All posts by Ken Pimple

Ken Pimple

About Ken Pimple

I've been involved in the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics before its actual creation. I am coordinating the international conversation on the future of practical and professional ethics for APPE, and organizing five workshops that will be held at Indiana University in Bloomington in academic year 2014-15.

Whistle-Blower, Beware

Today’s New York Times has an op-ed on Edward Snowden’s disclosure that “the National Security Agency was collecting the telephone records of tens of millions of Americans.” The author, Mark Hertsgaard, shows that Snowden’s decision was shaped by the experience of Thomas Drake, “a senior N.S.A. official who had also complained, 12 years earlier, about warrantless surveillance.”

Drake’s house was raided by the F.B.I., and he “was forced to resign and was indicted on 10 felony charges arising from an alleged ‘scheme’ to improperly ‘retain and disclose classified information.'”

Snowden “followed the Drake case closely in the news media” and told Al Jazeera, “If there hadn’t been a Thomas Drake, there couldn’t have been an Edward Snowden.”

Hertsgaard opines that Drake’s case convinced Snowden that he

had only two real options: remain silent, or break the law by leaking documents to the press in hopes that would bring scrutiny to the N.S.A.’s surveillance activities.

Were those truly the only options available to Snowden? I’m doubtful. What do you think?

Ken Pimple
May 26, 2016
3:30 pm EST

 Share  Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
Follow Facebooktwitterlinkedin

The Broken Bargain With College Graduates

An op-ed in today’s New York Times reiterates points we made in an earlier post: The high rate of college tuition debt is an ethical problem for the United States, in part because, as the editorial says,

the familiar assumption — graduate from college and prosperity will follow — has been disproved in this century. College-educated workers have not seen meaningful pay raises, and public policy has failed to address the stagnation.

The editorial goes on to paraphrase President Obama on ways to improve the situation:

Modernize infrastructure. Raise the minimum wage. Reverse the dynamics that increase executive pay and depress employee pay. Close tax loopholes that enrich the wealthy, and give tax breaks to families to help pay for child care. Ensure that women earn equal pay for equal work.

One must hope that our next president, and the congress with which she or he will have to contend, will act quickly and comprehensibly.

Ken Pimple
May 22, 2016
6:30 pm EST

 Share  Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
Follow Facebooktwitterlinkedin

Ethics, Transparency, and Trust: The Ethical Intelligence Professional

The fifth in The Future of Professional Ethics Workshop series at Indiana University will be hosted by the Maurer School of Law,  Friday, April 15, 9:30 am-noon, in Maurer Law School 125, via Twitter #FutureEthics, and live stream.

Seminar poster

The keynote speaker is Alexander W. Joel, Civil Liberties Protection Officer, Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Mr. Joel will discuss how ethical principles can help ensure that intelligence agencies pursue their national security mission in a manner that reflects the nation’s values while coping with constant and fast-paced change and striving to build and maintain public trust through transparency.


  • Part I — Maurer Law School 125
    • 9:30 am – 10:30 am — Keynote
    • 10:30 am – 11:30 am — Perspectives from IU faculty with expertise in areas such as whistleblowing, cryptography, law, and leadership, plus a public Q&A period
  • Part II — Poynter Center
    • 12:00 noon – 1:30 pm – – A panel of past and current professionals from the intelligence community, including the CIA and the US Attorney’s office, will continue the discussion over lunch.

NOTE Please notify by Monday, April 11th to be included in the catering order, or feel free to bring your own brown bag lunch.


 Share  Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
Follow Facebooktwitterlinkedin

Professionals without Borders: Cosmopolitan Ethics and the Global Imaginary

The fourth in The Future of Professional Ethics Workshop series at Indiana University Bloomington will be hosted by The Media School, Friday, April 1, 9:00 am-noon, in Woodburn Hall 111 and online: #FutureEthics

