427 N Shaw Ln, East Lansing, MI 48824
The Civilization of Clashes
Managing Moral Conflict
Don Ellis, University of Hartford
Moral conflicts involve sacred values that are particularly resistant to resolution. Ellis makes the argument that we are failing to address difficult conflicts such as Israel-Palestine in the most propitious manner because theory and research is still too dependent on rational models of decision-making and cognition. This is typically because scholars ignore exclusivist principles rooted in ethnicity and religion. Moreover, one or both parties tend to hold “sacred values” that are not subject to market-based rational decision-making. These values are typically rooted in religion and ethnicity with fixed beliefs contrary to the goals of democracy, pluralism, debate, and tolerance. The lecture includes discussions of “difficult conversations” that result from narrative particularity and proposes various strategies for intervening in these difficult conversations that promise to unfreeze or close up gaps of incommensurability. Some of these strategies include dialogue, feet-first approaches, counter attitudinal advocacy, reframing, re-categorization, identity widening, and others.
Don Ellis is Professor of Communication
University of Hartford, Hartford CT
With support from: The Department of Communications, Department of Linguistics & Languages, Asian Studies Center, Muslim Studies Program, Jewish Studies Program