Who are these Courses, Seminars, Lectures, and Personal Briefings for?
Above and beyond the obvious answer of "anyone who is interested", which applies equally to each of the themes I have listed, and the less obvious answer that these courses, seminars, lectures, or personal briefings might be of particular interest to those charged with offering worthwhile continuing professional development and/or away-day events, the following guidance should be helpful.
1. Making more Informed Ethical Judgments: An Intensive Introduction to the Central Ideas and Approaches of Ethics
This theme is most suitable for those who would like to be brought up to speed on, and to think more deeply about, the main ideas, concepts, and approaches associated with serious ethical thinking. Although we will deal with fascinating questions about the limits of ethical thinking, you will also be provided with a range of ethical tools that can be applied in any practical or professional context. Indeed, the presentation of this theme will be fleshed out by drawing on examples from the practical or professional lives of the participants themselves.
2. Ethics, People, and Environment: Which Way Forward? An Intensive Introduction to Environmental Ethics
This theme is most suitable for those who would like to be brought up to speed on, and to think more deeply about, the kinds of approaches that have been developed in recent years to the most basic questions we can ask about the value - or otherwise - of the world around us. Whereas traditional ethical approaches have either just assumed or argued for the basic (or "intrinsic") value of humans and human alone, environmental ethics blows these assumptions and arguments apart and asks, in a far more open way, "what is valuable in the world, and why?" This is the cutting edge of ethics for the twenty-first century.
3. The Philosophy of Nature Conservation: Exploring the Ground where Ecology, Conservation Biology, and Environmental Ethics Meet
This theme is most suitable for those who would like to be brought up to speed on, and to think more deeply about, the philosophical underpinnings of ecology (e.g., how should we understand and characterize the nature of the ecological relationships that we are concerned with conserving?) as well as current guiding principles and sites of controversy in nature conservation (e.g., issues surrounding biodiversity and bioinvasion, the preservation of wilderness and other relatively wild/less intensively managed areas, and nature/ecological restoration).
Although this theme can easily be presented and pursued in its own right, it is worth noting that, if time allows, it can build very successfully on the first theme listed above (e.g. a two-week course of 2-3 hour sessions per day with environmental ethics covered in the first week and the philosophy of nature conservation in the second).
4. Ethical Foundations for Architecture, Planning, and the Design Professions
This theme is most suitable for those who would like to be brought up to speed on, and to think more deeply about, the extremely wide range of ethical questions that are at stake in the design and planning of the human-constructed realm. These questions range all the way from basic codes of professional conduct, to matters concerning measurable forms of human and environmental impact, to less tangible matters such as the 'design fit' - or contextual fit - of what we bring into existence. But this last issue, which is of considerably more significance that it might at first appear, raises deep questions in itself; for example: What, ultimately, is the context of what? And what are the design implications of our answer to this? Participants will be introduced to a range of ethical tools that they can use to address these issues including my theory of responsive cohesion, and its subsidiary theory of contexts, which has been finding favour in architectural circles (e.g., see Antony Radford, "Responsive Cohesion as the Foundational Value of Architecture", The Journal of Architecture 14 : 511-532; Antony Radford, "Urban Design, Ethics, and Responsive Cohesion", Building Research & Information, 38 : 379-389; see also Warwick Fox, " Architecture Ethics", in Olsen, Pedersen, and Hendricks, eds, A Companion to the Philosophy of Technology [Blackwell, 2009]).
5. The Best Approach to Everything: An Introduction to the Theory of Responsive Cohesion and its Application in Practical Contexts
The theory of responsive cohesion represents my own approach to questions of value at the most general level (e.g., see my book A Theory of General Ethics: Human Relationships, Nature, and the Built Environment). The power of this theory lies in the way in which it enables us to think clearly about questions of value in terms of three kinds of basic structural forms that can be found in any domain of interest, hence, the general applicability of these ideas. More specifically, this theory offers a compelling account of what makes something a good - or the best - example of its kind in domains of interest ranging from theories (whether descriptive or normative), personal/individual psychology, conversations, interpersonal relationships (including therapeutic and counselling relationships), organizational management, politics, and economics, to all manner of skills (whether we are referring to trades, crafts, sports, entertainment, and so on), the written, visual, and performing arts, natural environments, gardens, landscape design, architecture, urban design, and human-constructed objects in general (as noted in the theme above). I touch on or introduce the theory of responsive cohesion as appropriate in my presentation of each of the above themes; however, choosing this as our primary theme allows us to focus on the theory of responsive cohesion in particular, including its application in the area(s) that is most relevant to you.
6. What makes us who we are? Exploring Cutting Edge Research on Self-Awareness, Awareness of Other Minds ('Theory of Mind'), Joint Attention, and the Power of Language
This theme is most suitable for those who have a personal or professional interest in cutting edge research into what is involved in experiencing ourselves as an 'I' - as a being (as opposed to a thing) that has a sense of its own ongoing existence through time; a being, in other words, that possesses an autobiographical sense of self. Pursuing this theme we realize that just as we existed in biological terms before we became aware of ourselves in psychological terms, so it is possible for us to lose our sense of ourselves - our sense of own ongoing existence through time - in psychological terms some time before actually die in biological terms (e.g., advanced Alzheimer's disease or persistent vegetative state). This has significant ethical implications for matters of life and death. Thus, although this theme should be of interest to anyone who wants to gain a better evidence-based understanding of who we are - and why humans really are quite different in some important respects from other animals, despite the fact that this seems to go against much of the tenor of the times - it might be of particular interest to those in the psychological, medical, and caring professions who deal with matters of life and death.
7. Selves in Relation: Exploring the Responsively Cohesive basis of Successful Therapeutic, Counselling, Caring, and other Trust-Building Relationships
This theme combines the two previous themes (i.e., themes 5 and 6 on responsive cohesion and the nature of selves, respectively) in a format that is designed to be most relevant to those involved in therapeutic, counselling, caring, and trust-building relationships.