The Secular Conscience – Austin Dacey

Who holds the monopoly on morality? Cultural conservatives from the Vatican to Washington tell us that ethics presupposes religion, and so religion belongs in public life. Secular liberals counter that conscience is a private matter, a personal choice free from shared standards of truth or right. Conservatives charge that conscience without standards is relativism. Liberals didn’t lose their moral compass–they gave it away.

In his new book, The Secular Conscience, philosopher Austin Dacey breaks this ideological deadlock by boldly rethinking the nature of conscience and its role in public life. Inspired by an earlier tradition he traces to Spinoza and John Stuart Mill, Dacey urges secular liberals to reclaim the language of objective values.

Please join the Portland State Atheist-Agnostic Students group and the Philosophy Club, as we welcome author and Ph.D., Austin Dacey, on Tuesday, April 8th, 2008, at the Smith Student Union building in room 298, at 4:00pm.

Dacey will also be speaking at Reed College the day before, April 7th, 2008, in Vollum Lecture Hall at 7:30 pm.

Both events are free of charge and all are welcome.

Austin Dacey is a representative to the United Nations for the Center for Inquiry in New York City, where he works on issues of secular values, science, and ethics. He is the author of articles in numerous publications including the New York Times. He holds a doctorate in applied ethics and social philosophy.
His website is

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