Seminar poster

The keynote speaker is Clifford Christians, Professor Emeritus of Communication, of Media Studies, and Journalism, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Abundant electronic technologies are reinventing the globe as mobile territory, with transit and portability the new normal.  Digital mediation typically means that we exist “everywhere always and nowhere never.”  Professionalism is now a borderless phenomenon in a deep and profound way unknown before in history.  The media are a technological regime at the meaning-edge of the technological revolution; therefore the media professions are a privileged laboratory for understanding professional theory and practice as a whole in the digital era.  The challenge in an age of the instantaneous and momentary is to develop a cosmopolitan ethics, cosmopolitanism known in history as “citizens of the world.”  Now this idea ought to be the defining imperative for teaching, research, and professional practice.  The globe is an imaginary, and instead of it being imagined as neoliberal markets or nation states, Heidegger’s humanocentric philosophy of technology should construct our global imagination.  Within that global imaginary, a cosmopolitan ethics begins with universal human solidarity rather than the traditional ethics of individual autonomy.  A credible commitment to humanity’s intrinsic worth is possible if our education of students and training of professionals is rooted in the liberal arts where questions of life’s purpose and moral philosophy predominate.

Made Possible by  College of Arts and Sciences Ostrom Grants Program.

Sponsored by Association for Practical and Professional Ethics; Department of Business, Law & Ethics, Kelley School of Business; Division of Informatics, School of Informatics and Computing; Maurer School of Law; Media School; Medical Sciences Program; Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics; School of Education; School of Optometry; School of Public and Environmental Affairs; School of Public Health–Bloomington; School of Social Work.

 Share  Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
Follow Facebooktwitterlinkedin

Call for Papers: The Past, Present and Future of Applied Ethics

Call for Papers

10th International Conference on Applied Ethics:
‘The Past, Present and Future of Applied Ethics’
October 28-30 (Fri–Sun), 2016
Hosted by the Center for Applied Ethics and Philosophy (CAEP)
Hokkaido University (Sapporo, Japan)

We are delighted to announce the 10th International Conference on Applied Ethics on October 28-30 (Fri–Sun), 2016, at Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan.

We invite papers written towards the conference theme in applied ethics, broadly construed, that address philosophical, political, economic, social, and cultural issues in applied ethics.

This includes, but is not limited to: meta/normative ethics, bio/medical ethics, engineering ethics, ethics of science and technology, information ethics, research ethics, environmental ethics, business ethics, professional ethics, feminist/gender/sexuality ethics, philosophy of sex, political philosophy, moral psychology, and international/global ethics.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Ruth Chadwick (Manchester)
  • Michael Davis (Illinois Institute of Technology)
  • Peter G. Stone (Newcastle)
  • Stephen Ward (British Columbia)

Those participants who wish to present papers are requested to submit a 150–300 word abstract in a MS-Word file (.doc) to CAEP ( by May 31 (Tue), 2016.

Presented papers may be considered for publication in both our print and electronic journal upon submission and review.

Up to ten travel awards of between 20,000 and 30,000 JPY (equivalent to approx. 180–270 USD) are available for overseas graduate students and non-tenured scholars who present papers. The grant application form is available from the CAEP webpage. (Application Deadline: May 31 (Tue), 2016)

For further details, please visit our website:

All queries should be sent to:

Center for Applied Ethics and Philosophy
Graduate School of Letters
Hokkaido University
N10 W7, Kita-ku
Sapporo 060-0810

 Share  Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
Follow Facebooktwitterlinkedin

A risk factor for lapses of professionalism

The Indiana University School of Medicine Newsroom circulated an interesting report on research concerning professionalism. The study “is one of the first to provide quantitative evidence to support anecdotal claims linking reflective ability of medical students and professional behaviors of future physicians.”

The term “reflective ability” is new to me, but a simple example made it clear.

“Medical students know right from wrong but don’t always reflect on the short- and long-term consequences of their actions,” Dr. Frankel [senior author of the study] said. “For example, cutting and pasting sources from the Internet without attribution, which some students believe is permissible, is actually a form of plagiarism as is cutting and pasting patients’ electronic medical records. Not seeing or reflecting upon the connection between these two types of behaviors can pose a risk for serious lapses in professionalism. By enhancing students’ training in reflective practice we can boost their awareness and vigilance regarding professionalism.”

I can’t help wondering whether other practitioners in other professions are at a similar risk, and whether mentioned training in reflective practice would help them.

Anonymous. 2016. “Low reflective ability is risk for professionalism lapses during medical school and beyond.” IUSM Newsroom (Jan 21).

