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Center for Policy Studies

Public Affairs Discussion Group

Military Ethics and Dehumanizing the Enemy

Anthony (Tony) Jack Ph.D. - Assistant Professor of Cognitive Science, Philosophy, and Psychology at Case Western Reserve University

Shannon French, Ph.D. - Associate Professor of Philosophy and Inamori Professor of Ethics at Case Western Reserve University
Friday April 5, 2013
12:30-1:30 p.m.

***Special Location: Inamori Center (ground floor, Crawford Hall)***
Case Western Reserve University
This program is co-sponsored by the Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence

Dear Colleagues:

“War is hell, so how can anyone talk about “Military Ethics?” Can there be ethics in hell?

There are so many questions. Professor French asks, “How do you teach people to kill, without losing control of exactly whom they kill, how, and when?” There is evidence that in World War II only 15-20% of U.S. soldiers actually shot to kill. In response, the U.S. military began to teach its troops to “achieve,” in Professor French’s words, “emotional distance from their enemies.” One way to create distance would be to make war seem like a video game, so the enemy is an object not a person. The other is to convince soldiers the enemy is not a real person – that their identity or stories about their behavior justify treating them more like animals than as human beings.

The concept of military ethics presupposes there is some border between the normal action of militaries and “atrocities”? But how can the concept of military ethics cope with the seeming need to dehumanize the enemy? Professor Jack will talk about the application of his work on neuroimaging to the field of military ethics and the issue of what occurs when we dehumanize our enemies. Professor French will join Professor Jack for the Q&A.

All best regards,
Joe White
Luxenberg Family Professor of Public Policy and Director, Center for Policy Studies

In addition to the traditional coffee and cookies, Jimmy John's sandwiches will be provided for lunch (while supplies last)

About Our Guests...

The son of an American philosopher and a neuroscience researcher from New Zealand, Anthony Jack was born in England and graduated from Oxford University in 1994. He got his doctorate in London just as the city became one of the first major centers for brain imaging. The excitement of the breakthrough allured him. He trained at a London brain-imaging lab, then did post-doctoral work in neurology at Washington University in St. Louis. There, his colleagues published results suggesting that the brain’s analytic and social systems operated in constant tension with each other — an idea greeted with skepticism by scientists he knew in London.

So once Professor Jack arrived at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) in 2007, he started out doing largely theoretical work on consciousness, but then got interested by the emerging field of brain imaging. Professor Jack uses fMRI to study attention, consciousness and social processing in the brain.

Shannon E. French is the Inamori Professor of Ethics, Director of the Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence, and a tenured member of the Philosophy Department at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. She also has secondary appointments as a professor in the CWRU School of Law and the Department of Bioethics. Prior to starting at CWRU in July of 2008, she taught ethics for eleven years as a tenured Associate Professor of Philosophy at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and served as Associate Chair of the Department of Leadership, Ethics, and Law. Dr. French received her B.A. in philosophy, classical studies, and history from Trinity University (San Antonio, Texas) in 1990 and her Ph.D. in philosophy from Brown University (Providence, Rhode Island) in 1997.

Parking Possibilities

The Inamori Center is located in the lower level of Crawford Hall, which is the first building on your right if you enter the campus area from the west, driving on Euclid. There is a small pay-parking lot in between Crawford Hall and Amasa Stone Chapel, and a few spaces may be available there. Otherwise, it may be necessary to park further away, such as in the Severance Hall underground garage or Veale Center or one of the hospital garages. From Severance it would be simplest to go from the garage into Severance Hall and out the door on Euclid Ave; then cross Euclid and Adelbert, walk up the diagonal path into the Case Quad, and turn right to get to Crawford.

The entrance to Crawford Hall is at the plaza level, so uphill from the parking lot. It might be possible to enter from Crawford's garage, but I don't want to promise that. From the main entrance one can walk down the stairs or take the elevator to G to get to the Inamori Center.

Friday Lunch Upcoming Topics and Speakers:

April 12: The New Cuyahoga County Government: Perspective from the Council. Julian Rogers, Councillor for District 10
***Special Location: Mandel Center for Community Studies, Room 108, 11402 Bellflower Road, Cleveland, OH 44106***

April 19: Mass Murder for the Media: The Breivik Case in Norway. Mark Turner, Institute Professor and Professor of Cognitive Science
***Special Location: Inamori Center, Crawford Hall Room 9***

April 26: Advocacy for Children, Who Don't Vote. Doug Imig, Professor of Political Science, University of Memphis
April 1, 2013

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Upcoming Events

Why and How the U. S. Should Support the Syrian Uprising

A discussion with Sasha Ghosh-Siminoff, Executive Director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force. Monday April 1, 2013, 5:00 – 6:30 p.m., Spartan Room, Thwing Center, 3rd Floor , Case Western Reserve University, 11111 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland. This program is co-sponsored by the Center for Policy Studies and the department of political science at Case Western Reserve University. Free and open to the public.

The uprising or revolution in Syria has led to substantial uncertainty among both commentators and policy-makers in the United States and Europe. The Obama administration, in a somewhat typical pattern, has provided some rhetorical support but, at least in what is publicly visible, been much more cautious about deeper involvement. Some, like Tom Friedman of the New York Times, think this caution is justified by the risks of a dangerous outcome and the limits on U.S. power to shape the results.

Sasha Ghosh-Siminoff was studying Arabic in Aleppo, as part of his ongoing studies in Middle Eastern politics, when the uprising broke out in 2011. His experience and those of his Syrian friends committed him to working to support the revolution back in the United States. Join us to hear and discuss the case, as he and others see it, for a greater U.S. commitment to depose the Assad regime and influence what comes after.

Learning from the Germans: Tarantino, Spielberg, and American Crimes

A discussion with Susan Niemen, director of the Einstein Forum in Berlin and author of the New York Times notable book Moral Clarity, the award-winning Evil in Modern Thought: an Alternative History of Philosophy, and the memoir Slow Fire: Jewish Notes from Berlin, will give the second biennial Beamer-Schneider Lecture in Ethics and Civics on Thursday April 11, 2013 at 5:30 p.m. in Clark Hall, Room 309 on the campus of Case Western Reserve University. The lecture is free and open to the public. Reception prior to the event.

Her lecture, "Learning from the Germans: Tarantino, Spielberg, and American Crimes," examines how 60 years of German attempts to deal with its Nazi past have produced a template for confronting national evils. In American culture, such confrontations have been rare, and are usually confined to the academy. The recent films of Tarantino and Spielberg provide a welcome - and very conscious - exception. Neiman will discuss the German experience, the differing reception of the films in Germany and America, and reflect on how Americans can begin to think about forging an identity in the face of our own torturous past. The lecture will be held Thursday, April 11th in Clark Hall 309 at 5:30 PM with a reception preceding it with some light fare and refreshments.

April 2013







































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