May 21, 2016

WHY ARE LEFTY INSTITUTIONS SUCH CESSPITS OF SEXUAL EXPLOITATION? Yale Ethics Expert Charged With Sexual Harassment.

When Thomas Pogge travels around the world, he finds eager young fans waiting for him in every lecture hall. The 62-year-old German-born professor, a protégé of the philosopher John Rawls, is bespectacled and slight of stature. But he’s a giant in the field of global ethics, and one of only a small handful of philosophers who have managed to translate prominence within the academy to an influential place in debates about policy.

A self-identified “thought leader,” Pogge directs international health and anti-poverty initiatives, publishes papers in leading journals, and gives TED Talks. His provocative argument that wealthy countries, and their citizens, are morally responsible for correcting the global economic order that keeps other countries poor revolutionized debates about global justice. He’s also a dedicated professor and mentor, at Yale University — where he founded and directs the Global Justice Program, a policy and public health research group — as well as at other prestigious institutions worldwide. By Pogge’s own count, he’s taught 34 graduate seminars, given 1,218 lectures in 46 countries, and supervised 66 doctoral dissertations.

But a recent federal civil rights complaint describes a distinction unlikely to appear on any curriculum vitae: It claims Pogge uses his fame and influence to manipulate much younger women in his field into sexual relationships. One former student said she was punished professionally after resisting his advances.

To read the description of his work, he’s been running a scam for years. It wouldn’t be a shock if his morals were weak in other areas. Or, perhaps, he’s falsely accused — by aspiring ethicists. Either way it doesn’t look great for the profession.

Related: Are professional ethicists good people? According to our research, not especially. So what is the point of learning ethics?

As Peter Morgan and I wrote in The Appearance of Impropriety, there’s not much evidence that talking about ethics makes anyone more ethical.

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