The Brown Bag Talks feature guest lecture

This week, the Brown Bag Talks – a new series hosted by the Philosophy department, featured guest lecture, Dr. Evan Tiffany. Read on to hear his thoughts on the dilemna of moral choice.

By Kari Michaels

Doctor Evan Tiffany, a philosophy professor at SFU, was the latest speaker for Kwantlen Philosophy Department’s “Brown Bag Talk” series on Nov. 3.

“Condemned to be Free: Morality and the Paradox of Existential Commitment” was aimed at discussing the quandary of moral choices.

Tiffany explained his view as ‘radical pluralism’, suggesting the traditional systems devised to gage what is right and wrong fails to recognize and account for the intricacies in our lives.

As asserted by Tiffany, the singular focus of deontological and consequential ethics does not grasp the overwhelming complexities effecting our decisions. Further, pluralism (a combination of consequentialism and deontologism) is not a broad enough perspective to encompass the human experience.

Tiffany, therefore, offers us ‘radical pluralism’, a view intended to capture the complex qualities of who we are.

He thinks we must “live morality,” as moral events are context based and require we regard not only consequences and our humanity, but also our profession, our place within our community, our emotional state during the event, and other aspects that form us.

Tiffany labels these our ‘platforms’, taken from Elisah Millgram’s work, and claims by understanding how we wish to align these platforms will aid in which moral decision we  commit ourselves to, allowing us to maintain our moral integrity.

Tiffany explains, “we are condemned to be moral,” playing on the famous quote by renowned existentialist Jean Paul Sartre, “we are condemned to be free.”

Tiffany stresses that we are responsible for the decisions we make and, moreover, we must make some decision, even if it is to step away from morality. ‘Radical pluralism’ and its embracement of the platforms found in our lives allow us to account for the multifaceted nature of our mind and behaviours.

About The Brown Bag Talks:
Dr.’s Patrick Findler and Colin Ruloff organize a philosophical lecture that brings in guest speakers to discuss interesting and modern ideas. Previous discussion topics include: “Are Video Games Works of Art?” and “Promises, promises: Can you obligate yourself to have sex with someone?.”

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