2013 Annual Conference of the Professions

Shortcuts and High Roads: Everyday Morality and the Professions

“Does the chance of getting caught affect how likely we are to cheat? How do companies pave the way for dishonesty? Does religion improve our honesty?”*  Nationally celebrated Behavioral Economist and Psychologist Dan Ariely, joined by a panel of local professionals, will explore these questions and discuss how we navigate a professional moral life filled with temptations and white lies, shortcuts and petty misbehavior.  

As professionals, we like to think of ourselves as good and moral persons. We view our professions as dutifully self-regulated when it comes to morality, with diligent disciplinary authorities. Yet the challenges of day-to-day morality – confidentiality, billing, discrimination, petty theft – may be of more consequence to our professions than the headline generating major breaches.  This conference will explore how the professions and professionals might practice the virtues of everyday morality.

Our keynote speaker Dan Ariely, Ph.D.


Honest Truth
Despite our intentions, why do we so often fail to act in our own best interest?   Why do we promise to skip the chocolate cake, only to find ourselves drooling our way into temptation when the dessert tray rolls around? Why do we overvalue things that we’ve worked to put together?  What are the forces that influence our behavior? Dan Ariely, James B. Duke Professor of Psychology & Behavioral Economics at Duke University, is dedicated to answering these questions and others in order to help people live more sensible – if not rational – lives.  His interests span a wide range of behaviors, and his sometimes unusual experiments are consistently interesting, amusing and informative, demonstrating profound ideas that fly in the face of common wisdom.

In addition to appointments at the Fuqua School of Business, the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, the Department of Economics, and the School of Medicine at Duke University, Dan is also a founding member of the Center for Advanced Hindsight, and the author of the New York Times bestsellers Predictably Irrational, and The Upside of Irrationality.  His new book, The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty was released on June 5th 2012.


Our panel will consist of the following professionals representing law, medicine and clergy:

Judge Eric Moyé, J.D, presides over the 14th Judicial District Court of Texas.  Moyé has also served as an adjunct faculty member at SMU and the Harvard Law School Trial Advocacy Workshop.

Lynne M. Kirk, MD, FACP is a professor of Internal Medicine, Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education and Associate Chief of the Division of General Medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center.  

Clayton Oliphint, Ph.D, serves as senior pastor at First United Methodist Church in Richardson, TX, a church of over 6,000 members.  He has served as chair of the board of Ordained Ministry and the Conference Nominating Committee, and chaired the Network of Community Ministries in Richardson.  

Rena Pederson, our conference moderator, is the communications director for the National Math and Science Initiative, and the former vice president and editorial page editor of the Dallas Morning News.  


About the Conference of the Professions

For nearly three decades, the Conference of Professions has brought together members of law, medicine, and theology in the Dallas area to discuss common challenges—ethical and otherwise—facing these professions.The Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility jointly sponsors this activity with the Dallas County Medical Society, Dallas Bar Association, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, SMU Dedman School of Law, and the SMU Perkins School of Theology.

Watch the Full Conference