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The McKelvy House Scholars invite the campus to join a dinner discussion in which participants will try to create consistent moral arguments across various issues Sunday evening.

Dinner begins 5:30 p.m. at McKelvy House, 200 High Street. An email to Colby Block ’06 (Boca Raton, Fla.) at blockc is requested for those planning to attend the dinner. Block, a government and law major, will lead the discussion at 6 p.m.

Participants will have 20 minutes to discuss moral views on an issue before switching to another. The goal is to create a moral view that can be consistently applied to at least four different issues. Abortion, euthanasia, and animal rights are examples of possible issues.

Morality is usually split into absolutist and relativistic views, says Block. Absolute views are universally consistent moral truths. Relativistic views vary depending on the culture or the person evaluating the morality.

“Two common absolutist views are utilitarianism and Kantianism,” Block explains. “Utilitarianism states that what is good for the majority of people is moral: ‘The greatest good for the greatest number.’ Kantianism determines morality based on equal respect for all individuals as moral agents — basically the Golden Rule. Any moral view — God, your mom said so, Buddhist, etc. — will be accepted. We are not judging or evaluating any one theory of morality, but rather taking any theory put forth and making it consistent throughout various moral issues.”

“My personal view is an absolutist view which finds that morality of actions are determined based upon people’s interests,” she adds. “I’ve worked it so it pretty consistently applies to all moral issues.”

Block joined McKelvy House after becoming interested last year in “the unique academic opportunity” provided by the program.

“The small group allows for members to truly bond, which in turn helps open up the discussions and debates,” she says.

Block is involved in Forensics Society (speech and debate), Lafayette Dancers, Marquis Players, College Theater, College Democrats, and the Delta Delta Delta sorority. She is also a supervisor for Recreation Services.

Since 1962, the McKelvy House Scholars program has brought together Lafayette students with a wide range of majors and interests to reside in a historic off-campus house and share in intellectual and social activities. Sunday dinner discussions that engage the students in debate and exchange of ideas are the hallmark of the program; several Wednesday discussions have been added this school year. Most members also contribute to the annual McKelvy Papers, written on a topic of each member’s choice. McKelvy Scholars participate in activities together such as field trips to plays, concerts, and exhibits, and sponsor events for the campus as well.

Previous discussions:
Nov. 7 – Privilege
Oct. 24 – Modern religion
Oct. 17 – Capital punishment
Oct. 3 — Revenge
Sept. 26 — Suicide
Sept. 22 – Sexual lust
Sept. 15 — Envy
Sept. 12 – Themes from A Clockwork Orange
Sept. 8 – Materialism, satisfaction, and poverty
Sept. 5 — Obesity in America

April 25 — Anti-foundationalist critique of philosophy
April 18 – Dark humor
April 11 — Cults
April 4 — Link between ethical behavior and intelligence

March 28 — Five Images of Man

March 7 — Idealized body forms

Feb. 22 — Countercultures

Feb. 15 — Eternity

Feb. 8 — Bisexuality

Dec. 7 — Anger toward computers and technology

Nov. 9 — “Unnecessary” crimes

Nov. 2 — Genetic alteration

Oct. 26 — Social construction of gender

Oct. 19 — Greed as an economic force
Sept. 28 — Value

Categorized in: Academic News