Dr Stuart Palmer
Dr Stuart Palmer joined St James Ethics Centre in 2011 as Head of Ethics Services following more than twenty years’ experience in the financial, investment and legal sectors. After a partnership role in the law firm Middletons Moore & Bevins, in 1998 he moved to ABN AMRO Bank, becoming Head of Asset Securitisation and working with clients in Australia and overseas. Having studied philosophy as part of his Bachelor of Arts alongside his law degree, Stuart decided out of intellectual curiosity to return part time to philosophy and recently completed his PhD in the field of philosophy of mind. Although the practice of philosophy and law naturally intersect, he indicates one key difference. Legal analysis is tightly constrained within a framework of statute and court precedent. By contrast, philosophical enquiry and argument can be conducted openly, while still remaining answerable to reason and evidence.
Following the GFC induced contraction and demise of some financial institutions we have seen a backlash against the way in which some in the financial sector acted before and during the crisis. Many blamed the pressure to perform and inadequate regulation. Stuart’s experience, however, was that where organisations maintained a regard for values such as transparency, clarity and integrity, they found themselves more resilient in tough times. This reinforces a notion that the Ethics Centre has often communicated: that an organisation’s values need to be put into practice to achieve success, rather than simply being token statements.
Stuart brings a diverse background and strong practical understanding to collaboration with organisations in navigating the ethical dimension of commerce. He admires philosophers such as Daniel Dennett whose work both shapes and is shaped by our developing understanding of ourselves and of the world, and whose ideas are expressed clearly and accessibly. This approach once again echoes much of the Ethics Centre’s work, a good sign that Stuart is equipped to make a strong contribution to that work.