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newsletter from the

Values-Based Education Program Fall 2010

In this issue Bombing Civilians in World War II: Lessons for Today?..........................2 ESOL: Building Bridges and Values..............................................3 A Disturbing Note...........................4 Ethics and Using People for Research..........................................5 The Bible and Ethical Norms...........7 Retirements......................................9 Book Reviews................................10

Contact: Raymond J. Devettere Department of Philosophy Emmanuel College 400 The Fenway Boston, MA 02115

Note from the Editor Raymond j. Devettere professor of philosophy and director of values-based education

Welcome to the fourth annual Values-Based Education Newsletter. I am especially grateful to Associate Professor of History Melanie Murphy for her thought-provoking piece reminding us that the deliberate bombing of civilians to create terror is not a new phenomenon. Her article not only reminds us of the value of history for understanding the world we live in, but the importance of realizing that we cannot teach history to our students without at least suggesting that they become aware of the moral values and disvalues embedded in historical events. Carpet-bombing of civilians during World War II has more in common with the terrorist bombings of civilians today than most care, or dare, to admit. I am also most grateful to Crista Carrick Mahoney for her report of a wonderful program developed by Campus Ministry whereby students engage in outreach to some of the many people working at Emmanuel who are not proficient in speaking and writing English. The English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program that she describes is an example of the bottom line in any worthwhile values-based education. It is not enough to learn about values and virtues in the classroom; values and virtues are worthless until they are lived. As Aristotle suggested: A musician who knows all about music but never plays her instrument is not really a musician. My thanks also to Professor Emeritus of Psychology Michael St. Clair for his moving reflection on decades of teaching at Emmanuel. It has been a privilege to be a colleague of Dr. St. Clair’s for years and I will be among those who will greatly miss him. He brought a unique wisdom and a grace to the campus that many of us will now experience as something valuable lost. Associate Professor of Religious Studies Father Thomas Leclerc, M.S. has again contributed a thoughtful and thought-provoking article to the newsletter, this time on the complicated role that biblical texts play in Christian ethics. In the Catholic tradition, biblical texts are a valuable source of moral insight, but not the only one. Practical wisdom and the long tradition dating back to the early centuries of Christianity are also fundamental sources of moral judgment for Catholics. Anyone who has pondered questionable moral examples and teachings in both the Hebrew and Christian Bible will be grateful for Father Leclerc’s clear explanation of a complicated topic. These articles provide but a few examples of how faculty and staff are making the effort to integrate spiritual and moral values with the educational mission of the College. Many thanks,

Raymond J. Devettere

Bombing Civilians in World War II: Lessons for Today? Associate Professor of History Melanie Murphy

Waging war has been a signal subject for ethical consideration for centuries and arguably the Second World War is the defining war of the contemporary world. It lasted from 1939 to 1945, brought death to millions, and left widespread destruction across the globe. It also raised new questions about a new way of waging war: dropping bombs from aircraft to kill civilians and destroy their daily needs — food, water, shelter, electricity, heat, public safety and so forth. As early as 1921, the Italian general Guilio Douhet foresaw what was to come. He wrote that the next war would feature “fleets of warplanes headed toward the vital centers of enemy nations to paralyze and destroy them.” The “vital centers” of the enemy, of course, are where people, and their children, are trying to live. What Douhet predicted soon came to pass. Within a few years the British had bombed civilian centers in Iraq, and then the Italians bombed them in Abyssinia, the French bombed them in Morocco, and the Germans bombed them in Spain. At the start of World War II, the Germans targeted London and Coventry, and the British retaliated. Late in 1940, Churchill and other British leaders instructed Bomber Command to aim for the center of major German cities. The goal was no longer to destroy military targets; it was now to cause the widespread destruction of cities in the hope that the people’s morale would crumble and their support for their government would collapse. Sir Arthur Harris became chief of Bomber Command early in 1942 and vigorously ordered the bombing of civilian centers. Night after night, British bombers struck at major German cities and left hordes of civilians dead. During one week in July 1943, for example, British air raids on Hamburg, ironically a city where the Nazis had little support, started huge fire storms that left over 100,000 civilians, many of them children, dead and many more burned and wounded. About 50,000 civilians died in Hamburg on the night

of July 27th alone. Other city centers, especially Berlin, were hit repeatedly with explosive bombs and incendiaries designed to start firestorms that would burn long after the bombers left. Only after the senseless bombing of Dresden in the spring of 1945 did Churchill have second thoughts: “It seems to me that the moment has come when the question of bombing German cities simply for the sake of increasing the terror, though under other pretexts, should be reviewed” (cf. Bernard Brodie, War and Politics, p. 404). He finally stopped bombing the cities “for the sake of increasing the terror” only weeks before the German surrender. Bombing densely populated cities such as Berlin and Hamburg simply for the sake of increasing terror and hysteria among civilians in the hope they would pressure the government to stop the war was a matter of British policy, yet few raised the obvious moral question. For the most part, however, American bombers that flew from England did not engage in area bombing; they focused on the precision bombing of military targets. The same cannot be said for the American bombing policy in Japan. Here, in the last months of the war in 1945, American-heavy bombers began targeting Japanese cities with incendiaries. One firebombing raid of Tokyo during the night of March 9th-10th, for example, killed over 100,000 people and destroyed over 250,000 buildings, about 25 percent of the city. By June, more than a third of the six largest cities (Tokyo, Nagoya, Kobe, Osaka, Yokohama and Kawasaki) were burned out. Once the Americans began bombing Japanese cities and civilians rather than military targets and enemy soldiers, the decision to use atomic weapons on two cities several months later was no longer a radical shift in policy. Fire bombs had already killed more civilians in Japan than the atomic bombs did in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. What does the allied bombing of

