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W&L’s Mudd Center for Ethics Hosts Annual Undergraduate Conference Jonathan Gingerich will deliver the keynote address at the virtual conference on Feb. 17.

Jonathan-Gingerich-600x400 W&L’s Mudd Center for Ethics Hosts Annual Undergraduate Conference

Washington and Lee University’s Roger Mudd Center for Ethics will host a virtual conference on Saturday, Feb. 17. The Mudd Center Undergraduate Ethics Conference is the only open undergraduate conference in the country solely dedicated to the academic study of ethical issues. All accepted speakers will have the opportunity to not only present their papers at the conference, but also to have them published in the Mudd Journal of Ethics.

The conference is free and open to the public to watch online, but registration is required and can be accessed here.

There will be multiple student presenters from universities and colleges across the United States, and W&L students will facilitate a discussion in response to each presentation. A full schedule of events is available online here.

Jonathan Gingerich, associate professor of law at Rutgers University, will deliver the keynote address, titled “Play, Spontaneous Freedom, and the Avant-Garde.” Gingerich’s research explores ways in which moral and political philosophy can be enriched by attending to experiences that are often neglected in contemporary normative theory, such as spontaneity, artistic creativity and cultural participation.

In an upcoming book, Gingerich is developing a novel theory he calls “spontaneous freedom,” which focuses on the freedom of unplanned and unscripted activity. It is a departure from contemporary moral and political philosophers’ conceptions of freedom that are primarily concerned with the type of freedom required for autonomous choice or for a person to be morally responsible for their actions. “Spontaneous freedom” speaks to the freedom felt when setting off to explore an unknown city, opening a sketchbook to a blank page, or quitting your job to embark on a new career path.

Gingerich received his bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University, his J.D. from Harvard Law School, and his doctorate in philosophy from the University of California, Los Angeles. He has published numerous articles in journals such as “Ethics,” “Canadian Journal of Philosophy,” and “Yale Journal of Law and Technology,” and a forthcoming article will be published in “William and Mary Bill of Rights Journal” later this year.

The Mudd Center was established in 2010 through a gift to the university from award-winning journalist Roger Mudd, a 1950 graduate of W&L. By facilitating collaboration across traditional institutional boundaries, the center aims to encourage a multidisciplinary perspective on ethics informed by both theory and practice. Previous Mudd Center lecture series topics have included Global Ethics in the 21st Century, Race and Justice in America, The Ethics of Citizenship, Markets and Morals, Equality and Difference, The Ethics of Identity, The Ethics of Technology, Daily Ethics and Beneficence.