Ken Pimple
January 22, 2016
5:10 pm EDT

 Share  Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
Follow Facebooktwitterlinkedin

Developing and Defending Your Ethical Professional Brand

The third in The Future of Professional Ethics Workshop series at Indiana University Bloomington will be hosted by the School of Public & Environmental Affairs, Friday, January 29, 11:30-1:30 pm, in SPEA 169* and online: #FutureEthics

Seminar poster

The keynote speaker is Trish Tchume, First Executive Director of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network.

  • 11:30-12:30: Keynote
  • 12:30-1:00: Responses by IU Faculty
  • 1:00-1:30: Pizza and open discussion period

Young professionals across sectors can expect that they will need to move between organizations and adapt to a variety of contexts, all while acquiring new knowledge and skills.  Cultivating a sense of one’s own professional identity or brand can be a challenge; doing so with integrity and attention to ethical priorities is essential.  Join Trish Tchume for an introduction to this topic, followed by a panel discussion and workshop session.  Tchume, a member of the inaugural class of American Express NGen Fellows, is a writer and activist, and she served as the first Executive Director of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network. 

*BUILDING UNDER CONSTRUCTION! Updated tips on how to access it here:

Made Possible by  College of Arts and Sciences Ostrom Grants Program.

Sponsored by Association for Practical and Professional Ethics; Department of Business, Law & Ethics, Kelley School of Business; Division of Informatics, School of Informatics and Computing; Maurer School of Law; Media School; Medical Sciences Program; Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics; School of Education; School of Optometry; School of Public and Environmental Affairs; School of Public Health–Bloomington; School of Social Work.

 Share  Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
Follow Facebooktwitterlinkedin

Ethics and Technology in the U.S. Navy

Professor Thomas E. Creely, Ph.D.*

1. What ethical challenges do professionals currently face?

As the world becomes more globalized, there is a lack of fusion of cultures with respect to Western versus Eastern values. In the midst of globalization, there is increased polarization ideologically. This presents not only a global clash of cultural values, but a local clash of cultural values.

The use of social media presents ethical dynamics for people who have a physical personality and a separate online personality. This presents ethical challenges for ethical leadership. What happens when a millennial leader projects the online personality adversely in the work place?

As technological autonomy increases in warfare, desensitization of the human factor increases. How do we keep technology humane? Or, does the “Other” simply become an object? Young people who have coursing personal values (ethics) are adept with technology. How will they handle ethically complex technology in warfare?

Increasingly, millennials prefer texting as the primary means of communicating, which presents a challenge in the military environment. At least 60 percent of communications is the visual reception of body language. The lack of face-to-face communications appears to adversely affect trust, transparency, and ethical engagement.

In developing a deeper ethical culture in the Navy, do incentives for ethical behavior or celebrating ethical behavior have the greater impact on ethical leader development?

Across the board, senior Naval Officers notice the general lack of empathy among young Sailors. This lack of empathy has an impact on projecting moral leadership.

Social media and games influence Sailors’ ethical values. Social media and many games do not reinforce positive values for moral engagement and impact. The lack of civility on social media and the permissive violence in games is opposite of developing ethical leaders in the Navy.

The increasing government bureaucracy within the Navy and U.S. Government overcomes reasonableness and marginalizes and constrains ethical decision making.

2. What do the professions and professionals need when encountering new ethical challenges? How might Association for Practical and Professional Ethics address these needs?

In Navy Recruiting and Basic Training, Sailors need robust ethics education and introspection of values for personal development. Seeds must be planted early in young Enlisted and Officers for future leader development.

The gap between the average Sailor’s ethics and technology must be closed. The Sailor’s knowledge and use of technology is more advanced than their ethical knowledge and critical thinking skills. This requires a focus in teaching ethics in all of Naval Education and Training Curriculum.

Thomas E. Creely, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor at the College of Operational and Strategic Leadership, United States Naval War College (Newport, Rhode Island).

*Note: We are pleased to share Professor Creely’s answers to key questions associated with the Year of Conversation on the Future of Practical and Professional Ethics.

 Share  Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
Follow Facebooktwitterlinkedin

Ethics Education: Can You Change a Moral Compass?

