POSTPONED UNTIL OCTOBER 16th: Katharina Berndt Rasmussen: Bridging Gaps - A Theory of Discrimination

Datum: 19 juni 2024
Tid: 10:00-11:45

Venue: Institutet för framtidsstudier, Holländargatan 13, 4th floor, Stockholm, or online.

Research seminar with Katharina Berndt Rasmussen, PhD. in Philosophy.

Disputes about discrimination surface time and again in the public debate: Is there such a thing as ”reverse discrimination” or ”Swedophobic” discrimination? Does our failure to reduce GHG-emissions amount to discrimination against future generations? Is affirmative action wrong? Do we really need discrimination laws, and if so, which groups should they protect? Laypeople, politicians, and (of course) philosophers disagree with each other on how we should answer such questions.

In the first part of this talk, I propose a theory of discrimination that aims to capture people’s intuitions about more clear-cut cases of discrimination: I outline a concept of discrimination and its relation to moral wrongness and to social injustice. I propose that we should see discrimination as a bridge concept: between the personal and the political, between criteria of moral wrongness and of social (in)justice, between individualist and structural analyses of harms and inequalites. I believe that it is this bridging feature which makes the concept distinctive and particularly useful, both within philosophy and more broadly in society.

In the second part of the talk, I explore how the theory answers the above questions. I argue that a deeper understanding of our concept of, and concerns about, discrimination can improve our judgments of such cases. In turn, these judgments can be used to evaluate the theory, in the sense of assessing its scope and limits.

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