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Professor examines moral meaning of apology

November 13, 2008 12:00AM

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My question is, is there a moral meaning to the words 'I am sorry?' "
~ Dr. Jim McBain, social sciences professor
cBain says that ethics isn't just a subject studied in college classrooms.            

"People always say that the stuff you study, it's not like it applies in the real world," said McBain, assistant professor of social sciences at Pittsburg State University. "This is every day. You're in these situations every day, especially in your adult life."

McBain aims to tackle one everyday ethical issue with a public talk titled "But I Really Am Sorry! Rethinking the Moral Meaning of Apology," to be held at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 19, in 409 Russ Hall.

McBain said people make apologies every day for things like forgetting to take out the trash or being late to an appointment, but they often neglect to think about what the words really mean and what their purpose truly is.

"My question is, is there a moral meaning to the words 'I am sorry?'" McBain said. "Should I be sorry? What am I doing with these words? There's a lot of personal life here."

McBain said the talk, which is the second in the PSU Philosophical Society's series of public lectures, arose out of his interest in moral language.

"I'm interested in words that are, in themselves, actions," McBain said. "We face more ethical issues in everyday life than we experience big social issues."

McBain said he aims to not only raise questions about apologies, but to provide some answers as well. But people will have to come to the lecture to find out what those answers are.

The lecture is free and open to all.

For more information on the PSU Philosophical Society, contact Dr. Don Viney at (620) 235-4325 or

---Pitt State---

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