Canadian Society for the Study of Practical Ethics Talks and Annual General Meeting
Amber Spence (University of Guelph), Craig K. Agule (Rutgers University - Camden)

June 4, 2021, 1:00pm - 4:00pm

This event is online


Topic areas


This event features two papers and time for questions and answers. In addition, the event will feature the Canadian Society for the Study of Practical Ethics (CSSPE) Annual General Meeting. The timing will be as follows:

  • 1:00 – 2:00 pm ET – The Responsive Diversity Worker by Amber Spence, University of Guelph, Philosophy Department
  • 2:00 – 3:00 pm ET – CSSPE Annual General Meeting
  • 3:00 – 4:00 pm ET – Forgiveness as Turning Off Blame’s Lamp by Craig K. Agule, Rutgers University–Camden

The Responsive Diversity Worker
Amber Spence, University of Guelph, Philosophy Department

Often in academia, women and minorities are held to a higher standard in how they present themselves (caring, empathetic), and how they manage the emotions of their colleagues and students. The emotional labour that has become expected of them is well documented in studies and feminist literature.

In my paper, I expand on Carla Fehr’s ‘epistemic diversity worker’ to better include all women and minorities within the term ‘diversity worker’. Most importantly, I develop a new term to include the emotional labour that is done by diversity workers: Responsive Diversity Work. I summarize Fehr’s view of the epistemic diversity worker in section one, develop a theory of emotional labour in section two, and explain how the responsive diversity worker is, by virtue of the unfair emotional labour that is expected of her, at great risk of developing mental health issues.

I develop a view of emotional labour by investigating the theory proposed by Hochschild and expanded by Nobauer and Koster. Generally, this view regards emotional labour as the work involved in either inciting an emotional state in oneself, or simply behaving as though one feels a certain way that has become expected of them.

The choice to ‘opt out’ of the work involved in emotional labour comes at a cost for the diversity worker, in a way that does not happen to her cis white male counterparts. For the diversity worker, not engaging in emotional labour can entail a halt in professional advancement in the form of poor student evaluations. These evaluations are used in professional contexts to help make a case for or against career advancement. The strain from sustaining this level of emotional management often results in mental health issues, which may help to shed light on the problem of the leaky pipeline.

Forgiveness as Turning Off Blame’s Lamp
Craig K. Agule, Rutgers University–Camden

Forgiveness has a puzzling relationship with the reasons we might forgive. To some philosophers, it has seemed that we can only forgive for certain reasons; the reasons are ontological conditions of forgiveness. To other philosophers, it has seemed that good reasons to forgive mandate forgiveness; the reasons are obligating, normative conditions of forgiveness. Both of these positions are in deep tension with our ordinary practice of forgiveness, as it seems that forgiveness is up to us and that we might sometimes forgive in error. To properly respond to these puzzling features, we must properly understand forgiveness, and to properly understand forgiveness, we must properly understand blame. In this paper, I explain that blame essentially involves certain perceptual dispositions, dispositions to attend and dispositions to interpret. When we forgive, we set aside those perceptual dispositions. As I argue, blame is like a lamp, and so forgiveness is turning off that lamp. Understanding blame and forgiveness in those ways helps us resolve forgiveness’s ostensibly puzzling relationship with its reasons.

Supporting material

Add supporting material (slides, programs, etc.)




June 4, 2021, 1:00pm EST

External Site

Who is attending?

No one has said they will attend yet.

Will you attend this event?

Let us know so we can notify you of any change of plan.

RSVPing on PhilEvents is not sufficient to register for this event.