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Royal Institute of Philosophy Lecture: The Morality Of University Decision-Makers

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Royal Institute of Philosophy Lecture: The Morality Of University Decision-Makers

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Dr Cecile Hatier, University of Wolverhampton


Ethical failures in UK Higher Education have recently made the news, with the LSE’s relationship with Saif Gaddafi, and the University of Wales’ failings in its course validation processes. Analyses of unethical modes of conduct, in the literature on HE policy, have a tendency to adopt a “business ethics” stakeholders approach, and to emphasise the necessity of following corporate ethical codes of conduct and implementing them through tight administrative structures. These methods can be misleading. This paper will argue that the moral reasoning of university decision-makers is best compared, instead, with that of politicians. It will attempt to draw a comparative ethical analysis of the conduct of politicians and staff in academia, and unearth similarities in the dirty hands dilemmas that both categories are facing. Comparing dirty hands scenarii will help assess whether ethical failures in HE are the sign of deterioration in current conditions, or a more constant, yet neglected feature, of decision-making at university level.

About the speaker

Cécile Hatier is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy and Politics at the University of Wolverhampton in the Midlands, where she was previously course leader for French. Her research interests are in political ideologies (liberalism in particular) and in morality in the public sphere, including in politics. She has published articles on R. Aron and I. Berlin's liberalism.

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