Date: 15 June 2022
Research seminar with Matthew Adler, Duke University
The philosophical literature on consequentialism regularly distinguishes between “person-affecting” and “impersonal” moral justifications or accounts. The “person-affecting”/”impersonal” distinction can be interpreted in various ways. I understand it as follows. A person-affecting justificatory framework sees individuals’ well-being gains and losses—well-being effects on persons—as the fundamental moral considerations that underlie the moral goodness of outcomes.
My research has investigated the implications of the person-affecting framework, using the concept of “claims-across-outcomes”—a concept that seeks to make the framework more rigorous and to draw clear implications from it. This talk will present and synthesize the results of this research program.
In a nutshell: the claims-across-outcomes framework argues for a moral-goodness ranking that satisfies an equity axiom (the Pigou-Dalton axiom), as opposed to utilitarianism; is neutral to individual differences in desert; and (extended to the variable-population context) implies the Repugnant Conclusion. In short, person-affecting consequentialism is equity-regarding, desert-neutral, and repugnant. Surprisingly, perhaps, the simple idea that moral goodness is grounded on well-being gains and losses has these upshots.
Join the seminar online or at the Institute for Futures Studies. If you will join on site, please check the box in the registration form.