What is Critical Race Theory?

On February 3rd 2022 the Dale Ethics Center along with the Community Foundation of the the Mahoning Valley held a continuing legal education workshop led by Brant Lee and Marie Curry on the topic of critical race theory.

The Continuing Legal Education workshop is held annually (at least pre-COVID) at Youngstown State University by the Dale Center in partnership with the Community Foundation. Due to the ongoing pandemic the workshop was presented as a webinar.

For information about next year’s CLE workshop, please feel free to contact the co-directors of the Dale Center Dr. Mark Vopat or Dr. Robyn Gaier. The workshop is free and open to the public, though registration is required to attend and receive CLE credit.


How did an obscure academic label become a hotly
contested, partisan political issue? This session will
examine the controversy, explain the historical
background, and explore the fundamental issues at
stake in this lively, interactive presentation

Institutions express their values through their
policies and their allocation of resources, whether
they are private companies or nations. Accountants
and attorneys are key players in the development
and administration of this process. In the current
moment, no issue is more critical to our national
cohesion than understanding what we have in
common, as well as how our experiences differ, with
regard to race. Please join us in exploring this
important topic in a spirit of exploration and mutual

About the Instructors

Brant Lee (J.D., M.P.P.): Brant T. Lee is Professor of Law and Director of Diversity and Social Justice Initiatives at the University of Akron School of Law.

Marie Currey (J.D. M.P.H.) Marie Curry is the Managing Attorney of Community Legal Aid’s Health Education Advocacy and Law (HEAL) Project as well as Legal Aid’s Immigration practice.

Practicing Stoicism in the 21st Century

On March 4, 2021 the Dr. James Dale Ethics Center presented a talk (via Zoom) by Dr. William Irvine on 21st century applications of ancient Stoicism:

In this talk, I explain what Stoicism is—and what it isn’t. I describe its birth in ancient Greece and Rome, its fall into obscurity during the 20th century, and its remarkable renaissance in the last two decades. Along the way, I describe the psychological insights of the ancient Stoics, explain how modern philosophy has confirmed those insights, and show how they can form the basis for development of strategies that we can put to work in daily life.

Dr. Irine’s Bio:

William B. Irvine is professor of philosophy at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. He is the author of eight books that have been translated into twenty languages. Among them are A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy (Oxford University Press, 2008) and most recently, The Stoic Challenge: A Philosopher’s Guide to Becoming Tougher, Calmer, and More Resilient (W.W. Norton, 2018). He is currently at work on a book about thinking critically, but with an open mind, in the age of the internet.

You Really Can Make a Difference: Alastair Norcross

On October 27, 2020 the Dr. James Dale Ethics Center sponsored a talk by Dr. Alastair Norcross of the University of Colorado at Boulder. Dr. Norcross’s talk titled: “You Really Can Make a Difference: Why What You Eat and How You Vote Matters” was presented via Zoom.

Short Biography of Dr. Norcross (courtesy of his website):

Prof. Norcross’s research is primarily in ethical theory. His overarching project is to make the world safe for consequentialist theories, in particular utilitarianism. Although he has many good friends who are Kantians (or other varieties of deontologist) and even some who are virtue ethicists, he still doesn’t really understand how their minds work (as Wittgenstein says “If a lion could talk, we could not understand him”), but so long as they keep drinking his martinis, he’ll keep trying to understand.

Guest Post: Dr. Michael Jerryson on Buddhist Ethics

The Growth and Vicissitudes of Buddhist Ethics

Michael Jerryson, Ph.D.


The two oldest academic disciplines devoted to the study of ethics and morality are philosophy and religion. Although scholars of religion have examined ethics for quite some time, the majority of their work draws from Abrahamic religions. To address this lacuna in Buddhist Studies, the Journal of Buddhist Ethics was formed in 1994. Modeling its ethical focus, the founding editors decided to make the journal a free online publication. Since its launch, the editors solicit a wide variety of subjects that includes human rights, vinaya (Buddhist scriptures on monastic traditions) and jurisprudence, and medical ethics.

In 2015 two of the journal’s editorial members, Daniel Cozort and James Mark Shields, expanded the project by taking on roles as editors for the Oxford Handbook of Buddhist Ethics. In tandem with their decision, the four-member editorial committee decided to start a Buddhist Ethics Conference. Selected scholars who published in the journal, the edited volume, or who were well known for their contributions on the subject matter were invited to attend. In the early summer of 2016, the inaugural Buddhist Ethics conference was held at Dickinson College. Two dozen faculty participated in the three day conference, looking at the themes of violence, the environment, and ideal society. But what became incredibly important was not simply the themes, but the format of the conference.

