In these situations, are people limited to using values with which they are already familiar to interpret and judge other values? Or can they genuinely learn from alternative ethical systems? If so, on what conditions does this process depend? Is the capacity for or disposition towards a cosmopolitan attitude to ethics itself a culturally specific norm or a virtue to be perfected, or is it a necessary aspect of ethical thought?
Ethnographically speaking, how have people in fact used the intellectual resources provided by one ethical tradition to judge others? How have they sought to borrow from other traditions, or to persuade followers of other traditions to adopt novel values and practices? What meta-ethics have specific traditions proposed to govern the relationship of members of the tradition to the mores of other traditions?
Welcome and introduction
PANEL: Difference and similarity in ethical conversations
* Jonathan Mair (Cambridge)
* Hallvard Lillehammer (Birkbeck)
* John Marenbon (Cambridge)
LECTURE: The hermeneutics of ethical encounters
* Michael Lambek (Toronto)
PANEL: Conversations between local, national and global regimes of ethics
* Heonik Kwon (Cambridge)
* Jan Lorenz (Manchester)
PANEL: Conversations between local, national and global regimes of ethics (continued)
* Harri Englund (Cambridge)
* Dinah Rajak (Sussex)
PANEL: Disputes, persuasion, and compromise in religious discourse
* Carlo Severi (EHESS)
* Naor Ben-Yehoyada (Cambridge/Harvard)
* Nicholas Evans (Cambridge)
* Michael Lempert (Michigan)
Walk to St John’s College
LECTURE in St John’s College
* Simon Coleman (Toronto)
PANEL: Distinct traditions, common standards
* Joanna Cook (UCL)
* Paolo Heywood (Cambridge)
PANEL: Distinct traditions, common standards (continued)
* Soumhya Venkatesan (Manchester)