The Ethics Professors: Are Resolutions Too Hard To Keep? | KCUR

The Ethics Professors: Are Resolutions Too Hard To Keep?

So here we are three weeks into the year.  How about a show of hands: how many of you have already broken your new year’s resolutions?

Should we even make resolutions?  Do we do something wrong when we break them? 

The Ethics Professors, UMKC philosophy professors Clancy Martin and Wayne Vaught, discuss these questions and ask: do resolutions differ from other sorts of promises or contracts?  Do they involve a kind of self-deception and is such deception morally problematic?  When political candidates make promises and then switch positions, should they be called "flip-floppers" or are such changes in philosophy understandable and acceptable?

Wayne Vaught is interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, professor of philosophy and medicine, and director of the Center for Applied and Professional Ethics at UMKC. His primary research focus is in the area of biomedical ethics, with an emphasis on ethical issues in pediatrics. He received a bachelor's degree in philosophy, psychology and religion at Georgetown College in Georgetown, Ky., a master's in philosophy at Baylor University, and a Ph.D. in philosophy with a concentration in medical ethics from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

Clancy Martin is a professor of philosophy at UMKC. He works on 19th and 20th Century European philosophy, the intersections of philosophy and literature, and the ethics of advertising and selling. Clancy has authored, coauthored and edited several books in philosophy, including Love, Lies, and Marriage, Honest Work with Robert Solomon and Joanne Ciulla, and The Philosophy of Deception. He has published more than two dozen articles and reviews on Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Romanticism and the virtue of truthfulness and has also translated Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Clancy also publishes fiction in Noon, McSweeneys and elsewhere. Clancy earned his Ph.D. in 2003 from the University of Texas at Austin.