The conference committee took care to balance regional specializations, time periods, disciplinary approaches, gender diversity, and faculty status. They also decided to veer away from the formulaic model for most academic conferences. There was no book or special journal issue paired with the conference. The participants did not deliver papers, but instead met in collective and groups, discussing and debating the issues. These decisions produce a very diverse and incredibly collegial gathering. It was decided that the conference would meet bi-annually. The second conference was held at University of Southern California in the summer of 2018. The themes for this second conference were on class, race, and resistance (focusing on Buddhist concepts of correct speech). The format was similar to the first conference, but with 34 faculty this time.

With such widespread specializations and expertise, there was once again rich discussions and debates. However, a very strong divide persisted throughout the first and second conference. One division argued about the need for explicit normative stances in discussing Buddhist Ethics; the contrasting side pushed for more descriptive stances for Buddhist Ethics. What became apparent in the many discussions and debates between these two sides were two central questions: what are the parameters for the study of Buddhist Ethics and who is a Buddhist? Scholars in favor of more robust forms of normativity considered the inquiry into social issues, such as race, gender, and class, not Buddhist issues, but rather sociological inquiries. They pointed to the traditional method and means of Buddhist scholarship over the last hundred years that mirrored the practices of monastic traditions; namely, the exegesis and philosophical inquiry into Buddhist scriptures and doctrine. Some scholars in this cadre also argued that people engaged in acts such as violence were not Buddhist due to the nature of their actions. Contrasting these views were scholars in favor of a more descriptive style and advocated for greater attention to social issues. These scholars argued that the role of academic scholars is not to judge or determine who is a Buddhist, but instead to learn about the lives and practices of those people who identify as Buddhist.

Due to the collegial atmosphere, group-based work, and active use of civil discourse, scholars at both ends of the ideological divide exhibited growth. The pedagogical structure reinforced the importance of dialogue, listening, and sharing viewpoints. This model of exchange serves as a helpful reminder of what we stand to lose as we invest more time in online communication. No longer discussing different ethical viewpoints with our neighbors, we now turn to social media forums such as Twitter and Facebook groups, which attract like-minded participants. The art of dialogue and compromise becomes irrelevant in such environments; in its place growths the mistaken view that one’s ethical views are communally shared and correct. Perhaps the Buddhist Ethic Conference offers more than simply insight into Buddhist Ethics, but healthy ways for us to maintain our investment in a pluralistic and civil society.

The Slow Professor: Rethinking the University

How should we conceive of the work of professors and the goals of the university? Maggie Berg, a professor of English at Queen’s University in Canada, and Barbara K. Seeber, a professor of English at Brock University, also in Canada offer a compelling arguement for universities to reduce their emphasis on speed and productivity, in favor of time for thinking and reflection.

Slow Professor book image

CBC Interview with the authors

SEAC 2016: Dr. Insoo Hyun

Insoo Hyun

Dr. Insoo Hyun is Associate Professor in the Department of Bioethics and Director of the CWRU Stem Cell Ethics Center. Dr. Hyun was a plenary speaker at the 18th International Conference on Ethics Across the Curriculum in October of 2016 in Salt Lake City Utah.1 His talk is titled “Ethics at the Edge of Science”.

  1. The conference was hosted by Utah Valley University and co-sponsored by the Dale Ethics Center. ↩︎

Students Recreate Life-Saving Malaria Drug

Just How Much is a Life-Saving Drug Worth?

A group of Australian high school students recently created 3.7 grams of the active ingredient in a life-saving malaria drug for around $20. The same amount of that drug would cost about $110,000 in the US.

“It seems totally unjustified and ethically wrong,” student James Wood said. “It’s a life-saving drug and so many people can’t afford it.”

Read the entire BBC article here

SEAC 2016: Dr. Mario Capecchi

[The following talk was given at the 18th International Conference on Ethics Across the Curriculum. The Dale Ethics Center was a co-sponsor of the event.].

Dr. Mario Capecchi is Distinguished Professor of Biology and Human Genetics at the University of Utah. The author and co-author of numberous publications, in 2007 Dr. Capecchi shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Martin Evans and Oliver Smithies for discovering a method to create “knockout mice” – mice in which a specific gene is turned off.