IntroductionProfessor Ruth Chadwick speaks at 'From Indignation to Action' symposium, Charleroi, Belgium
Cesagen Director Professor Ruth Chadwick delivered a keynote speech at the 'From Indignation to Action' symposium, held inthe town of Charleroi, Belgium. Her talk is summarised below.
WE MUST ACT !, was the stimulus given by the Public Centre for Social Action (Centre Public d’Action Sociale)of Charleroi to a series of artistic, festive and academic events that took place in May 2012. The Inter-University Centre for Life-long Learning (Centre Interuniversitaire de Formation permanente (CIFoP) set up a day of reflection in the framework of the academic aspect.
Following this innovative symposium, Professor Chadwick said: "It was a privilege to be involved in this important event, examining what citizens can do through collective action, in the face of contemporary challenges such as global financial crises and climate change ".
At a time when discussion in applied ethics has tended to focus on science and technology, which have demonstrated the importance of how ethical issues become ‘framed’, it is instructive to return our attention, with those insights, to ethical issues in public life. Discussion of the actions of individuals and institutions leading up to the global financial crisis has revealed examples of behaviour at variance with ethical considerations that are not new but old and straightforward – concerning cheating and exploitation of the vulnerable, for example. What is especially remarkable has been the appeal, of some of those criticised, to the defence that they were acting in accordance with ‘the rules’. At times of crisis, especially, rules need to be re-examined, with an eye to what the important interests at stake are. Just as there has been a call for greater emphasis on solidarity and equity in relation to science and technology, it is appropriate to ask the question of the implications of these principles in other spheres of action. Who should display solidarity to whom, and what does that mean?