civilian centers in World War II have to teach us today? One lesson to keep in mind is an obvious one: the victor gets to right the wrongs and write the rules. No postwar trials prosecuted any British and American policy makers who authorized carpet bombings of civilians. And when the Geneva Conventions for conducting war were formulated in 1949, those formulating the rules of war declined to mention, let alone outlaw, the bombing of civilians. Only in 1977 was there an addendum making such bombing illegal. Ironically the crimes against humanity for which Nazi leaders were tried at Nuremberg included the “wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity, and inhumane acts committed against any civilian population.” (cf. A.C. Grayling, Among Dead Cities: the History and Moral Legacy of the World War II Bombings of Civilian in Germany and Japan, 233-237). A second lesson might well be how important it is to realize that complex systems such as political and military organizations can easily slide into immorality without awakening a broad-based ethical consciousness. We are only beginning to realize the power of complex social systems, whether military, political, economic, religious or even academic, to blur our moral vision. Here ethics needs the critical thinking of sociology and psychology, as well as history, lest we stumble into the very crimes we accuse our enemies of committing. A third lesson might be the possibility that deep down many do know that the targeting of civilian centers was wrong, a twinge of conscience that could help us avoid it in the future. After the German surrender, for example, Arthur Harris understandably expected to be lauded for the work his Bomber Command did against the enemy. It didn’t happen. Unlike other well-known commanders, he was not rewarded by his government, which was now instead, embarrassed by the civilian bombing. He was snubbed and ignored.

Disappointed, and not without resentment, he left England to finish his life in his native Rhodesia. Perhaps more telling is the tale told in Westminster Abbey. There one can see the plaque honoring Fighter Command, the command that sent the Spitfires and Hurricanes up day after day to defend the homeland against German bombers, beginning with the famous 1940 Battle of Britain. The name of every pilot in Fighter Command who lost his life in the war is inscribed on that plaque. There is no plaque for Bomber Command, a much larger command that lost many more pilots and crew during the war than did Fighter Command. The names of these pilots are not recorded in the Abbey. It is as if the nation wants to forget what Bomber Command did during those awful years and it could not

bring itself to honor those young men who lost their lives flying the bombers. It is, of course, hard to be proud of targeting civilians, yet these young men were courageous despite being caught up in a complex political and military system that deadened moral conscience. Their courage and sacrifice should not be forgotten, nor should the morally questionable bombing approved by Churchill and carried out by Harris be forgotten, nor should the carpet bombing of Japanese cities approved by Truman and carried out by LeMay be forgotten. We need to continue to wrestle with the moral issues involved here. Some of these issues have been considered in Faculty Research Seminars at Emmanuel. In April 2010, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Laurie Johnston gave a presentation of the “Just War Theory” adopted by Christian

theologians, beginning with Augustine, and led a follow-up discussion that focused on the war in Iraq. In November 2008, Assistant Professor of English Christopher Craig read his paper on John Hershey’s Hiroshima and the rather bland reaction of the American press at the time of the bombing, including the New Yorker, which emphasized the end of the war and the triumph of the American way of life, not the moral issues of devastating the civilian populations of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Tokyo and other major Japanese cities. The honest study of history with both eyes open is important because it is one of the ways we keep our sense of moral values alive and help our students become ethical decision makers. S

ESOL: Building Bridges and Values Campus Minister for Social Justice and Education Crista Carrick Mahoney

“Kids these days!” We all remember grandparents and parents shaking their heads, recalling bygone days as better days and bemoaning the state of the youth. Today is no different. We worry about the ever-increasing time that our students are “plugged in” to their computers, their cell phones, their Blackberries. We worry about the hook-up culture on college campuses and wonder why dating seems to have died off. And we worry about the fate of young people who claim to be “spiritual but not religious.” How do we teach a plugged-in, hooking-up, spiritual-but-notreligious generation something like values? During my first year as campus minister for social justice and education, I have been struck by how profoundly the ESOL: Building Bridges program espouses the values of community, care and stewardship through human relationships between Emmanuel students, faculty and staff and employees of companies working on campus. The ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) program offers opportunities for students, staff

or faculty to volunteer one hour a week to tutor employees of both Bon Appétit (the College’s food service provider) and Harvard Maintenance (the College’s cleaning service) in English. The program is especially unique because the service happens within the campus community itself. Sister Peggy Cummins, SND was the founder of the program in 2007. Sister Peggy, who now continues her work with ESOL as the director of volunteers at the Notre Dame Education Center in South Boston, remembers going into the dining hall for lunch one day and being struck by the realization that many of the food service employees working for Bon Appétit spoke little or no English. She found herself asking, “Here they are in an academic atmosphere. What can we do for them? We can do something for them! What are our gifts that we can offer?” So Sister Peggy began her mission. She recruited 15 faculty, staff and student tutors. The Education Department provided workshops on lesson planning. Soon 20 ESOL

students from Bon Appétit and Harvard Maintenance were receiving private lessons in English. The ESOL program continues going strong today. During the 2009 fall semester, there were 21 tutors matched with ESOL students and 24 in the 2010 spring semester. As the needs of the students evolve, so does the program. Student Coordinator Megan LaPorte ’11 has planned conversation groups to start during the 2010 fall semester. Each group will have four-to-six ESOL students led by two tutors to practice conversational skills needed in a more social setting. Like most of the ESOL tutors, Megan learned about the program by word of mouth. When the Honors Colloquium hosted a panel of faculty and staff to talk about social justice she spoke with Associate Director of Community Service and Service Learning Deirdre Bradley-Turner about the student coordinator position. Through the colloquium, she realized that she needed to start “paying more attention to what’s really going on in the world around me.” continued on page 4

