"Juno over Jupiter" by Kevin Gill is Licensed under CC-SA 2.0 (via Wikimedia Commons)

Late on July 4th, NASA tweeted that their space probe, Juno, successfully entered Jupiter’s orbit after five years and 1.7 billion miles of travel. Juno is the first spacecraft to reach Jupiter since Galileo in 1995. The probe broke multiple records during its journey, including fastest man-made object at 165,000 miles per hour, and farthest solar-powered spacecraft from Earth. Juno more than broke the 492-million-mile record held by the Rosetta mission.

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Picture is taken from a poster created by Prindle Art Intern Evie Brosius

From April 14-16, The Prindle Institute is holding our 9th Annual Undergraduate Ethics Symposium. Keynote addresses for the symposium are open to the public. Our theme is “Text, Tweet, Trigger: The Ethics of Communication.” Below is this year’s speaker line-up for the public series.

In February, Dr. Danielle Wenner presented her talk “What Is the Meaning of Freedom?” as a part of the Young Philosophers Lecture Series hosted by the Prindle Institute and the DePauw Philosophy Department. Next week, we’ll post her research-level talk, “Autonomy and Non-Domination in International Clinical Research.”

Throughout June, we’ll continue to post videos of each talk (also available on YouTube).

Enjoy, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments!

In February, Dr. Brandon Carey of Columbia Basin College presented his talk “The Power To Do the Impossible” as a part of the Young Philosophers Lecture Series hosted by the Prindle Institute and the DePauw Philosophy Department. (In case you missed it last week, here is the video of his introductory-level lecture, “The Paradox of the Stone.”)

Throughout May and June, we’ll continue to post videos of each talk (also available on YouTube).

Enjoy, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments!

Illustration by Prindle Art Intern Evie Brosius

The Prindle Prize Program is an annual competition that gives students and faculty the opportunity to win monetary prizes for their dedication to ethics in their academic work and their involvement with The Prindle Institute. Abstracts for each of the following outstanding papers are linked here: Prindle Prize Abstracts


Adrienne Westenfeld, “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Through a Journalistic Lens”
Course Name: ENG393: Drugs, Lit, and Culture
Professor: Wayne Glausser

Midori Kawaue, “Visceral Power of the Words of Kissinger in the Chile Coup of 1973: The Dueling Realities of American Exceptionalism”
Course Name: HIST382: U.S./Latin American Relations
Professor: Glen Kuecker

Katie Kondry, “American Civil Liberties and the Patriot Act”
Course Name: PHIL 342: Philosophy of Law
Professor: Jeremy Anderson

Social Science

Haley Pratt, “Culturally Responsive Positive Behavior Intervention and Support as a Strategy for Closing the Achievement Gap and the Discipline Gap”
Course Name: PSY493: Senior Thesis
Professor: Scott Ross

Celia Klug, “What’s Race Got To Do With It? Recent Race-Based Peremptory Challenge Litigation”
Course Name: Sociology Senior Seminar
Professor: Matthew Oware

Rudra Vishweshwar, “Creating an Ethical Market for Organ Donation”
Course Name: Economics Senior Seminar
Professor: Manu Raghav

Natural Science

Caitlin Handy, “Pharmacogenomics and Personalized Medicine”
Course Name: Senior Research Fellowship Seminar
Professor: Daniel Gurnon

Tyler Huff, “Helping Families with Rare Diseases: Finding Disease-Causing Variants in a Wealth of Genomic Data”
Course Name:CHEM395 Independent Study
Professor: Daniel Gurnon

Jessica Tilley, “Quality of Life and the Cure”
Course Name: HONR300: Ethics of Cancer Research
Professor: Pascal Lafontant


Katie Tozer, “Borderland: Between My Forest and Your Pen”
Course Name: ENG392 Lit of the Environmental Crisis
Professor: Jeane Pope/Harry Brown

Lauren Arnold, “Containers and Vessels”
Course Name: Art Senior Seminar
Professor: Lori Miles

Sarah Ertlet, “The Salvation of Man”
Course Name: FYS: Why? The Quest for Meaning
Professor: James Wells

Anh Nguyen, “Burden”
Course Name: Art Senior Seminar
Professor: Lori Miles


Rudra Vishweshwar, “Trendstar”
Course Name: Computer Science Seminar
Professor: Khadika Stewart

Erin O’Brien, “The DePauw Robotics Club and the Ethics of 3-D Printing”
Course Name: TV Production and Literacy
Professor: Larry Abed

