Philosophy and Public Policy, Part 7 of 7: Professional Ethics, Civil Rights, and Affirmative Action

John Caldwell and David Moore comment on distinctions between higher education and university life in England and the United States. They address questions of national standards and admissions selectivity, as well as the process by which universities are established, funded, and accredited in both countries.

After a break [10:15], William Bennett, Steven Cahn, and James Rachels continue their discussion on philosophy and public policy in part seven of the series on the topic. They review the main lines of the debate over affirmative action, the state and inequality, and discriminatory activity in America.  Addressed along with these topics are some attempts to correct past policy missteps and the idea that “two wrongs don’t make a right.” Included in this debate is how the public perceives fairness. Another issue raised is the notion that philosophers should have “answers” to life’s questions; included are discussions on the nature of moral agency and the average person’s responsibility for his or her own actions.

At the time of this interview, Moore was principal of Nelson and Colne College in Lancashire, United Kingdom, and an education advisor to Grenada Television International. Caldwell was chancellor emeritus of North Carolina State University.

Bennett was director of the National Humanities Center. Cahn was a visitor to the Center from the Rockefeller Foundation. Rachels was the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and a professor of philosophy at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

This edition of Soundings was conducted by Wayne J. Pond.

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