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She thought that the ESOL program was a great place to start. One of the things that makes the ESOL program so powerful is the relationships that are formed. Students become more aware of the “other” who is right here, part of their everyday community. Tutor Katie Farrell ’12 observed that there is often a “barrier between those who are employed at Emmanuel and those who attend,” but her experience tutoring her student, Jose, in English “opened doors” that were more than just about verb tenses and vocabulary — it opened the door to a friendship. Sister Peggy Cummins’ vision for the program continues today. Eliane Gomes, the supervisor and liaison for Harvard Maintenance employees, speaks of the respect and appreciation the program builds on campus as the people involved learn about one another and their different cultures. Jose Gonzaga Santos from Harvard Maintenance shares how he was afraid to speak up before his tutoring classes, but now he understands people more and has the self-confidence to communicate in English with co-workers, friends and students. It bridges the gap between strangers when they begin to see one another as part of the same community, to “call each other by name,” as Sister Peggy says. My involvement in the ESOL: Building Bridges program this year has also helped me understand the charism and mission of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. As a religious order, the Sisters are called to have “hearts as wide as the world.” At a time when immigration is a hot-button issue in our nation, we supplant anonymity and tension with relationships and understanding between tutors and students who begin to have a broader world view as they learn about one another through conversation. Moreover, the mission of the Sisters of Notre Dame is to educate for life. One of the first things I talk about with the tutors in their orientation is to remember that their students are adult learners. Some of the ESOL students have very little education, some have college and graduate degrees, but all of them bring their own life stories and wisdom. It is in the mutual

sharing of stories that we model what it truly means to promote the dignity of human life, listening to, honoring and encouraging each other’s best self. ESOL: Building Bridges is one of Emmanuel College’s ways of living out Gospel values and Catholic social teaching. It is how I see our students following the call of discipleship. You do not have to be Catholic to be part of the program (some students are Catholic, some are Christian and some are agnostic), but when I walk through the second floor of the Yawkey Center and see a sophomore tutor nodding and encouraging her Brazilian student, I hear the words of Matthew echo in my head: “… for I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Mt. 25:35). When an Emmanuel student tells me how he is always careful now to clean up his table in the cafeteria to make his ESOL student’s job a little easier, I see stewardship in action. We are reminded again and again to love our neighbor in the Gospels, and philosopher Simone Weil says that loving your neighbor means being able to say, “What are you going through?” When I listen to a tutor and an ESOL student share how they have become friends by communicating bilingually, I know that they have asked one another that same question and rooted their relationship in compassion and care. Values are not just something taught in a classroom, but something practiced, something we all learn by doing. Thus values-based education goes beyond the classroom to educate and engage the whole person, body, mind and spirit. So how do we teach values to “kids these days”? How do we help form students as caring and committed young adults? In the early church, Peter encouraged Christian communities to use their gifts to serve one another. “As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10). We offer students opportunities to build on the foundation already laid by caring parents and teachers and to use their gifts to help someone struggling to earn a living on campus. Thus we create a culture that values the human dignity of all and builds community in new ways. S

A Disturbing Note

Ethics and Using People for Research Director of Values-Based Education/Professor of Philosophy Ray Devettere

The first-ever large-scale study comparing the attitudes of young adults and those over 40 conducted by the Josephson Institute of Ethics in late 2009 revealed some disturbing facts. For example, young adults ages 18-24 are three times more likely than those over 40 to believe that lying and cheating are necessary to succeed. Perhaps more disturbing is the finding that most of those (87%) who believe in lying and cheating state that they are satisfied with their ethics and moral character. Ironically, 92% of young adults ages 18-24 also believe that schools should be more active in seeking to instill core character values such as honesty in young children. The Josephson Institute has conducted biennial surveys of high school students for many years. The surveys have revealed a deterioration of moral values among high school students over the years. The latest 2009 survey extended to older groups, and some of the data suggests, according to the Institute, that cheaters and liars in high school are much more likely to cheat and lie in their adult personal and professional lives. Although surveys such as this have some value in understanding today’s college students, there is no way of knowing for sure what respondents to such surveys really believe. After all, it is possible that older adults responding to the survey were more likely than the younger generation to lie about their lying and cheating! That being said, most professors are aware that electronic devices and the Internet have introduced powerful new ways to cheat in college and have eroded among the young a sense of what constitutes dishonesty. The hope at Emmanuel is that faculty, by example as well as by word, can integrate such values as honesty and integrity into their course material. For more information see S

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Using people in biomedical and behavioral research is often the only way we can advance science and develop a better understanding of human behavior. In fact, the FDA will not approve new drugs and medical devices without human trials that involve thousands of people. Yet people are not things or nonrational animals, and we cannot use them as things or non-rational animals in our scientific research without dehumanizing them. Treating people merely as means to our ends, no matter how laudable those ends, undermines their dignity as well as the researcher’s moral integrity. Thus, behavioral and biomedical research that uses people as research subjects presents us with an ethical conundrum. There is something not quite right about using human beings as research material, yet there is something quite right about pursuing biomedical and behavioral science that requires human beings as research material. Unfortunately, recent history shows that both behavioral and biomedical researchers have mistreated people in the name of science. Although Emmanuel faculty members do not use human beings for biomedical research (e.g., experiments using drugs, medical devices, genetic engineering and so forth) they do use human beings for behavioral research, especially in the fields of psychology and sociology. And they do direct the projects of students that use people as research subjects in the behavioral sciences. At Emmanuel, we take ethics seriously; we make it a point to say that one of the goals of an Emmanuel education is to help our students become ethical decision-makers. So how do we deal with this ethical conundrum? How do we reconcile our moral uneasiness about using people in scientific behavioral research with our concern for respecting the inherent dignity of each and every human being, a concern that precludes our treating anyone as an object or simply as means to achieving our goals? How do

we protect the dignity and welfare of the human beings that faculty and students are using in their research? We strive to manage this ethical conflict chiefly in three ways: the assurance that we have given the Department of Health and Human Services; the existence of the Institutional Review Board; and the College’s culture of education shaped by strong ethical values. 1. Emmanuel’s Federal Assurance

