February 13, 2014 

Deborah Mower examines the concept of civility and the conditions of civil disagreement in politics and education. Although many assume that civility is merely polite behavior, it functions to aid rational discourse. She offers multiple accounts of civility and its contribution to citizenship, deliberative democracy, and education. Given that civility is essential to all aspects of public life, it is important to address how civility may be taught. This event is in partnership with GVSU ‘s Department of Philosophy and Calvin College’s Paul Henry Institute.

Biography:

Deborah S. Mower joined Youngstown State University in 2007. She received her B.A. in philosophy from Pacific University, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is an associate professor of philosophy in the department of philosophy and religious studies at Youngstown State University and teaches courses in professional ethics. She is the president of the Society for Ethics Across the Curriculum and an active member of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics.

Her interest in the topic of civility developed initially when teaching a course titled The Examined Life. Throughout the course, she pushed students to consider the components of a life well-lived—both personal and institutional—such as the role of family, marriage, education, politics, and philanthropy. As a philosopher who works in the area of moral psychology, she is interested in social cognition, moral education and development, the evolution of moral faculties, and eastern and western approaches to virtue ethics.

She has published multiple articles on moral psychology and applied ethics, and is presently editing a volume on Developing Moral Sensitivity with Wade L. Robison of Rochester Institute of Technology and Phyllis (Peggy) Vandenberg of GVSU.

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