Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Illinois Tech’s Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions (CSEP) Receives Grant from MacArthur Foundation

Chicago – January 20, 2016 – Illinois Institute of Technology’s Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions (CSEP) has received a $200,000 grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to enhance its highly regarded Ethics Code Collection (ECC). The ECC is a unique resource, comprising a curated collection of over 4,000 ethics codes and guidelines across a range of disciplines for over 40 years. With this generous funding from the MacArthur Foundation, it will serve as a more dynamic global resource for informing ethical decision making in professional, entrepreneurial, scientific, and technological fields, and inform critical research into the advancement of ethical practices in a rapidly changing world.

"This is an exciting step forward for the Ethics Center," says Elisabeth Hildt, director of the Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions and professor of philosophy in Illinois Tech's Lewis College of Human Sciences. "The MacArthur Foundation's support will allow us to extend one of the center's historical strengths—its collection of ethics codes—into the future. We are also particularly looking forward to investigating critically the manifold societal functions of ethics codes." This revitalized resource, and the research and greater public accessibility it will bring, present the opportunity to inform the development of ethical standards and practices within professional and entrepreneurial communities across the globe, including countries with newly emerging democratic civil societies.

ECC currently is used by professors and students, by entrepreneurs and practitioners looking for guidance in how to resolve professional ethical issues in their daily work, by professional societies writing their own codes of ethics, and by consumers interested in finding out more about the ethical guidelines of professionals.

Funding from the MacArthur Foundation will provide the resources to embark on an extensive design strategy to improve the digital ECC, and will include tools such as better keyword search, sorting capabilities, comparisons, and downloading in different formats. Funding will also enable new research on the current and future roles of ethics codes within society, business, and technological innovation.

The Illinois Tech Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions is a leading center of research in science and engineering ethics since 1976, operating within the university’s Lewis College of Human Sciences

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Atlantic Article on the American Astronomical Association's use of CSEP's Ethics Codes Collection in Revising Professional Code to Address Issues of Sexual Harassment

recent article published by The Atlantic  discusses how the American Astronomical Society's Ethics Task Force used CSEP's Ethics Code Collection to revise their own professional code in response to allegations of sexual harassment against one of its members this fall. 

The Ethical Task Force met during the AAS's 227th conference this week and revised both its anti-harassment policy and the AAS code, drawing from examples of the American Sociological Association, the American Physical Association, and the American Institute of Physics, among others. The actions of the American Astronomical Association are an excellent sign that professional scientific societies are seriously confronting issues of harassment in the workplace, and we are glad that the CSEP's Ethics Codes Collection can be of help in this effort.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Published in Slate: When Phrenology Was Used in Court: Lessons in Neuroscience from the 1834 Trial of a 9-year-old.

The Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions' Postdoctoral Fellow in Neuroethics, Geoff Holtzman,  has published a piece in Slate Magazine on the history of phrenology and its relationship to the use of neuroscience in courts of law.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Call for Abstracts: Does Neuroscience Have Normative Implications?

Call for Abstracts: Does Neuroscience Have Normative Implications? 

Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago: April 15-16, 2016
Deadline for Submissions: February 1, 2016

Neuroscience seeks to understand the biological systems that guide human behavior and cognition. Normative ethics, on the other hand, seeks to understand the system of abstract moral principles dictating how people ought to behave. Can neuroscience provide insight into normative ethics, and help us better understand which human actions and judgments are right, and which are wrong?

Researchers across disciplines who are interested in this question are invited to participate in a symposium on April 15-16 at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, IL. Prospective presenters are asked to submit abstracts of 200-400 words by February 1st, 2016 to; authors will receive selection decisions by February 28th. Invited speakers include James Giordano (Georgetown University) and Kurt Gray (University of North Carolina).

Presentations should take either 20 or 30 minutes and may address the question directly, or may address the question indirectly, by proposing research programs or discussing neuroscientific research thought to have normative implications. Authors skeptical of the normative significance of neuroscience are encouraged to discuss the scope and limits of neuroscience as it bears on non-normative moral and philosophical questions. Metatheoretical arguments of all kinds—either for or against the view that neuroscience has normative implications—are welcome.

One graduate student will be awarded $500 in travel funds on the basis of his or her submitted abstract. The symposium is funded by the Swiss Cogito Foundation, and organized by the Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions at the Illinois Institute of Technology as part of the project Neuroethics: On the Interplay Between Neuroscience and Ethics. When submitting a proposal, please indicate beneath its title whether you would be interested in developing your presentation into a paper to be published in a collected volume edited by the symposium organizers (“For Collected Volume”) or not (“Not For Collected Volume”).

Questions regarding the symposium should be directed to symposium organizer Geoff Holtzman at

Monday, November 16, 2015

QED: The Ethical Debaters Compete in Upper Midwest Ethics Bowl

On Saturday, November 14th, three members of IIT's student club, QED: The Ethical Debaters, took part in the Upper Midwest Regional Ethics Bowl at Northern Illinois University in Dekalb, IL. The team debated eight different ethical scenarios with some of the top ethics bowl teams in the midwest, including Oakland University and Macalester College. Team members who participated were Alice Arnell, Todor Markov, and Reno Waswil. Congratulations to the QED Ethical Debaters!

Monday, October 19, 2015

IPRO Students Present at International Neuroethics Conference

On Friday, October 16, students Cara Karter (CECD, 4th year) and Lorenzo Washington (Psychology, 4th year) took part in the evening poster session of the International Neuroethics Conference at the Art Institute of Chicago. The students presented the findings of IPRO 497-308, Stimulants for Enhancement Purposes, which conducted a survey examining the attitudes, use, and perceptions about the non-medical use of prescription stimulants for enhancing mental or physical performance, such as taking Adderall or Ritalin for enhancing academic performance.  

Representing the IPRO team, Karter and Washington answered questions about the study from conference attendees, including leaders in the field of neuroethics. Results from this research are also being shared in a paper submitted to the undergraduate research journal, Modern Psychological Studies

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Robert Landenson, founder of Ethics Bowl, speaks at Roundtable on Brainstorming Ideas on Education and Deliberation

Earlier this month, emeritus professor Robert Ladenson was invited to speak at a roundtable discussion organized by the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues that focused on brainstorming ideas on education and deliberation. Dr. Ladenson discussed how the Ethics Bowl has been used around the country by high schools and universities to help students not only to learn about important ethical issues, but also deliberate and discuss these issues in the form of a competition.

You read the blog post about this event at