October 2, 2017

(including Health Sciences)

SUBJECT:    Appointment of Craig Callender and John Evans as Co-Directors of the Institute for Practical Ethics

I am pleased to announce Craig Callender and John Evans will be serving as the inaugural co-directors of the Institute for Practical Ethics. Hosted in the Division of Arts and Humanities, the mission of the institute is to develop and promote cross-disciplinary research on ethical issues facing the public, with special emphasis on fostering deliberation amongst ethicists, scientists and policy makers.

UC San Diego is one of the world's greatest producers of technology, medical innovations and scientific knowledge. These developments can offer great benefits to humanity, but they often raise urgent ethical questions. The aim of the Institute for Practical Ethics is to help close the gap between the pace of innovation and our ability to deal with these questions responsibly.

The Institute for Practical Ethics is based on a holistic vision, one that is focused on the theoretical and pragmatic aspects of ethical problems, founded on a partnership among social scientists, natural scientists and humanists, and attentive to both social and individual-level problems. The institute will host speakers, convene interdisciplinary research groups and create publicly available analyses of cutting-edge ethical issues generated by UC San Diego's research activity. In line with other major university initiatives, such as the Tata Institute for Genetics and Society, one of the first topics the Institute for Practical Ethics will address will be the ethical and social implications of gene-drive technologies.

Craig Callender is a professor in the Department of Philosophy. He specializes in philosophy of science, especially the foundations of modern physics. He also has strong interests in the environment, and has taught environmental ethics, environmental history and environmental social science in Philosophy, Muir College and Scripps Institution of Oceanography. His most recent book is "What Makes Time Special?" (Oxford, 2017), and he is the author of scores of articles in philosophy, physics and law journals.

John Evans is a professor in the Department of Sociology. He specializes in using social science to contribute to humanistic and ethical debates about science. He has particularly focused on ethical debates about human genetics, the relationship between religion and science, and the social structure of the field of bioethics. He regularly engages in cross-disciplinary deliberation and was a member of the recent National Academies Committee on Human Gene Editing. He has been a visiting faculty member or honorary professor at five international universities, as well as the author of six books and 50 articles and chapters.

To learn more about the Institute for Practical Ethics and connect to its activities, go to or contact the institute at

Cristina Della Coletta
Dean, Division of Arts & Humanities