Markkula Center of Applied Ethics

Who We Are

During a typical two-week period last fall, staff from the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

  • met with the leadership of the Tech Museum of Innovation on how to integrate ethical questions into exhibits,

  • conducted a workshop for student leaders on living and working with integrity,

  • gave a presentation to the Masonry Association of California and Nevada on the challenges facing family businesses,

  • assisted top management and members of the biomedical ethics committee of O'Connor Hospital, San Jose, in developing a common moral language for solving practical health-care dilemmas, and

  • spoke with reporters on the ethics of printing the Unabomber manifesto.

One idea gives coherence to this various activities. As Center Director Thomas Shanks, S.J., puts it, "Ethics is all about relationships. Morality brings us into contact with other human beings and asks us to consider the quality of that contact. Because we have the ability to be critical of our interpersonal behavior and our own contact with other human beings, we have the ability to develop standards to govern that behavior. Those moral norms and virtues, we call ethics."

The Markkula Center assists people in reflecting on this ethical dimension of their lives by helping them define and examine assumptions, clarify moral principles, consider alternative viewpoints, and pay attention to the logical consequences of particular courses of action. At the Center, we don't tell people how to think - rather we suggest what to think about and how to think it through.

Issues in Ethics is one way for the Center to engage people in dialogue about the important moral questions they face. In this issue, for example, we look at the ethical implications of the O.J. Simpson Trial and the moral questions raised by media mergers.

We hope you will let us know whether you find Issues in Ethics useful and that you will add your voice to our dialogue on ethics. We can be reached through the Ethics Center homepage on the World Wide Web: You can also contact us by e-mail, or regular mail: Editor, Issues in Ethics, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA 95053.