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The Population Ethics Asymmetry and the Permissibility of Procreation

Thu
2
Dec
Time Thursday 2 December, 2021 at 13:15 - 15:00
Place NAT.D.450

The Department of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies invites you to the annual Burman lectures in philosophy. This years invited lecturer is Professor Jeff McMahan, University of Oxford. He will give three open lectures over three days on the topic "The Ethics of Creating, Saving, and Ending Lives". 

Lecture 2: The Population Ethics Asymmetry and the Permissibility of Procreation

Thursday December 2, 13.15-15.00, Hörsal NAT.D.450

Abstract: Many people accept that there is a moral reason to cause a better-off person to exist rather than a different, less well-off person. I will argue that most of those who do not already accept this claim ought to do so since, because of Parfit’s Non-Identity Problem, it provides the only plausible basis for a strong moral objection to causing future people to suffer a great range of bad effects as a consequence of such phenomena as climate change. I will also argue, however, that it is difficult to identify an account of the nature of the reason to cause a better-off rather than a less well-off person to exist that is compatible with the common sense view that there is no moral reason to cause a person to exist just because that person’s life would be well worth living. This puts pressure on us to reject this latter view, which, I will argue, is also incompatible with another common sense view with which it is often paired – namely, that there is a strong moral reason not to cause a person to exist if that person’s life would be intrinsically bad, or not worth living.

More Burman lectures

Lecture 1: Abortion, Prenatal Injury, and What Matters in Alternative Possible Lives
Wednesday December 1, 13.15-15.00, Hörsal NAT.D.450

Lecture 3: Moral Reasons to Cause People to Exist
Friday December 3, 13.15-15.00, Hörsal NAT.D.450

All interested are welcome to these lectures!

Learn more about the Burman Lectures

Learn more about Professor Jeff McMahan

Event type: Lecture
Contact
Pär Sundström
Read about Pär Sundström