Several years ago, the College took a major step towards protecting the dignity of the human beings whom the faculty and students use in their research, when it formally gave assurance to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that all its employees and students will be guided both by the three ethical principles of the famous Belmont Report and by the federal regulations governing research on human beings, known as the Common Rule. This formal commitment to HHS is known as the Federal Wide Assurance (FWA). The FWA is the first line of defense that protects human beings whom professors and students are using in their research. The crucial Belmont Report was published in 1979 by the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects in Biomedical and Behavioral Research (1974–1978). The report sets forth the three ethical principles that guide all federally funded research using human beings. Those three principles require researchers to: • respect the persons being used in the research, • secure the well-being of the persons used in research, • distribute fairly among the persons used in the research the burdens and benefits of the research. Ethicists and government regulators usually summarize these three principles as 1) respect for persons, 2) beneficence and 3) justice. As adequate ethical guidelines they leave much unsaid, but they are an important starting point in research ethics, especially since institutions that have

formalized the FWA with the department of HHS, as Emmanuel has done, have explicitly agreed to follow them. The primary way researchers respect persons used in research is by obtaining their fully informed and voluntary consent. This means the scientists disclose to them the nature and goals of the research, allow them to choose freely without pressure whether or not they want to participate, and allow them to drop out of the research at any time without any penalty. Investigators who attempt to conduct research using people without informing them that the project is intended for presentation as research, or who do not obtain informed and voluntary consent, clearly violate this principle. If, for example, a survey is going to be used for research (i.e., people intend to publish the data or present it at conferences, etc.) the people taking the survey have to know that the survey is research and not simply a survey, and they also have to know that they can freely decline to participate or withdraw at any time without any penalty. Researchers secure the well-being of the persons they use in research chiefly by maintaining a favorable balance of possible harms to the persons used in the research, to their families, and to the society at large with the expected benefits. Researchers need to consider more than physical harms; behavioral research can cause emotional, social, legal and economic harms. Researchers distribute fairly the burdens and benefits of research when they select people fairly and avoid taking advantage of vulnerable populations such as the poor, the institutionalized, the economically disadvantaged, prisoners, children, racial minorities and so forth. In medical settings, physicians cannot put pressure on their patients to volunteer for research, and in academic settings, professors cannot pressure their students to volunteer for research without violating this principle. The federal regulations known as the “Common Rule” codify, expand and make obligatory these three ethical continued on page 6

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principles that were recommended in the Belmont Report. The regulations are called the “Common Rule” because the major federal agencies funding research have embraced them. (You can find these regulations online in the Code of Federal Regulations Title 45 Part 46 (45 CFR 46)). The federal regulations define what constitutes research and explain in detail the requirement of informed consent. The FWA is secured at each institution by a senior administrator called the institutional official, who has the responsibility of supporting the ethical conduct of research using human subjects. The institutional official at Emmanuel is Dr. Frank Scully, the vice president for academic affairs. The FWA also requires the establishment of a local committee that must review and approve all research proposals that will use human beings. The federal regulations recognize that researchers using human beings are enmeshed in an unavoidable conflict of interest: the pursuit of their scientific project and the welfare of the people they need to use for their research. To help resolve this conflict of interest, the FWA directs institutions to establish these local ethics committees, which are called institutional review boards (IRBs). 2. Emmanuel’s Institutional Review Board (IRB)

The IRB represents the second line of defense to protect human beings used in research. Before professors and students can begin any research project using human beings, they must submit a thorough description of the proposed research to the local IRB and receive its approval. The main federally mandated task of IRB members is to protect the people whom the researcher wants to use in the study by verifying that the research will be conducted in accordance with the principles of the Belmont Report, the federal regulations governing the protection of human subjects. Thus the IRB verifies that the researcher will tell the participant what the research is about, will obtain fully informed voluntary consent, will protect the physical and emotional well-being of the people enrolled and will ensure that personal information is kept private and

confidential. The IRB also verifies that the proposed study is scientifically important and not trivial and that the selection of people for the study is equitable. Protecting privacy and confidentiality of personal information is not always easy in the age of electronic surveys. Thus privacy can become an issue, especially if the information is sensitive. An item of sensitive data, for example, would be surveys of students intended for research that include questions about illegal behavior. If this information is collected electronically it is especially difficult to guarantee privacy even if it is anonymous. As we know, perhaps from personal experience with our credit cards, computer data collected online is discoverable and traceable even if names and other identifying data have been deleted and scrubbed. Somewhat ironically, many lawyers have now come to believe that paper records stored in locked file cabinets are actually more secure than information collected electronically. In the age of computers and online information we need to realize that electronic information is actually more permanent, and more widely available, than what is “carved in stone.” Hence IRB members are especially vigilant when the research involves sensitive information collected electronically and stored online lest the persons being surveyed in the research project become harmed by its unauthorized use. Researchers using human beings for research cannot even begin their experiments without IRB approval, and the approval is good for one year. If the researchers want to make any change to the approved protocol (e.g., by adding additional researchers, using a modified consent form, changing the number of people enrolled, changing a question on a survey) they must file an amendment with the IRB and request additional approval for the proposed change. Failure to do this puts the researchers in a state of noncompliance with federal regulations and creates a situation that is potentially embarrassing for the College. Federal regulations give the local IRB’s unique authority on campus. Unlike other college committees, which are mostly

advisory, an IRB has ultimate authority. If it disapproves a study, or if it stops a study already underway because researchers are failing to abide by the Belmont Report, the federal regulations, or the requirements for the study mandated by the IRB in its approval, then its decision on campus is final. Neither the administration nor the board of trustees can overrule an IRB research disapproval. (The reverse, however, is not true — the College can decline to allow IRB-approved research on campus.) The first chairperson of the Emmanuel IRB was Associate Professor of Management Diana Stork and the current chair is Associate Professor of Psychology Joyce Benenson, an experienced researcher. The vice chair is Associate Professor of Nursing Geraldine Chalykoff. Although most IRBs meet monthly the Emmanuel board meets bi-weekly during the academic year (and monthly during the summer) to facilitate faculty and student research. In addition to the Federal Wide Assurance and the Institutional Review Board, Emmanuel has in place a third way of assuring that research conducted by faculty and students is ethical: its commitment to strong moral values, ethical decision-making, and its Catholic academic heritage.

