The semester has begun and with it the undergraduate ethics seminar that we co-host with MIT Philosophy. We are incredibly fortunate to have Dr. Abby Everett Jaques teaching the class this semester. Dr. Jaques received her PhD in Philosophy from MIT and is now teaching for the department. Her area of interest and research is the ethics of AI--certainly a timely and provocative issue.
Our first class was lively, with a very full classroom of engaged and curious undergraduates. During the class, we asked students to write two topics that are top-of-mind for them on an index card. As I culled through and categorized the students' responses, I was full of gratitude for this group of young people. They are clearly already doing the hard work of reflection and eager to do more.
The class will give them not only the tools to do this, but also a supportive community where, each week, they can converse with fellow students. The topics on the index cards ranged from the "big life" questions such as What is moral? Where do morals come from? Do ethics and morals change from place to place, era to era? to the more personal: What is my purpose? Can I have a fulfilling life and do good work? How do I juggle my activism with the rest of my life? What about eating meat?
Each year, we tell students that they will probably leave the class in May with many more quesions than when they arrived in February. We assure them that this is a good thing. As we travel together on this journey, I look forward to seeing where these conversations will take all of us and what those many questions will be.