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Talk to Explore 'Interna Exile,' Human Dignity, Opportunity

Applied Ethics Institute Hosts Philosophy Professor

Written By Alexis March '13, PR Intern

Craig Duncan to address equal opportunity, dignity issues


Utica, NY (04/03/2013)
- The Applied Ethics Institute at Utica College will host Craig Duncan, associate professor and chair of the department of philosophy and religion at Ithaca College, on Thursday, April 11 at 7 p.m. His presentation, “No ‘Internal Exiles’: Human Dignity and Fair Equality of Opportunity,” will be held in the Carbone Family Auditorium in the Economic Crime and Justice Studies Building.

Professor Duncan will discuss dignity as it promotes the fair equality of opportunity. This understanding can be used to decry inequalities in, for example, public education and childhood poverty rates which impact many minority communities.

Talking points include:
- The United States is far from achieving the ideal of equal opportunity-- and in fact, has moved farther away from this ideal in recent decades
- Opportunity is sill too stratified by such factors as class and race
- The need a robust form of equal opportunity, in which there is a level “training field” as well as a level “playing field”—that is, a fair opportunity to obtain employment qualifications as well as a fair opportunity at the point of hiring
- Opponents of robust equality of opportunity claim it is too restrictive of freedom. But far from conflicting with equality, both freedom and equality are manifestations of he more basic value of human dignity
- To respect others’ dignity by acknowledging that they have a right to a “fair go” in life, and by making this right effective in practice
- A concrete implication of robust equal opportunity is school reform. There should be affordable access to quality pre-K programs, and more generally, school district funding needs reforming
- Another implication: America must become less of a prison state
- As long as there is significant family autonomy (as there should be) there will never be perfect equality of opportunity. However, this does not excuse inaction, for we should pursue equality of opportunity as strongly as we can consistent with due regard for family autonomy

The presentation is free and open to the public.

For more information about the presentation, visit or contact Christopher Riddle, assistant professor of philosophy and director of the Applied Ethics Institute, at

About Utica College – Utica College, founded in 1946, is a comprehensive private institution offering bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees. The College, located in upstate central New York, approximately 90 miles west of Albany and 50 miles east of Syracuse, currently enrolls over 3,700 students in 38 undergraduate majors, 29 minors, 22 master’s and two doctoral degree programs.


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