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Rugby union star Karmichael Hunt has been stood down by his club pending a court appearance on drug supply charges. AAP/Dan Peled

Being great at sport does not come with good moral judgement

There is a tension between views of players’ rights under employment contracts and their responsibilities – both ethically and contractually
News of Tanveer Ahmed’s dismissal from The Australian has put plagiarism back in the headlines. Bart

Feeding the beast: why plagiarism rips off readers too

By now you’ve likely heard about psychiatrist and columnist Tanveer Ahmed’s recent opinion piece in The Australian in which he effectively blamed radical feminism for domestic violence. Others have explained…
Concerns about art and the environment should not be so divorced. Lucy Orta

Arts institutions must break their petroleum dependency

After a three-year court battle, the Tate has been forced to disclose how much money it receives in sponsorship from BP. The stubbornness seemed to indicate a massive sum, one the galleries could not do…
Australians don’t like the death penalty – we just don’t want the discomfort of having to care about the people it’s applied to. EPA/Made Nagi

The Bali Nine, and how not to argue for the death penalty

Barring some sort of last-minute miracle, two relatively young Australian men, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, are going to be killed by the Indonesian state. They will not be the first to die this way…
A truly deep thinker must draw on both science and the humanities. Todd Martin

What’s the role of virtues in the lab?

The evolution of science and engineering in the 21st century has transformed the role of these professions in profound ways that affect research, scholarship and the practice of teaching in the university…
Do all authors listed on any published work actually contribute to the research? Shutterstock/alexskopje

Tackling unethical authorship deals on scientific publications

The research excellence of academics is often measured by the quantity and quality of their scholarly publications. But how do we know that all authors listed on a publication have actually been involved…
Stéphane Charbonnier’s Charlie Hebdo offended people of all religions, but when does causing offence become unethical? EPA/Yoan Valat

How do we decide if offending someone is unethical or not?

Causing offence to others often causes hurt. Such actions have been condemned as unethical, even immoral behaviour in a civilised society. There have been many examples. The Bill Henson photographs of…
When violence erupts, we can be tempted to make judgements about collective responsibility based on our own allegiances, rather than consistent moral principles. EPA/Ian Langsdon

Charlie Hebdo attack: when should we hold a group responsible for a member’s evil?

When should we hold a group morally responsible for a member’s evil? In the wake of the Charlie Hedbo attacks, many will demand answers about Islam’s role in promoting violence. As we brace for the inevitable…
Giving a gift is a complex transaction. So what makes a gift good? MattysFlicks/Flickr

Give and take: the anxiety of gift giving at Christmas

The anxiety attached to gift giving is worth considering. The Christian commemoration of Christmas is about celebrating God’s ultimate gift, his only son. Such an exceptional gift reaches its destiny in…
“In a dance as old as time”: Bristol shoppers get ready for some 1950s bargains. Paul Townsend

Amazon price glitch: to buy or not to buy, that is the moral question

Christmas is never plain sailing. It’s tough on consumers trying to work out how much food to buy and how to get their hands on the latest must-have toy for children, and it’s tough for retailers trying…
Trust in doctors to do the right thing. Organ by Shutterstock

How much should you be told about your organ donor?

The recent inquest into a case in Wales where two patients died following kidney transplants has focused fresh attention on the risks associated with transplantation. No transplant is risk-free, but the…
In September, Tony Abbott returned two antique statues to India in the presence of his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi. EPA/ Government of India

Stolen cultural objects: what’s the role of Australian galleries?

Last week, The Australian reported that 49 artworks had been identified by the Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA) with gaps in their ownership history that could signal they were stolen. Asian antiquities…
Politicians would deny that wealthy people buying time with them and donating to parties influences decision making. EPA/Steffen Schmidt

Integrity in politics

Below is the text of Michelle Grattan’s Accountability Round Table lecture, November 18, 2014. Most of us who’ve been around politics for a while in one capacity or another can remember the time when misleading…
George Brandis argues that it is the government’s duty to investigate and prevent serious crimes – and that metadata can help. AAP/Alan Porritt

Metadata and privacy: surveillance state or business as usual?

Metadata, previously a word limited to the tech-savvy, is now not only a hot topic of public discussion but the focus of new national security legislation. The public discussion seems split between two…
Old fashioned scandals meet new-fangled complexity. Andy Dean Photography

Will all the ethical social scientists please stand up?

Social scientists have to get better at recognising and responding to ethical problems. Although economists, political scientists and psychologists have not been responsible for the same level of abuses…
Confucius stands guard at Beijing’s Renmin University. George (Sam) Crane

Confucius doesn’t live here anymore

In today’s China, the philosopher Confucius is back. To mark his 2,565th birthday this September, the nation’s President, Xi Jinping, paid homage to the sage at an international conference convened for…
Should teachers dictate what’s right or wrong? Blackboard via pupunkkop/Shutterstock

We need to teach children how to think, not what to think

In its ideal form, education should be socially progressive. We teach the next generation of scientists, engineers and medical researchers who will improve our quality of life: they will learn more about…

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