Philosophy honor society leads ethical reasoning conversations

An ethical reasoning workshop led by members of the nationally competitive JMU Debate Team and presentations by two guest philosophers are part of the semester-long program, "Rhetoric and Reasoning in the Liberal Arts," in March.

March 12 at 5:30 p.m.
Dr. Daniel Devereux, professor of philosophy at the University of Virginia, presents "Gorgias and Socrates on Rhetoric"
Room 302, Taylor Hall

March 16 at 3-4:30 p.m.
Ethical Reasoning Workshop on JMU's Quality Enhancement Plan Questions
Allegheny Room, Festival Conference and Student Center

March 21 at 11 a.m.
Dr. Jude P. Dougherty, dean emeritus of the School of Philosophy at the Catholic University of America, presents "The Use and Abuse of Metaphor in Scientific Explanation: Liberating Meaning from Metaphor"
Room 404, Taylor Hall
(The talk is co-sponsored as a session of the 2013 conference of the Department of Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures, "Emancipation: The Struggle for Equality and Freedom")

Organized by the James Madison chapter (Virginia Gamma) of Phi Sigma Tau, the International Honor Society in Philosophy, the program is especially timely as JMU embarks on implementation of its QEP initiative, "The Madison Collaborative: Ethical Reasoning in Action." For more information about the initiative, see

Participants in the March 16 workshop will consider a set of fictional ethical scenarios with the QEP's eight key questions in mind. The questions involve empathy, fairness, character, liberty, rights, responsibilities, outcomes and authority. Dr. Michael Davis, assistant professor of communication studies and advisor to the JMU Debate Team, will talk about the values of the QEP and the importance of ethical reasoning before participants break out into sessions to consider specific scenarios.

Students interested in participating in the workshop may email Marie Eszenyi, co-president of the Virginia Gamma Chapter, at

The JMU Student Government Association awarded a $5,000 grant to support the program, which is also supported by the College of Arts and Letters, Department of Philosophy and Religion and Logic and Reasoning Institute. Co-presidents of the Virginia Gamma Chapter are philosophy majors, Marie Eszenyi and John Knetemann. Professor Anne M. Wiles is the advisor of the chapter.

"Reason and Rhetoric in the Liberal Arts" will continue in April when two speakers and a workshop on written argumentation are planned. Details will be announced.

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 March 11, 2013

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