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Wednesday, May. 22, 2002

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - May 21, 2002 - Declaring that "doing what is right in our complex world demands constant attention to the challenges of new ethical dilemmas," the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University today unveiled its "Ethics Outlook," a National Ethics Agenda for 2002-3.

"We operate on the assumption that the United States and its individual citizens want to act ethically," said Kirk Hanson, director of the University's nationally recognized ethics center. "Yet sometimes world events, scientific discoveries, and technological advances proceed at a pace that outruns our moral thinking."

The agenda announced today by Hanson and discussed at a briefing for business, educational, and political leaders at Santa Clara University identified these six "underlying ethical dilemmas behind the headlines, which must be confronted by each of us and by our nation:"

  • Developing a principled approach to foreign intervention
    (war against global terrorism, protecting threatened populations)
  • Controlling abuses of power
    (corporations, courts and police, religious institutions)
  • Resolving conflicts of interest in the new economy
    (security analysts, accountants, government contracts)
  • Allocating health care fairly
    (access to health care, rising health care costs)
  • Confronting the personal ethics of aging and retirement
    (financial planning, quality of life, health care decisions, end of life)
  • Exploring the limits of scientific freedom
    (biotechnology, genetic research)

While headlines of the past year about Enron, accountants, clergy, courts and police, health care costs, investments, and stem-cell and other scientific research have all had much-publicized ethical dimensions, the SCU ethics center is not attempting to predict the ethical issues that will actually dominate headlines in the next 12 months, Hanson said.

"Instead, we are offering the best thinking of ethics center staff, affiliated scholars from Santa Clara University and members of our advisory board on the dilemmas we should be considering," he said.

"How we answer those questions will shape our own and our nation's moral character in the year to come," he said.

About the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Founded in 1986, the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics has grown into one of the four most active university-based ethics centers in the United States. The center at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, Calif., is a nationally recognized resource for people and organizations that want to study and apply an ethical approach to decision-making. The center supports research, assists faculty in integrating ethics into their courses and helps businesses, schools, hospitals and other organizations put ethics to work. Ethics center programs include: biotechnology and health care ethics; business ethics; K-12 character education; philosophical questions in applied ethics, public policy and government ethics, and emerging issues in ethics. For more information, see

About Kirk Hanson

Before coming to SCU in 2001, Hanson taught business ethics at Stanford University for 22 years, worked extensively with companies on the design and implementation of business ethics programs and advised or conducted corporate values and ethics workshops for over 40 corporations and universities. Hanson holds bachelor's and MBA degrees from Stanford University.

About Santa Clara University

Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located in California's Silicon Valley, offers its 7,400 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, plus master's and law degrees. Distinguished nationally by the third-highest graduation rate among all U.S. master's universities, California's oldest higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. More information is on line at


To arrange for an interview today with Kirk Hanson, and/or to obtain a copy of The Ethics Outlook, A National Ethics Agenda, call Barry Holtzclaw at 408-554-5126, or 408-674-8866, or email

Tags: ethics

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