September 29, 2011

Department of Philosophy Colloquium Series

The Department of Philosophy Colloquium Series presents Earl Spurgin, Ph.D., on Friday, September 30, from 3 to 4 p.m. in the Philosophy Conference Room (AD B08).

The title of Spurgin’s presentation is “Hey, How Did I Become a Role Model?” and he describes it in the following abstract:

Much of the public criticism of many athletes, celebrities, politicians, and the like, such as that of Michael Phelps, Lindsay Lohan, and Bill Clinton, accuses those persons of failing as role models. Contemporary ethicists also frequently invoke the role-model idea in academic literature, most often when addressing pedagogy or leadership. Ethics literature contains relatively little work, however, that explores the role-model concept itself. I provide some needed attention to the concept by determining the conditions that render us justified in ascribing role-model status to individuals, by determining how far into individuals’ lives legitimate role-model obligations extend, and by arguing for a new direction for our discourse on role models. My goals are to demonstrate that: 1) we are justified in ascribing role-model status to individuals far less often than most believe; 2) legitimate role-model obligations typically do not extend as far into role models’ lives as most believe; and, 3) those who try to convince athletes, celebrities, politicians, and others to be better role models should redirect their efforts toward educating young people about who are proper role models and about what aspects of role-models’ lives young people should imitate.

For further information, contact Simon Fitzpatrick, Ph.D., at or by calling extension 4765.