Samantha Strong

During the Nov. 13 keynote address for the Future of Professional Ethics workshop, “Committed Professionals: Handling Obstacles to Ethics,” Lisa M. Lee, Ph.D., M.A., M.S., Executive Director for the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, discussed the importance of ethical preparedness in public health. Such preparedness, she argued, is essential to outbreak and disease management; it is a key component to effectively navigate the political realm; and it is the foundation upon which difficult decisions are made. Such preparedness, she stated, is the responsibility of every professional. Such preparedness can be generated through education.

Ethics is everywhere. In the allocation of scarce resources, the application of big data, traversing the political realm, and in the use of authority — ethics is everywhere. And it is for this reason ethics training should be integrated into the education of all professionals, particularly among public health professionals. The day’s conversations revolved around the application and inclusion of ethics training: Should scientists receive ethics training? How should such training be incorporated into public health professional’s education? What about medical schools? How much can we depend on IRBs for ethical matters? What is our responsibility? The conclusion was unequivocal: Ethics training and preparedness are everyone’s responsibility. Physicians, politicians, drug manufacturers, research scientists, public health professionals — we are all ethically responsible. What did remain unanswered, however, was how to ensure all professionals are adequately prepared.

Ethics education and training should be integrated into all professionals’ educations. While this is easier said than done, ethically important issues demand successful application. The incorporation of bioethical training and preparedness in public health curricula will enhance ethical preparedness and hasten the assimilation of ethics across disciplines. As Dr. Lee noted, “having a straight moral compass and being ethical are not the same thing.” Public health educators are not responsible to straighten students and professionals’ moral compasses; they are obliged to teach and prepare their students for an ethical and effectual career. Public health is an “ultra-disciplinary” field, making it a beautiful challenge worth undertaking. Ethical competency is necessary to successfully take on such a challenge.

Public health professionals are not the only ones responsible for ethical competency. It is on the shoulders of all professionals, including scientists. Dr. Lee noted the occasionally strained relationship between science and ethics, stating that such a relationship is not an “ either or an or, but an and.” Science is not the enemy, but it is up to all professionals to learn and discover what we should do in addition to what we can do. Many barriers are preventing ethics from entering the public health sphere, but beneficence, ethics, and responsibility are necessary components in the public health sector. Serving the public requires fulfilling many roles, facing many conflicts, and making difficult decisions. All are enhanced in a humanitarian, civic, and societal level when built upon a foundation of ethics. Ethical preparedness and education can lay this foundation.

Samantha Strong is an undergraduate student at Indiana University studying bioethics and political and civic engagement. 

December 14, 2015

 Share  Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
Follow Facebooktwitterlinkedin

Research Integrity Inside the Beltway: Looking Back and Looking Forward

The Association for Practical and Professional Ethics is pleased to announce “Research Integrity Inside the Beltway: Looking Back and Looking Forward.” This pre-conference workshop will precede the main program of the 25th Annual Meeting of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE) in Reston, Virginia.

This is an exciting time as we reflect on significant achievements in the field, current issues, policy and program mandates, and new challenges.  Our presenters will discuss the research integrity issues their agencies and organizations address, thedifficulties involved in developing policy, and the future of research and policy on research integrity.

The workshop will feature a report from the 4th World Conference on Research Integrity (provided by Elizabeth Heitman and Daniel Vasgird), and presentations by the following invited speakers:

  1. Tom Arrison, Program Director for Development, Security, and Cooperation
    National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
  1. Daniel Denecke, Vice President, Best Practices and Strategic Initiatives
    Council of Graduate Schools
  1. Francesca Grifo, Scientific Integrity Official
    Environmental Protection Agency
  1. Zoë Hammatt, Director, Division of Education and Integrity
    Office of Research Integrity
  1. Allison C. Lerner, Inspector General
    National Science Foundation
  1. Heather Pierce, Sr. Director, Science Policy & Regulatory Counsel
    American Association of Medical Colleges

The pre-conference workshop will take place on February 18th, 2016, from 9-4, and the main conference program will begin at 4:00 and continue through Saturday, February 20th.

Workshop attendees are invited to register and attend the main conference program which features a presentation by Christine Grady (NIH) and peer-reviewed presentations on a number of topics in research integrity, bioethics, business ethics, environmental ethics, and moral theory. Registration for the workshop is $110, and is separate from registration for the conference.

December 10, 2015

 Share  Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
Follow Facebooktwitterlinkedin