Author speaks on 21st century ethics

Thursday, March 10, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 2:56 p.m. CDT, Thursday, June 26, 2008

The United States needs to be more ethically fit, author and law professor Anita L. Allen said Monday.

“When people do something ethically bad, they justify their actions, saying they needed to do it,” Allen said. “People should admit that being ethical is hard; they need to be their own role models.”

Allen, who teaches at the University of Pennsylvania, spoke at Stephens College about her book, “The New Ethics: A Guided Tour of the Twenty-First Century Moral Landscape.”

The book explores ethical problems in society today and offers suggestions to make a more ethical world. Allen told about 60 listeners how she began publishing her work and about the content of her recent book.

Rex Stevens, Stephens’ vice president for academic affairs, brought Allen to campus after reading “The New Ethics.”

“I found the book interesting because it was written in first person and is clearly for young people and people without prior knowledge of philosophy,” Stevens said. He said he talked with Allen about how to make ethics more central to campus.

Cat Withrow, a senior at Stephens, read the book as part of a philosophy course in her minor. “It puts ethics at a very accessible level,” she said.

Allen’s visit was part of Stephens’ celebration of Women’s History Month. At 3 p.m. Friday, an open-mic event will be held on the penthouse level in the Hugh Stephens Library; the event is free and open to the public. Themes for the month include “Women in Design” and “Women in Business and Politics.”

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