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Royal Institute of Philosophy Public Lecture

Date: 3 October 2007 Time: 7.30 - 9pm

Royal Institute of Philosophy Public Lecture

Wed 3rd October, 7.30-9pm at the Gregson Centre, Moor Lane

Nick Jones and Gerald Lang (both from the University of Leeds)

Morality and Taboo Jokes

Is it morally acceptable to tell or laugh at racist or sexist jokes? This is a very emotive question, and one which provokes a wide variety of conflicting intuitions. (To give just one example, some people believe that it is morally unobjectionable to enjoy a racist joke because one is 'only joking'; while others hold that it is morally problematic precisely because in doing so one doesn't take racism seriously.) Obviously at least some of these conflicting intuitions must be wrong-headed - which, if any, of them can be justified by well-reasoned argument? In this talk, I am going to present an overview and a critical evaluation of some of the arguments philosophers have put forward recently in trying to support the conclusion that it is always immoral to tell or laugh at (certain) taboo jokes. While I take it to be obviously true that racism and sexism are morally unacceptable, I will claim that none of the attempts I consider succeeds in establishing the particular conclusion in question. Nevertheless, I will claim that we are given good grounds to conclude that it is sometimes immoral to tell or laugh at such taboo jokes, in various circumstances.

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Who can attend: Anyone

 

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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YD
United Kingdom

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