The Half-Way Point

Embarking on spring break allows us some slight breathing room to assess how the semester is going, as well as allowing us to continue planning for our up-coming programs.  We have had some excellent, thought-provoking events thus far, including the on-going initiative encouraging the MIT community to consider MIT's relationship to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

One of the cornerstones of our spring semester is our undergraduate ethics seminar. We have more than twenty students in the class and they are engaged and curious young people; we have had substantive and enlivening discussions and our guests have encouraged our students to think deeply about a number of issues.

Guest David Howse inspired with his conversation about navigating racism with truth and dignity; Kieran Setiya explored the ethics of climate change; and Ben Tarnoff helped students understand the possible fall-out of AI and the power of tech workers in creating positive change in the world. At the start of the semester, Dr. Abby Everett Jaques, our fearless leader from MIT Philosophy, taught an "ethics boot camp" session and followed up with a substantive discussion on the ethics of AI. 

The students are required to write three, short papers during the semester, reflecting on an event that they have attended: a panel discussion, a thought-provoking play or film, or a talk that offers some kind of ethical dilemma. The first round of reflections have been submitted and it is a joy to read these papers; they are thoughtful and insightful and the students ask deep and searching questions as part of these reflections. 

We are grateful to these students. They are taking time out of their incredibly busy lives to consider the larger world and their place in it and learning to create an ethical framework for living their lives.