what we do than from what we say. So Emmanuel faculty members are conscious that the example they set in conducting their research and mentoring their students is crucial. More than federal regulations and IRB directives the personal moral example of faculty engaged in research using human beings shapes our students’ ethical attitudes. This is so in several ways. First, ethical values such as honesty, transparency, compassion, respect for persons and their privacy, balancing risks and benefits, avoiding exploitation and manipulation, making sure the selection of people for the studies is equitable, providing adequate information and the opportunity for people to opt out of research studies without penalty — all values embedded in the federal regulations — are given an even higher appreciation at Emmanuel precisely because they reflect the moral values of the College. Second, Emmanuel is committed to helping students become ethical decisionmakers and the process of preparing a research protocol for IRB review provides an ideal opportunity for faculty to delve

into the important issues of research ethics. Science faculty teach by example as they design their own research so that it is ethically sound as well as scientifically valuable. They also guide their students in the same direction by example and by making them aware of the vast body of literature in research ethics. The very process of preparing a protocol for IRB review provides an opportunity for faculty and students to reflect on the ethical responsibilities that researchers have toward the human beings who agree to participate in their research. Thus, Emmanuel researchers have an added interest in treating the human beings used in their research well, an interest that goes beyond the Belmont Report, federal regulations, and getting approval from the IRB. They will make sure that their behavioral research, as well as that of their students, is shaped by strong ethical values in accord with the mission of the College. This means that faculty and student research is conducted in accord with ethical ideals that go beyond principles,

regulations and IRB directives. Ultimately the goal is to make ethics an integral part of every research protocol, not something extraneous, so students absorb research ethics along with doing the science. Conclusion

Emmanuel recognizes the importance of scientific research that uses human beings. It also recognizes the value and dignity of every human being, a value and dignity captured in its biblical religious tradition of thinking of human beings as “created in the image and likeness of God.” It strives to protect the human beings used in research by voluntarily ascribing to the FWA and federal regulations governing research using humans, by supporting a well-trained institutional review board, and by setting the tone on campus that will develop a dynamic learning community rooted in the liberal arts and sciences and shaped by strong ethical values. S

The Bible and Ethical Norms Associate Professor of Religious Studies Fr. Thomas L. Leclerc, M.S.

3. Emmanuel’s Mission

Ethics is never far from the work of any IRB, but it takes on an added importance at Emmanuel where it is an integral part of the college mission. Our Catalogue states: Mission: To educate students in a dynamic learning community rooted in the liberal arts and sciences and shaped by strong ethical values and a Catholic academic tradition. (emphasis added) Members of our faculty are expected to share in this mission, or at least not to undermine it, as they educate their students. And, if we listen to the wisdom of the ancient Greeks, the first people to study ethics in a sustained way, the primary way that faculty help students become ethical is not by talking about moral integrity, but by exemplifying it in their work. Students learn more from

When discussing religious ethics with students, it is typical to start with what the Bible has to say. This is not unexpected or unusual. After all, both Jews and Christians look to the Bible as a source for moral values and ethical norms. While there is much good to be found there — few would argue with “love your neighbor” or “do unto others…” — there is also much that requires critical reflection. Sorting out the helpful from the problematic is a challenge for students — and for all reflective people who want to consider seriously the Bible as a source for moral guidance. Here are four problem areas: The first involves how the biblical authors describe the actions and commands of God. God sometimes commands the Israelites to carry out herem against their enemies: this is a war of complete annihilation in which men, women, children and

animals are all indiscriminately and deliberately wiped out (Deut 13:15; 1 Sam 15:3). Sometimes God personally kills people, such as turning Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt (Gen 19:26), slaying all the first born of the Egyptians prior to the Exodus (Exod 12:29), striking down a man who merely touched the Ark of the Covenant (2 Sam 6:6-7), and killing Er for an unspecified crime (Gen 38:7) and Onan, his brother, for failing in his brotherly duties (Gen 38:9-10). If religion is, in part, a matter of imitatio dei, how do the actions of God set ethical standards for human conduct? Should believers think it is acceptable for God to kill people — sometimes for seemingly insignificant failings — simply because he is God? A second problematic area is the issue of capital crimes. In the Bible, there are some 23 crimes punishable by death.

Among those who are to be executed are children who curse their parents (Exod 21:17), children who disobey their parents (Deut 21:18-21), people who work on the Sabbath (Exod 35:2), and people who indulge in gluttony and excessive drinking (Deut 21:20-21). The Bible sets high standards that make the actual imposition of the death penalty very difficult: conviction requires two eyewitnesses. Post-biblical rabbis raise the bar by requiring that capital cases be heard by a court of 23 judges. Later interpreters go further still and devise interpretations of these biblical laws that make capital punishment impossible! Certainly, there are few today who would subscribe to executing rebellious and disobedient children; nevertheless, these laws are still “on the books.” If public consensus and advances in moral reasoning make it possible to ignore such clear continued on page 8

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biblical injunctions, are there other aspects of biblical teaching that can and should also be ignored? Who gets to decide this? Accepting some parts of the Bible but rejecting others poses a serious challenge to believers who look to the Bible as the inspired “word of God” and a revealed source of ethical norms. The “hard sayings” of Jesus are a third area that raises ethical concerns. A few examples will suffice to illustrate the problem. Jesus counsels his followers to cut off their hands or tear out their eyes if they sin with their hands or eyes (Mark 9:43-47). Should a thief’s hand really be cut off? Should someone who watches pornography really gouge out the offending eyes? And what are we to make of Jesus’ command to “love your enemies” (Matt 5:44) but to “hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself” for Jesus’ sake (Luke 14:26)? Are these to be taken literally? There is evidence in the New Testament itself indicating that the first followers of Jesus were flexible in their understanding of Jesus’ sayings and even changed them or ignored them. The case of marriage is instructive. In the Gospel according to Mark (the first canonical gospel to be written), Jesus permits neither divorce nor remarriage — there are no exceptions to his teaching. Matthew takes a different approach. He wrote his gospel about 15 to 20 years after Mark; he had Mark’s Gospel in hand and used it as the basis of his own. When Matthew comes to the teaching on divorce, however, he does allow an exception: there is no divorce “except for porneia,” variously translated as “unchastity” (NRSV), “marital unfaithfulness” (NIV), “adultery” (KJV, Douay), “unlawful marriage” (NAB), and “illicit marriage” (NJB). While the exact meaning of the Greek word porneia is debated (it is the root for the English word “pornography”), Matthew’s account clearly allows an exception to Mark’s version of Jesus’ hard teaching. St. Paul finds another exception in the case of a marriage between a Christian and a non-Christian: If the non-believer wants to divorce, the Christian is no longer bound to the marriage and is free

