Students and Faculty Connect with Leading Ethicists
During recent visitors to Richmond for speaking engagements, Collegiate students and faculty were able to connect with world renowned ethicists Peter Singer and Michael Sandel. Upper School Ethics teacher Rhiannon Boyd attended the event at Univeristy of Richmond hosting Peter Singer to discus his recent book The Most Good You Can Do. Collegiate Upper School students attended the Richmond Forum to hear Harvard political philosopher and bestselling author Michael Sandel speak on the hard questions of democracy.
"There's a tremendous hunger to discuss big moral questions in public," declared Sandel. Students from Rhiannon Boyd's Senior Seminar: Experiments in Ethics and International Emerging Leaders program were able to interact with Professor Sandel in the Student Room at the Forum as well as watch his talk.
"I thoroughly enjoyed hearing Michael Sandel speak at the Richmond Forum. I was able to experience his presenting style, both in an intimate setting in the student room and when he spoke to the entire forum. The unique dialogue he conducts engages the audience and provides interesting perspective to different philosophical theories. He forces you to really question the validity of your personal values. I also enjoyed hearing his thoughts on the purpose of philosophical debates in a modern democracy. I feel like I gained a better understanding of the philosophical theories we studied in [Ethics] class, obtained an understanding of the practicality of philosophy, and also developed my definition of morality." Caroline Goggins '16
Sandel stressed that schools and families must foster a sense of being seen as part of a community, inculcating habits that foster mutual understanding and respect. "It's a mistake to think that we have to compromise our moral principles to have mutual respect and understanding,"Sandel stated. "It's not so much rules of engagement than habits of civility" that matter for healthy argumentation about important matters of how we ought to live together. "It begins at schools."
Echoing Collegiate's commitment to responsible citizenship, Sandel declared, "We must cultivate a sense of global citizenship."
Sandel's emphasis on global citizenship resonated with IELC student Emily Spalding '16. "Dr. Sandel's talk not only inspired me to consider the role of ethics in a market-driven society, but also made me ponder my responsibilities as an American and as a global citizen, a challenge that could not be more relevant to the current situation the global society is facing today in Lebanon, France, Mali, and beyond." She continued, "While I loved watching the audience voice their opinions during the discussion portion of the evening, I found the most impactful moment of the evening was the Q&A. Dr. Sandel spoke to the place philosophers have in this world, and did so by referencing current events, such as the Syrian refugee crisis. Our society has become increasingly weary of those who want to challenge and question longstanding tradition, but Sandelargued that the job of philosophers is just that: to encourage a different, disruptive way of thinking."