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Ethically Speaking: An Interdisciplinary Speaker Series on Contemporary Moral Issues

by Stephen M. Kuebler, D.Phil., UCF Professor of Chemistry and Optics, Founding Associate Director – UCF Center for Ethics

Think about the implications of gene editing, artificial intelligence, and our changing climate. Intersections between technology, values, and communities in our rapidly changing world raise important ethical questions.  The UCF Center for Ethics partnered with units across campus to create Ethically Speaking – a series of lectures by nationally renowned researchers, thinkers and leaders who explore contemporary moral issues.

Throughout academic year 2021/2022, Ethically Speaking hosted monthly lectures covering issues as varied as drone warfare, artificial life, biotechnology and global health, climate change, and even how ethical issues themselves are quantified.  The discussions were led by leading experts on the topics, and participants were able to engage speakers directly in Q&A afterward.  Links to recordings of past events can be found here.

Past topics in Ethically Speaking.


Ethically Speaking was organized by Dr. Steve Kuebler, professor of chemistry and optics, and Dr. Jonathan Beever, associate professor of philosophy.  Beever and Kuebler are founding directors of the UCF Center for Ethics.

The series was kick-started with support from the UCF College of Graduate Studies through a Doctoral Program Seminar, Workshop, or Conference Support award, administered by senior associate dean Dr. John Weishampel.  These funds were matched by generous support from many academic and support-units across UCF, including the College of Arts and Humanities; College of Science; College of Community Innovation and Education; CREOL, The College of Optics and Photonics; the Office of Compliance, Ethics, and Risk; and the Departments of Chemistry, Physics, Philosophy, Psychology, Biology, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Materials Science and Engineering.

Compliance and following rules are certainly important.  But how we understand and value ethics really determine how well we promulgate and engage with rules and policies.  Ethics touches every aspect of our lives, both personal and professional.  And big-picture issues like those explored in Ethically Speaking bring home the importance of having an ethical core, particularly as technological innovation pushes the boundary of what is possible, and what is permissible.

The Center for Ethics and partners in Ethically Speaking hope the series helps everyone appreciate how ethical frameworks can help us all make positive and productive choices, particularly when values come into conflict.  Click the links here to find out more about Ethically Speaking and other activities of the UCF Center for Ethics.