The UC Santa Cruz Philosophy Department will host the third annual Peggy Downes Baskin Ethics Lecture on Thursday, January 31, at 4 p.m. in the UCSC Humanities Building 1, Room 210.

The featured speaker is Jan Boxill, director of the Parr Center for Ethics, chair of the faculty, and senior lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Boxill will speak on the topic “Using Sports as a Public Forum for Ethics.”

Admission is free, and the public is invited.

Boxill noted that sports play a significant role in the lives of millions of people throughout the world, as participants, fans, spectators, and critics.

“Our moral senses are touched every day by all the public attention paid to sports—even those who are uninvolved, bored or critical of sports are often affected by them,” said Boxill.

“Sport provides a unique model for understanding our own society, for seeing who we are, especially our ethics,” said Boxill. “Sports are moral hot zones—they dramatize our virtues and vices, and in so doing, show us when we fail to live up to our principles.”

“Sports mirror, reinforce, strengthen and shape our ethical patterns—especially respect,” she added.

Boxill is the editor of Sports Ethics and has written various articles on ethics in sports, Title IX, and affirmative action. She is currently working on a book titled Front Porch Ethics: The Moral Significance of Sport, and co-editing an anthology, Free Speech and Censorship.

The annual ethics lecture at UCSC is made possible by the Peggy Downes Baskin Humanities Endowment for Interdisciplinary Ethics, a fund created in honor of her longtime interest in ethical issues across the academic spectrum.

“There are so many areas in which ethical problems arise--in journalism, politics, medicine--and the endowment emphasizes the need to address these issues in a cross-disciplinary context,” said Baskin.

During her time in Santa Cruz, Boxill will meet with various student groups and faculty at UCSC.

She will also serve as Judge and Honorary Chair of the first ever California Regional High School Ethics Bowl Competition hosted by UCSC on Saturday, February 2.

“This is a new program,” noted Kyle Robertson, a doctoral student in philosophy and coach of the UCSC student Ethics Bowl Team. “We have invited high schools from across the Bay Area to compete, and the top high schools will qualify for the first ever National High School Ethics Bowl at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, in April.”

Last December, Robertson helped lead the UCSC team to a first place tie in the regional Ethics Bowl competition for college students, earning the campus a spot at the National Ethics Bowl Tournament in San Antonio, Texas on February 28.

“Given the crises and failures we have witnessed in many aspects of public life, it is crucial we teach ethics in today’s world,” noted Boxill.

“Every day we are faced with issues that force us to think about ethics, and usually when we least expect it, but often we are ill-equipped to deal with them. So we react to the situations based on our intuitions or our past experiences, rather than from reasoned action, or critical thinking,” she added.

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“Using Sports as a Public Forum for Ethics”--the 3rd annual Peggy Downes Baskin Humanities Ethics Lecture--will take place on Thursday, January 31, at 4 p.m. in the UCSC Humanities Building 1, Room 210. Admission is free and the public is invited. For more information, call (831) 459-5655.

UCSC will host the first California Regional High School Ethics Bowl Competition on Saturday, February 2, on the UCSC campus. For more information, contact Kyle Robertson, kxrobert@ucsc.edu.