Extended Written Thesis

Tazree Kadam, “The Impact of Arranged Marital Custom’s on Women’s Autonomy in Rural India”
Course: Honor Scholar Senior Tutorial
Professor: Jason Fuller

Colleen McArdle, “Zoo Animals, Livestock, and Pets, Oh MY! An Exploration of the Ethics of Captive Breeding”
Course: Honor Scholar Senior Tutorial
Professor: Vanessa Fox

Emily Vincent, “The Feral Cat Conundrum: Assessing the Science and Ethics of Trap-Neuter Return”
Course:  Honor Scholar Senior Tutorial
Professor: Jennifer Everett

The Prindle Post Op-Eds
Jeffrey McCall, “Obama seen as ‘enemy’ to press freedom”
Rebecca Schindler, “Conflict Antiquities: Is There a Future for the Past?”
Jeffrey Dunn, “What the Ray Rice Video Suggests About Our Moral Thinking”
Rich Cameron, “Will climate divestment work?”

Image by Prindle Art Intern Evie Brosius

Beginning on Thursday, April 9th, The Prindle Institute will host the eighth annual Undergraduate Ethics Symposium, “Value and Virtual Spaces,” which will encompass ethical concerns brought to the forefront by our increasingly technological modern society. From social media and video games, to online currency and net neutrality, there is an abundance of moral questions raised by the virtual world.

If you’re not hooked yet, ponder this…

Television and Internet use are probably the biggest time blocks of our daily lives as reported by the 2014 Internet Trends Report. In the United States, people spend an average of seven hours looking at screens daily. More specifically, that breaks down into a hundred and forty-seven minutes captivated by television, one hundred and three minutes glued to the computer, a hundred and fifty-one minutes attached to a smartphone, and forty-three minutes spent tablet in hand! In other words, almost half our waking hours are connected to screen use, and these hours continue to rise as technological advances fascinate society.

Although these technological advances come with many positives such as fast access to worldwide connections and information, the invasive power of technology may also have detrimental side effects to our society. From April 9th to the 11th, Value and Virtual Spaces honors symposium will host students from universities across the country where they will have the opportunity to present their best analytical/creative work on the theme of the Symposium or other areas of related ethical concern.

The Symposium will include the presentations below, open to all DePauw students and faculty.

“Ethics, Entrepreneurship and Disruption”
Patrick Bryne, Founder and CEO of Overstock.com
(April 9th 7:30pm)

“Navigating the Gendered Minefield of Online Harassment”
Anita Sarkeesian, Author of Video Blog Feminist Frequency
(April 10th 4:15pm)

“Oil, War, and Houses: The Ethics of Aesthetics of Accumulation and Waste”
Matt Kenyon, Professor at Stamps School of Art & Design at University of Michigan
(April 10th 7:00pm)

“Leaps and Bounds: Toward a Normative Theory of Inferential Privacy”
Solon Barocas, Postdoctoral Research Associate at Princeton University
(April 11th 10am)

Please visit depauw.edu/prindle for more information. We look forward to seeing you there!

Indiana Statehouse by Jason Netherland CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 

The Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act has put Indiana in the national spotlight. People on both sides feel that there has been an affront to deeply held personal convictions. Some believe that the legislation provides a “license to discriminate,” especially against members of the LGBTQ community, while supporters argue that the legislation protects everyone’s religious freedoms equally. This is something that merits serious conversation, and the Prindle Institute will be hosting a lunch and discussion in the UB Ballroom this Friday, April 3 at 11:30 am. For more information on the controversy surrounding the bill, see our post here. 

Andy Cullison, Director of the Prindle Institute, will deliver a very brief presentation of the issues surrounding the recent passage of the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Groups will have an opportunity to discuss the issues raised at their tables. There will also be some time to come together for a brief Q&A and a sharing of thoughts that came out of the group discussions.

Box lunches from Bon Appetit will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis.

Are you a gamer? Do you enjoy the battles and challenges created in the magical virtual world? Better yet, are you interested in learning more?

It is funny to think back to the days when Pac-Man computer games were all the rage. Clearly, the gaming industry has come a long way since then, as today, the video game industry rakes in nearly eleven billion dollars in revenue annually! Today’s video games are enjoyed by players of all ages and backgrounds. A surprise to me was that 40% of gamers today are female and 25% of gamers are under the age of 18, as reported by the Entertainment Rating Software Board.

The gaming culture is expanding rapidly as people get hooked by the lure of the virtual world. The reality is, you and I are amongst gamers wherever we go, even right here on DePauw’s campus.

It is all fun and games, right? Well, not quite.

