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How can we engage ethical issues in public life?

This site is a way to learn about and engage in a collaborative, multi-disciplinary, and cross-campus project at the University of Florida to explore the ethical dimensions of controversial contemporary problems. Through teaching, research, and public engagement, we hope to develop better ways to understand what is at stake in these issues, to facilitate constructive reflection and dialogue about them, and to support effective action toward the common good.

Our project is part of the University of Florida Intersections program, organized by the UF Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere and made possible with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

News and Events

“Are you interested in learning more about controversial public issues, by talking about them with other students in a comfortable environment?  Come to an Ethics Cafe!  Ethics Cafes provide a friendly, informal setting for students to wrestle with hard moral questions.  This fall, the Intersections group on Ethics in the Public Sphere will offer three Cafes where students can talk about contentious issues like immigration, education reform, and climate change.  No previous training is necessary – bring an open mind, willingness to listen and share, and a desire to learn from your peers.

We have three cafes scheduled for fall 2019.  On Monday, Sept. 16, we will discuss Immigration Reform from 1:55 to 2:45.

On Monday, October 28, we will discuss climate change from 11:45 to 12:35.
And on Thursday, November 7, we will discuss Free College Tuition from 11:45 to 12:35.

All Cafés will be held in Smathers 100. Snacks will be provided!  For more information, please email us at

Also in fall 2019, five Ethics in the Public Sphere cluster courses will hold a mini-conference on Monday, November 18.  Student posters will be available all day in the Reitz Union Ballroom.  The event is open to the public, so please stop by to see the posters and talk with students about their work on the ethical dimensions of public issues.

Looking ahead to spring, we will be sponsoring three public events.  On March 11, we will sponsor a panel addressing the question of whether Gainesville should become a sanctuary city.  On April 1, there will be a panel discussion about how Gainesville should respond to the climate crisis.  And on April 15, we will hold a public ethics cafe.  All these events will be in the evening at the Thomas Center.  Check back for more details!”