Wednesday August 29, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- Berkshire County residents and prominent experts in their fields will come together in a series of talks in Williamstown in the coming weeks to address the complex and daunting ethical and moral dilemmas of the times.

The series is sponsored by OLLI, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College, and will be held at The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown on Wednesdays, from Sept. 12 through Oct. 24. The forums, which are from 10:30 a.m. to noon, will be made available in South County through videoconferencing to the BCC South County Center in Great Barrington.

In chronological order, the talks are as follows:

On Sept. 12, Williams College's chairman and professor of philosophy, Steven Gerrard, will launch the series by examining how Kant's Categorical Imperative and Mill's Greatest Happiness Principal correct problems with the "Golden Rule," and shed light on our moral obligations.

Ralph Friedner of Stockbridge, on Sept. 19, will call upon his more than 50 years as an executive in the investment industry to explore an issue that frequently makes headlines in the financial and mainstream media: "Ethics on Wall Street."

Mark Reinhardt, an author and a professor in the Department of Political Science at Williams College, will focus on an increasingly complex issue in the multimedia and Internet age: the ethics and politics of published images. Attendees at the Oct. 3 talk will glean insights from his forthcoming book, "Visual Politics: Theories and Spectacles."

Prominent local attorney, member of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, lecturer and member of OLLI's board of directors, Leonard H. Cohen, of the law firm Cohen Kinne Valicenti & Cook LLP, will explore "Ethics and the Practice of Law." The talk is Oct. 10.

On Oct. 17, Charles Wohl, site director of the Neighborhood Health Center of the Community Health Programs in Pittsfield, will examine another hot topic in recent months: "Ethics of Medical Care Distribution." An associate clinical professor of medicine at the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine, he received his doctor of medicine degree from the University of Pittsburg School of Medicine.

Robert Jackall Ph.D., the Willmott family professor of sociology and public affairs at Williams College, will examine ethics in intelligence work -- the moral rules in use by intelligence agents -- on Oct. 24.

Classes are for OLLI members, but anyone can become a member. The six-session program is one of many OLLI offerings at BCC for its fall semester program.

For more information, visiting www.berkshireOLLI.org or call (413) 236-2190.