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What is the role of science in work on ethics and human rights? This webinar outlines the intimate relationship between human rights and ethics, and discusses how empirical, evidence-based research plays a critical role in revealing important, often counter-intuitive, findings about human rights.

Prof. Kristen Renwick Monroe’s research on altruism and moral choice -- The Heart of Altruism (1996), The Hand of Compassion (2004), and Ethics in an Age of Terror and Genocide (2012) -- has demonstrated how identity trumps choice, setting a menu of options that sets and delineates the range of choices available to us cognitively, not just morally. Her work identifies limitations in rational choice theory, cost-benefit analysis, psychology, and evolutionary biology, and modifies traditional philosophical understandings of how we make moral choices, challenging assumptions underlying Utilitarianism and Kantian ethical theory. Prof. Mneesha Gellman, President of the Human Rights Section of the American Political Science Association, will also discuss her research on human rights and democratization.

Panelists include:

  • Kristen Renwick Monroe: A Distinguished Professor of Political Science at UC Irvine and founding Director of its Ethics Center. With over 22 books on politics, ethics, and psychology, Monroe is best known for her award-winning trilogy on altruism and moral choice.
  • Mneesha Gellman: Associate Professor of Political Science in the Marlboro Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. Her research spans human rights, democratization, and education politics across the globe.
  • Ann Marie Clark (moderator): Professor of Political Science at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. She has published a number of articles and books on international human rights ideas and law in international politics, and the work of nongovernmental actors in fostering human rights change at the global level. 
  • John Dale (host): He is Director of Movement Engaged Research Hub, Center for Social Science Research at George Mason University and Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology (GMU).

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