to remarry. This is the so-called “Pauline Privilege,” based on Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 7:10-15. Church law, independent of the scriptures, finds yet another exception to Jesus’ “no divorce” teaching. This is the “Petrine Privilege,” which grants the Pope the authority to dissolve the marriage of a non-baptized person who wants to become a Catholic or to marry a Catholic. Neither the writers of the New Testament nor later Church teaching felt constrained to interpret or implement the teachings of Jesus literally. A final area for careful reflection involves passages in the New Testament in which the authors incorporate what scholars call “household codes” (Haustafeln). These are descriptions of virtues and codes of conduct that detail the obligations owed to the gods and to the state, and that govern various social relationships such as those between husbands and wives, parents and children, slaves and their owners. These codes abound in Greco-Roman literature; the writings of Cicero are rich with such standards of behavior. It seems that New Testament authors took such codes from their surrounding culture and applied them to the Christian community (Col 3:18–4:1; Eph 5:21–6:9; 1 Pet 2:11–3:12; 1 Tim 2:8–15; 5:1–2; 6:1–2; Titus 2:1–10; 3:1). Scholars rightly observe that there is little in these biblical passages that is specifically Christian. An analogy would be if an author admonished the members of the Christian community to be “trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous and kind.” These virtues are taken directly from the “Boy Scout Law.” Are social norms that are quoted in scripture as authoritative as other parts of the inspired text? The problem is more acute when one considers that some of these adopted “household codes” are quite regressive when compared to other authentic (and therefore earlier) texts from St. Paul. Paul preached the radical equality of men and women, of slaves and free persons (Gal 3:28), as well as the rejection of slavery (Phlm 8-16), whereas these biblical adaptations of household codes institutionalize the subordinate women to men (Eph 5:22-24; Col 3:18) and validate the institution of slavery (Eph 6:5-9; Col 3:22—4:1).

The fact that the Christian tradition has taken these household codes as authoritative scripture and has continued to use them to subjugate women highlights just one aspect of the problem of their having been incorporated into the Bible. My first assignment as a priest was in Atlanta, known as “the buckle on the Bible Belt.” A bumper sticker I saw there asserted: “The Bible says it. I believe it. That ends it.” As these brief reflections indicate, it is very difficult to make that bumper sticker a hermeneutical principle in the complex matter of assessing the Bible as a source for moral values and ethical norms. As we have seen, evidence in the Bible itself and in the teachings of early rabbis and Church leaders shows that believers departed — sometimes quite significantly — from some of the biblical teachings governing moral conduct. Perhaps unreflectively, readers and believers bring to the biblical text a set of external norms by which the Bible itself is judged and evaluated for its merit as a source for ethical instruction. So, for example, when we read about cutting off a hand or plucking out an eye, we immediately know that self-mutilation is morally wrong and we reject that teaching, even though it is found in the Gospels. Similarly, we know that executing a rebellious child is morally indefensible. We use our moral awareness and reason to judge the moral merit of biblical teachings. In some cases, literal biblical teachings clearly are not morally reasonable. The Catholic Church provides three tools for ethical decision-making. The first is Scripture: for all the problems discussed above (and more besides), the Bible remains an indispensable source of ethical teaching for Jews and Christians. Some of humanity’s highest moral aspirations are enshrined in Scripture, summoning the human community to pursue justice, defend the weak and care for the needy. As moral theologians struggle to understand how and to what extent, the Bible can be used as a source for ethical norms, they recognize that most often its teachings cannot simply be applied directly to real-life ethical dilemmas. They are also agreed that “proof-texting” (citing a biblical verse

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out of context to “prove” a moral position) violates the text itself and may even run counter to sound ethical reasoning. Scripture is valuable but must be used critically and in tandem with the two other tools the Church gives us. The Catholic Church has never subscribed to the Reformation principle sola scriptura, “by scripture alone,” which maintains that the Bible and the Bible alone contains everything a person needs for the Christian life. The Catholic Church teaches that the “tradition of the Church,” preserved in its “teaching, life and worship” (Dei Verbum §8) is, like scripture, an authentic and authoritative source of revelation. We can look to tradition to discover how previous generations of believers have lived the moral life and what principles they developed to guide them. Even there, however, the Church teaches that “there is growth in understanding” and that “the Church constantly moves forward toward the fullness of divine truth” (Dei Verbum §8). In other words, our moral awareness grows and changes over time and what may have served previous generations may no longer be acceptable. Though ancient Israel and its neighbors may have practiced herem (war of total annihilation), moral principles and international law now make the willful killing of non-combatants both immoral and illegal. Neither Scripture nor tradition alone is the final arbiter of the moral life. The third tool is what St. Thomas Aquinas called recta ratio, “right reason.” The human person has the capacity to know God and to discover moral truth even without the aid of divine revelation in the Bible and the historical tradition. The ability to discern right from wrong is part of the dignity and capability of each person. All three of these valuable tools — Scripture, tradition and reason — ideally work together in forming ethical principles and guiding our moral decisions. As students and readers of the Bible engage difficult biblical texts critically and reflectively, the Catholic approach encourages them to turn to the tradition and reason for assistance and guidance in understanding the meaning of the biblical texts for our lives. S Fall 2010

