Ethical Disagreement

Event Type
Web Session
The UCD Centre for Ethics in Public life (CEPL)

Start time: 3.00 pm

End time: 5.00 pm


Announcements from the UCD Centre for Ethics in Public life (CEPL) organiser: This on-line lecture and discussion, examines the kinds of ethical disagreements that arise both in public political discussions as well as in our personal lives. The goal is to use philosophy as a tool to better understand what is going on during such an ethical disagreement, with the hope that such an understanding might help one to resolve it sooner, or at least accept its intractability better. You will receive some general reading in advance of the course.

Cost: €22.20 – €75. Click here to make a reservationA zoom link will be emailed to you once you have registered and paid.

It’s tempting to think that ethical disagreement is so widespread and sometimes so deep that ethics must be ‘subjective’ – but this would be to ignore the huge amount of ethical agreement that already exists in our relationships, our workplaces, and our communities.

All of us our familiar with ethical disagreements, both in our personal lives, as well as in the newspapers. Sometimes the disagreements turn into ugly confrontations with friends, family members, or colleagues. Sometimes we are just saddened and baffled by how someone could think so differently from us. This lecture and discussion will take a philosophical look at what exactly is going when two people hold different ethical beliefs about an issue, and when they articulate those beliefs to each other.

With the help of schematic examples, we will ask what makes the disagreement ethical (e.g. as opposed to factual), how the disagreement is structured, what exactly each side is assuming, how each side understands some of the key concepts, what kinds of reasons are deployed during a confrontation, and what it might mean to be ethically persuaded by the other person.

A certificate for 2 CPD points will be awarded for this lecture.

Any queries please contact Fiona Lavin at


The session will be divided into two sections with a 5 minute break separating the two.

Section I: Lecture by Dr Crowley

Section II: Discussion and contribution from the participants.

Christopher Cowley, UCD School of Philosophy