Recently, Anita Sarkeesian, considered a hero in the feminist gaming community, received the 2014 Game Developers Ambassador Award. This award honors an individual who has made strides in helping the game industry advance to a better place. Anita Sarkeesian is a staunch advocate against the portrayal of harassment and misogyny towards women in video games today.

To learn more about her accomplishments and goals, please watch the short clip above!

Do you agree with Sarkeesian? What do you think about the portrayal of women in video games?

Please join us in discussion on April 10th (4:15 pm) in the Prindle Institute Great Room where Anita Sarkeesian will joins us live at the 2015 Undergraduate Ethics Symposium: Value in Virtual Spaces.

When your name remains detached from something, most of the repercussions from saying certain things seem to disappear. The issue of anonymity online is nothing new – people have been sending hateful comments to people from behind a computer screen for years. Cyberbullying is a hot topic and a major issue among children, teens, and beyond. On college campuses, including DePauw, the anonymous app Yik Yak has become a breeding ground for hateful comments whose authors are concealed behind the shelter of anonymity online.

Yik Yak has caused numerous problems, closing high schools due to bomb threats, spreading racist hate, and bullying messages calling for specific students to kill themselves. The app has breed far more hate than it has funny, parody messages like the developers say the app was intended for. Despite geofencing attempts to prevent the app from being able to be used near high schools and instead used by college students, the app still has many issues. The reason behind the app being so popular is understandable; the ability to post whatever you want without concern is tempting, and you may receive validation from people who have no idea who you are that your content is funny, correct, or interesting. Prindle Director Andy Cullison was quoted in an article for Atlanta Magazine as saying, “the approval of strangers seems authentic in a way that approval from friends, who might feel social pressure to support you, does not.” With anonymous apps such as Yik Yak, you can receive bulk validation or rejection.

The cost of online anonymity is something to consider. Is it ethical to hide behind the Internet? What’s the price of this ability? Join us this upcoming Monday, March 9th at 11:30 AM in the UB Ballroom for a presentation and discussion on the topic of anonymity online. Lunch will be provided on a first come, first serve basis.

On Thursday-Friday, February 26-27, the Prindle Institute and the DePauw Philosophy department will host Young Philosophers Lecture Series. The series was started by Andrew Cullison, Director of the Prindle Institute, in 2008 at SUNY Fredonia. This is the first year that the series will be held at DePauw.

The lecture series brings four recent Ph.D. grads to campus to deliver talks on their philosophical research. This year, the selected participants are Dr.Brandon Carey of Columbia Basin College, Dr. Wesley Cray of Grand Valley State University, Dr. Danielle Wenner of Carnegie Mellon University, and Dr. Micheal Hannon of Fordham University.  Each scholar will present one introductory level and one research level lecture. The introductory talks take place Thursday, February 26th in Watson Forum and are geared to those who have little to no philosophy background. The research talks are primarily directed towards other philosophers and experienced philosophy students, however, all are welcome to attend. The research talks will be held on Friday, February 27th in the Prindle Auditorium. One of the objectives of the Young Philosphers Lecture Series is to have something for everyone. This is why both introductory and research level talks are presented.

The talk schedule is as follows:
Thursday Feb. 26 in Watson Forum:
11:00 AM – “The Paradox of the Stone” by Dr. Brandon Carey
11:45 AM – “That’s Not Art!” by Dr. Wesley Cray
1:00 PM – Lunch at Two West
4:30 PM – “What is the Meaning of Freedom?” by Dr. Danielle Wenner
5:15 PM – “Does Knowledge Matter?” by Dr. Michael Hannon
Friday Feb. 27 in Prindle Auditorium:
11:00 AM – “The Threshold for Knowledge” by Dr. Michael Hannon
12:00 PM – “Unperformable Works and the Ontology of Art” by Dr. Wesley Cray
1:00 PM – Lunch at the Prindle Institute
2:00 PM – “Autonomy and Non-Domination in International Clinical Research” by Dr. Danielle Wenner
3:00 PM – “The Power To Do The Impossible” by Dr. Brandon Carey

If you are interested in attending lunch on either day, please fill out this form by February 24.

Additionally, those interested in past Young Philosophers Lectures may visit the Young Philosophers website to view previous presentations. This year’s presentations will be available online shortly following this week’s event.

The Prindle Institute for Ethics and the DePauw Philosophy department are thrilled to be hosting this exciting event. We hope that those in the area, including the DePauw and Greencastle communities as well as those from nearby Indiana colleges, will be able to join us!