Retirements Two highly regarded and longtime members of the Emmanuel faculty, Professors Douglas Crandall and Michael St. Clair, moved into retirement at the conclusion of the 2009-2010 academic year. Looking back, Professor Emeritus of Psychology St. Clair reflected on his many years of service and on the special values he found at the College. A number of years ago, around the time of graduation, I saw some graffiti scrawled on one of the campus walkways. I remember the words well: “Oh, how I have loved these days.” I don’t know who wrote them; it feels like a graduating senior. But I embrace those words, especially now that I am retiring from Emmanuel. How lucky I have been this past third of a century to be engaged in what I regard to be a noble vocation, education, and at an institution like Emmanuel which so prizes the education process. As I leave Emmanuel in retirement I look back, not unlike that graduating senior, to reflect on three values that I have especially appreciated in my time at the College. First of all, Emmanuel holds precious and supports the whole educational process, especially good teaching and wise counsel. The classroom for me is a sacred space, a space where one pursues truth and tries to inspire the young to do the same. How fortunate I have been as a professor to have students sit in front of me, and for many and diverse reasons, listen to me trying to be my best self. And as an advisor to hundreds over the years, I raptly sat with them as they made decisions whose consequences in the future I perhaps could see more clearly than they. Their optimism and hope was profoundly touching, a quality to be protected and fostered. A second value that I found supported at Emmanuel was the nurturing of imagination and curiosity. Perhaps what I sought most to do as a classroom teacher was to unleash curiosity and not allow students merely to rest on their oars of “covering the material.”

Of course, we did cover the material of the course in class, but I always wanted to light fires, to have students leave class wanting more, wanting to follow up on a subject. If I went on a tangent during class, it was in the hope of triggering an itch in students to follow up on an idea or a topic. Naturally, many days the students were tired or I was not on my game, but over the course of a semester, many semesters, I aspired to open minds further, to leave a lasting sense — not of me — but of possibilities, of insights, and to arouse a curiosity that might continue to itch long after a class was over. I always felt that this is what the College was about — not just protecting freedom of speech but pushing boundaries and fostering the yearning to search and move beyond. Curiosity seeks out and pursues and tracks down those elusive shadows moving at the edge of our knowledge. The third value I found at Emmanuel was a sense of community. How pleased I am that I have been part of a group that knew each other and cared about our common enterprise. For a number of years, harsh exigencies forced us to band together and tighten our belts. But I always appreciated knowing colleagues across disciplines and feeling very much at home with them. One of the pleasures of the past 30-plus years has been the chance encounter in the corridor, the short exchange about this or that, the funny comment. These casual interactions help build an authentic community. Thank you, Emmanuel. It has been a rich and valued experience. S


Book Reviews Two books you may find of interest: John Bradshaw writes about the practical value of developing moral intelligence or prudence, the key decision-making virtue developed by Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas, and Alasdair MacIntyre writes about the value of philosophy for education in Catholic colleges and universities.

n Reclaiming Virtue: How We Can Develop the Moral Intelligence to Do the Right Thing at the Right Time for the Right Reason, by John Bradshaw. Bantam Books, 2009. Well-known self-help author John Bradshaw’s latest book is about ethics, about virtue ethics, chiefly about the ethics developed by Aristotle and Saint Thomas Aquinas. The New York Times best-selling author captures what has been often forgotten: ethics is not primarily about applying moral laws, principles and rules to particular situations. Ethics is about making the choices that give us the best chance of achieving happiness and meaning in our lives. Bradshaw, now in his late 70s, identifies a major turning point in his life — a philosophy course that he took as a seminarian at the Medieval Institute at the University of Toronto. The course was serious: it studied but one chapter of one book of one ancient philosopher — the sixth chapter of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. This is the famous chapter that focuses on the primary virtue we need for living a happy life: Practical reasoning; that is, developing the wisdom to discern and then do whatever will likely contribute to our living well. Aristotle called this virtue phronesis and Aquinas would later call it prudence. Bradshaw calls it moral intelligence. Many modern authors call it practical wisdom. No matter what we call it, it is the wisdom to do, as Aristotle put it, “the right thing at the right time for the right reason.” Bradshaw insists, with Aristotle and Aquinas, that moral intelligence — the ability to make wise behavioral choices — is the key to achieving a happy life. A happy human life is the best hope that anyone can have. Virtue ethics is grounded on this fundamental human desire for

happiness. Getting our lives on track toward happiness — which Aristotle and Aquinas identified with ethics — depends on becoming morally intelligent. Moral intelligence does not come easily. Bradshaw understood it intellectually in his course on Aristotle but developed it existentially in his life only after detours that took him through alcohol addiction, sexual promiscuity and divorce. Moral intelligence is ethical decisionmaking based on experiences, which can be painful; on emotion, which can be upsetting; and on insight, which takes time and experience. But the way to happiness is not ultimately a system of moral laws, principles, rules or rights, although they can point us in the right direction. The way to happiness is ethics understood as the moral intelligence that gives us the best chance to do the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason. And the more we make ethical choices the more we develop the habits of character we call the moral virtues, which in turn make it more likely that we will make wise behavioral choices. Bradshaw’s book is not simply a peon to ancient and medieval virtue ethics; it is also about new discoveries in developmental psychology, psychotherapy, and above all, neuroscience. These discoveries help confirm and expand our understanding of the brain and the role it plays in our development as moral beings. Neuroscience shows that our behavioral choices actually shape the neuron pathways in our brain, and this makes repetition more likely. Habits are rooted in the configuration of our neurons — our brain cells. Neuroscience tells us that performing acts of kindness configures neurons that help make us more likely to be kind in the future. Or, as virtue ethics would say, your choice to be kind helps you develop a character excellence (moral virtue) known

