Monday, Jan. 30, Elizabethtown College hosted the first of two pre-Ware lectures.
These lectures were designed to lead up and relate to the 11th Annual Ware Lecture, which will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 6 in Leffler Chapel and Performance Center.
This year’s speaker is Dr. Jonathan Haidt, a professor of ethical leadership at New York University’s Stern School of Business. The main topic of Haidt’s lecture will be morals.
Monday’s pre-Ware event, which was led by political science Department Chair Dr. April Kelly-Woessner and titled “My Morals,” also discussed morals and how people relate their morals to their personal experiences.
Before the discussion, students took a survey that asked them to list different moral ideas in order of importance and describe how their personal lists could be used to help them determine things like their ideals or political stances.
One moral idea that came up during the discussion was the idea of harm. This moral was listed high by some of the students in attendance.
“Those who test high on harm tend to be more liberal,” Kelly-Woessner said.
Political affiliation was discussed often throughout the event. This led to discussions of controversial topics within today’s politics and society in general.
“Each political side shares the same morals. They would just rank them differently,” Kelly-Woessner said.
This divide could also be observed among the different students in the room and how their different values ranked compared to each other.
The students who attended represented many different majors. Some came from a political science background, while others came from the College’s business department. One attendee was an English major.
The fact that this discussion attracted students from many fields of study showed that discussions about morals spark interest and appeal to broad ranges of people even in today’s society. An understanding of society’s and one’s own morals can be helpful to students in any major.
Another pre-Ware lecture event took place Wednesday, Feb. 1 as a “Wednesday at 11” event. This event was held in Gibble Auditorium.
This lecture, titled “Is Profit Evil? Neglect of Incentives and Anti-Profit Beliefs,” was given by Dr. Jason Dana, an Assistant Professor of management and marketing at the Yale University School of Management.
Dana’s lecture was about the idea that profit is not always made for the right reasons. He mentioned that some even consider making a profit to be evil.
Though the lecture focused mainly on business-related topics, students from many other departments were also in attendance.
Dana started his lecture by explaining the idea that some actions that people take to make a profit could be harmful to society or even misinterpreted as something evil.
He then described bad profits and what makes them bad.
According to Dana, a bad profit is made when someone takes actions including restricting competition, deceives consumers and uses unpriced externalities in order to make said profit.
He summed up his explanation by describing the process of making bad profits as “basically stealing a larger piece of pie for yourself, where no one else profits.”
He then went on to describe good profits. Good profits involve things such as new products, product improvements and efficient production.
Dana described good profits as involving actions that “enlarge the pie, where everyone gets a bigger piece and profits.”
This led to a discussion about the entire idea that profits can be seen as either good or harmful to those within a company and to society in general.
Even though only Dana’s lecture was related to business, the two pre-Ware events did cover some overlapping material.
“Some businesspeople don’t like government intervention depending on political affiliation,” Dana said, tying his topic to Kelly-Woessner’s.
This then led the conversation into the idea of profit’s effects on society, business and even people’s political affiliations and morals.
Dana described how a person’s morals could influence how they interpret what would be considered good profit or bad profit.
Both of these lectures tie in to Haidt’s upcoming Ware Lecture.
Haidt specializes in discussing morality, emotions and how different cultural backgrounds can affect one’s perception of their own morals.
This connection can be seen through the pre-Ware events’ discussions of ideals and morals among business transactions and even in today’s society.
The Ware Lecture is open to the public. The annual lecture is made possible by Judy ’67 and Paul W. Ware.
Tickets are free but need to be reserved.