Hugh LaFollette, Ph.D., and the International Encyclopedia of Ethics

Public invited to participate in professor’s unusual literary project

Have you ever wondered what goes into writing and publishing a book? Have you ever wanted to write and publish your own book? Now is your chance. The public is invited to participate in an exciting literary project by USF St. Petersburg Philosophy Professor Hugh LaFollette, Ph.D.

LaFollette, the USFSP Marie and Leslie E. Cole Chair in Ethics, is seeking public input as he writes his next book, tentatively titled, The Ethics of Gun Control. He will explain the project during an organizational meeting at The Dali Museum Theater on Thursday, Nov. 21 at 6 p.m.

Beginning in January, LaFollette will meet monthly with interested members of the public to discuss the main points of each chapter, soliciting feedback from the audience. He likens it to the peer-review process of a scholarly work, but done in public with the intention of writing for a broad audience. At the end of each session he will offer advice to participants on their own non-fiction writing projects. After the initial meeting at The Dali Museum, future sessions will be held at USFSP. All of the sessions are free and open to the public.

LaFollette has been thinking and writing about gun control for years. After the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy last year, he published an op-ed column in the Tampa Bay Times laying out the complexities of gun control and suggesting liability insurance as an alternative. The column was adapted from a paper he published in the journal Ethics in 2000.

“Given how complex and emotional the topic of gun control is, I am looking forward to lively discussions as we work our way through each chapter,” LaFollette. “Everyone should feel free to pose questions and raise objections in a respectful and civil fashion.”

Frank Biafora, dean of the USFSP College of Arts and Sciences, praised LaFollette for his willingness to open himself to public scrutiny. “Any serious writing project is daunting, but to ask the public to participate suggests a level of openness that is rare and praiseworthy,” he said.