Ethics and the Challenge of Secularism: Russian and Western Perspectives

May 25, 2012 - May 26, 2012
Center for Ethics and Culture, University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame
United States

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Both Russia and the West today face challenges posed by secularism, but in ways shaped by their very different histories and cultures. This conference brings together Russian and western scholars to explore such questions as:  Is there an adequate secular basis for morality?  What can the sciences contribute to ethics?  Is society destined to become more secular, and what are the resources and challenges facing religion in the 21st century?


Friday, May 25

8:30-9:00       Continental breakfast

9:00-10:15      Prof. Tim Mawson, Oxford University, “Is Whether or Not There’s a God Worth Thinking about?” 

10:15-10:30  Break

10:30-11:45  Prof. Vladimir Shokhin, Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences, “Gratitude to Humans and Thanksgiving to God: Some Remarks”

11:45-1:00      Lunch

1:00-2:15  Prof. Alexander V. Razin, Moscow State University, “Freedom of Choice and Principles of Personal Self-Determination”                

2:15-3:30  Prof. Japa Pallikkathayil, New York University, “Freedom of Expression in Mill and Kant”

3:30-3:45   Break

3:45-5:00  Prof. Ruben G. Apressyan, Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences, “On the Normative Contexts and Associations of the Commandment, Do Not Resist Evil”

6:30-8:00    Dinner

Saturday, May 26

8:30-9:00    Continental breakfast

9:00-10:15   Prof. Christian Miller, Wake Forest University, “Do People have the Virtues or Vices? Some Results from Psychology”                     

10:15-10:30  Break

10:30-11:45  Mr. Andrey Shishkov, Theological Commission of the Moscow Patriarchate, “The Post-Secular in Post-Atheistic Russia”

11:45-1:00 Lunch

1:00-2:15   Rev. Dr. Vladimir Shmaliy, Theological Commission of the Moscow Patriarchate, “Ethical Discussion in Post-Secular Perspective: The Russian Situation”

2:15-3:30   Prof. David Solomon, University of Notre Dame, “Filling the Void: Academic Ethics and Secular Medicine”                    

3:30-3:45   Break

3:45-5:00   Round-table discussion
                Commentators TBA

6:30-8:00   Dinner

There is no registration fee, but attendees are asked to register to facilitate distribution of conference materials.  See:,
and for a map of the conference site see our website:

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May 25, 2012, 10:00am EST

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