as kindness, which makes you more likely to choose kindness in the future. This book is basically a self-help book, but with a twist: It places self-help on the philosophical footing derived from Aristotle and Aquinas. While it provides much practical advice on how we can enrich our lives, it is also a good introduction to classical virtue ethics and the insight that, at the end of the day, ethics is about figuring out how to make our lives go truly well. It is a good read, and it might even remind you of some philosophy courses that you once endured! n God, Philosophy, Universities: A Selective History of the Catholic Philosophical Tradition, by Alasdair MacIntyre. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2009. For several years Alasdair MacIntyre, a native of Scotland and convert to Catholicism, has been teaching an undergraduate course at Notre Dame on the Catholic philosophical tradition. The course has now become a book written not for fellow scholars but for advanced students and the educated public. MacIntyre, now in his 80s, is well known among philosophers thanks to his many publications and widely known in the Boston area as well, thanks to his teaching at Brandeis University, Wellesley College and Boston University in earlier decades. His best-known earlier book, After Virtue, now in its third edition, first appeared in 1981 and played a key role in the recent revival of interest in virtue ethics. According to MacIntyre, the theistic religions embracing the God of Abraham (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) inevitably generate philosophical inquiries as believers grapple with deep and disturbing conflicts between belief and the human drive for reasonableness. Belief in the God of theism requires unqualified allegiance

10 Emmanuel College – Newsletter from the Values-Based Education Program

while authentic philosophy raises profound questions about truth, rational justification and meaning. MacIntyre highlights three basic challenges generated by theistic belief that all but make philosophical reflection inevitable. The first challenge is the fundamental contradiction that belief in God the Creator entails: Believers have generally insisted that the God who creates the world is both omnipotent and all good, a belief clearly at odds with their realization that the world God created is rife with natural evils and horrible suffering in no way attributable to humans. We need only think of the intense suffering among sentient creatures that were living on the earth long before the first human beings appeared. The contradiction is even more acute now that we know, thanks to evolutionary biology, that most species subject to suffering preceded us by millions of years and not a matter of “days” as the Bible suggests. Animals lived, suffered and died on Earth long before humans appeared and introduced the “sin” that destroyed what the Bible described as a garden of paradise created by God. The responsibility for the terrible suffering of animals over millions of years before humans existed is not attributable to human behavior. The responsibility rests with the God who created them — a God whom believers still insist is all powerful and all good. This apparent contradiction at the heart of theism, MacIntyre argues, inevitably gives rise to critical thinking and philosophy. The second challenge to belief in God is another apparent contradiction. Believers do not hesitate to say that everything that happens is God’s will. This is, for them, a consoling doctrine because their God is good and thus what he wills is for the best. But it is a doctrine that makes the realm where we dwell “a puppet show and God is the puppet master.” If God runs the whole show, if everything that happens is God’s will, then we humans are neither free nor responsible. This is another apparent contradiction that generates philosophical reflection. The third challenge identified by Fall 2010

MacIntyre is the difficulty in explaining how language about a transcendent God can be meaningful. What can we mean when we speak of God’s existence, power, knowledge or goodness when our only experience of existence, knowledge, power and goodness arises from our experiences with the finite world wherein we dwell? Believers insist that God is transcendent, that He existed before the world He created and that He now continues to exist beyond space, time and matter. How can we speak meaningfully of a being that exists in another realm beyond space, time and matter? How can we verify that God exists and is almighty, omniscient and good? What intelligible language reaches beyond our world of experience to the transcendent realm of a supreme being? How can our language speak in a meaningful way of a transcendent God when we are finite beings living on a planet that began about five billion years ago and is embedded in a finite cosmos that began about 13 billion years ago? According to MacIntyre, these three problems have inevitably led thinking believers to philosophy as they try to integrate their Christian religious beliefs with rational thinking. His tale ends with a lament. The modern university, he writes, has become fragmented. It is composed of numerous disciplines — biology, chemistry, physics, history, economics, political science, psychology, sociology, literature and so forth. “But how do these relate to each other? How should the findings of each of these disciplines contribute to our understanding of ourselves and of our place in nature?” In the past, philosophy had the task of seeking answers to these questions, but today, MacIntyre claims, even in Catholic higher education, philosophy is often marginalized in two ways. First, it has been demoted to no more than one discipline among all the others. In higher education, including Catholic colleges and universities, the department of philosophy has become just one department among others. Second, once philosophy deteriorated to the status of a discrete discipline among others, it did what all discrete disciplines

do: it developed a technical language and generated a body of professional literature that only trained professionals can hope to understand, as anyone who has tried to read Kant, Hegel, Wittenstein, Quine, Davidson, Husserl, Heidegger, Whitehead, Derrida and others can attest. All too often the Catholic philosophical tradition no longer enquires into the relationships among the different disciplines and the contribution each makes to “a single shared enterprise, one whose principal aim is neither to benefit the economy nor to advance the careers of students, but rather to achieve for teachers and students alike a certain kind of shared understanding.” Yet, according to MacIntyre, Catholic colleges have “a compelling interest in sustaining philosophical enquiry.” The preoccupation of philosophers with issues of truth, rational justification, meaning and ethics are crucial in the effort to answer the basic existential questions we all face in life: Who am I? Where have I come from? Why is there so much evil and tragedy in life? Is there anything after this life? How should I live my life? MacIntyre is not very hopeful that the Catholic philosophical tradition will soon regain its traditional place in Catholic colleges and universities but, as he notes at the end of his book, “…there is always more to hope for then we can reasonably expect.” You may not agree with MacIntyre, many do not, but the book is worth reading and unlike a great deal of philosophical literature, it is written not for fellow philosophers but for the educated public. It should be of special interest for graduates of Catholic colleges and universities, as well as for those who teach and work at such institutions. S Note: Several decades ago Emmanuel discontinued its major in philosophy due to low enrollment at the College. As the enrollment of women and men has increased in recent years and as more students have expressed an interest in philosophy the chair of the department, [Professor Thomas Wall], has spearheaded efforts to revive the philosophy major. Happily, it can now be reported that the major in philosophy will soon be revived. 11

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Value Based Education Newsletter  

Value Based Education Newsletter