This morning more than 100 students participated in the third instalment of our Tikvah Lecture Series. Dr David Shatz, Professor of Philosophy at Yeshiva U., Associate Professor of Religion at Columbia, and editor of Torah u-Maddah Journal, led a vibrant and thought-provoking discussion on philosophical and halakhic considerations of ethical dilemmas. Students gained an appreciation of the different types of factors that go into an ethical decision (utility, act, virtue, etc.) which led them to the conclusion that the 'right' act is not always the 'good' act. The presentation was extremely interactive as students weighed in on what they perceived to be the proper mode of conduct in the challenging cases that were presented. They came to understand the complexity of each dilemma and the diversity of opinions among their peers. Many students continued the discussion with Dr Shatz long after his presentation concluded.
The Lecture Series exceeded our expectation, as many more students than we anticipated chose to participate in the program and benefitted from the scholarship and expertise of our presenters. We hope to expand the program in the coming year, affording students more opportunities to interface with scholars and to engage in serious thinking about the interplay between Judaic Studies and Western Thought.