Spring 2018

All talks take place in Hellems 269, 12:00-1:00
(unless otherwise noted, speakers are members of the CU Philosophy Department)

Jan 26: Marion Hourdequin (Colorado College)

"Climate Change, Climate Engineering, and the 'Global Poor': What Does Justice Require?"

In recent years, scientists have begun to seriously investigate intentional, planet-wide engineering strategies to counteract global climate change.  Although many options have been explored, prominent scientists such as David Keith at Harvard University have focused on “solar geoengineering," which would reflect sunlight away from the earth to cool the planet.  In recent work, David Keith and Joshua Horton argue that solar geoengineering research is justified because the resulting knowledge has the potential to benefit everyone, particularly the least advantaged.  In fact, they hold, there is a moral obligation to research solar geoengineering in order to help the global poor.  In response, I argue that Horton and Keith’s argument is problematic in at least three ways: 1) it focuses only on distribution, excluding other dimensions of justice, 2) it rests on a narrow consequentialist perspective that fails to capture adequately the concerns of those it purports to benefit, and 3) it relegates to the background questions of how research should be governed, implicitly suggesting that the decision to pursue geoengineering research should happen first, followed by decisions about how to govern it.  In this talk, I argue that distributive and consequentialist reasons should be considered not prior to, but in tandem with, concerns for participatory and recognitional justice, and I explain why such concerns are particularly salient in the current political context.

February 2: Sam Director

“Speciesism, Prejudice, and Epistemic Peer Disagreement”

Peter Singer famously argued that speciesism, like racism and sexism, is based on a prejudice. As Singer argued, since we reject racism and sexism, we must also reject speciesism. Since Singer first articulated this line of reasoning, it has become a widespread argument against speciesism. Shelly Kagan has recently critiqued this argument, claiming that one can endorse speciesism without doing so on the basis of a prejudice. In this paper, I defend Kagan's conclusion (that one can endorse speciesism without being prejudiced). However, I find Kagan's argument unsatisfactory; so, I advance an alternative argument, different from Kagan's, in support of his conclusion. I argue that, if there is epistemic peer disagreement about a view, then the parties to this disagreement cannot reasonably label each other as prejudiced in their beliefs about this view. Then, I argue that there is epistemic peer disagreement about the truth of speciesism, from which it follows that the parties to this disagreement cannot reasonably label each other as prejudiced. Thus, one can affirm speciesism without being prejudiced. If I am correct that one can affirm speciesism without being prejudiced, then Singer's argument (that if one rejects racism, one must reject speciesism) is unsound.

THURSDAY February 8: Andrew Light (George Mason University)

"Beyond Bifurcated Climate Responsibilities: Why the Paris Agreement Matters and How We Must Defend It"
4:30 - 5:30, Hellems 199

Abstract: In December 2015 over 190 countries met in Paris and finally succeeded in creating a comprehensive and universal international agreement on climate change after 25 years of negotiations. Among its many virtues, the agreement finally moved beyond the strict bifurcation of responsibilities between developed and developing countries that had long hindered this process. Nonetheless, some argue that this doesn't matter as the cumulative climate committments that parties brought to the table in Paris are ultimately too weak to achieve the agreements' lofty aspirations. Today the agreement is undergoing an early and serious stress test, with the announcement of the intended withdrawl of the United States. Is Paris worth defending? We will review the core arguments for and against Paris, and look at what the future holds for global climate cooperation.

February 9: Spencer Case

“Epistemic Value and Meta-Ethical Realism”

Abstract: Some philosophers claim that cognitive states with epistemic value ground epistemic normativity. I argue that the existence of this type of value supports moral realism, the view, roughly, that there are some objective truths about morality. If epistemic value is valuable simpliciter, as it would have to be if epistemic normativity is to be authoritative, then we plausibly have some reasons to promote or respect epistemic value. Hence we have some genuinely authoritative reasons for action. Further argumentation will show that it makes sense to classify these reasons as moral reasons.

February 16: Jay Geyer

"Normative Externalists Cannot Have Their Poison Cake and Eat It Too"
1:00 - 2:00, Hellems 269

ABSTRACT: Much of the literature on moral uncertainty presupposes that internalist factors such as moral beliefs and evidence are relevant to what an agent ought to do.  Some authors, such as Elizabeth Harman and Brian Weatherson, reject this presupposition.  On their view, called 'Normative Externalism', an agent's descriptive uncertainty, but not their normative uncertainty, is relevant to what they subjectively ought to do.  For example, a descriptively uncertain agent who is not sure whether she has accidentally added poison to a cake should hedge and not serve the cake according to Normative Externalism.  But if her uncertainty was over moral matters instead, then she would be obligated to do what morality actually requires.  I argue that this hybrid view, which treats the two kinds of uncertainty differently, is incoherent.  But the purely externalist alternative view is absurdly strong.  So, Normative Externalism should be rejected.

THURSDAY February 22: Ryan Jenkins (Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo)

“Machines and the Virtues”
12:30 – 1:30, Hellems 269

Abstract: The majority view among non-philosophers and many 20th century Anglophone philosophers is that technological artifacts are merely morally neutral instruments that can be used for good or bad purposes -- thus it has been the purposes themselves that have attracted the attention of philosophers. In this talk, I defend another view: that the trajectory of the development of machines has tended to satisfy the desire of humnas to mollify the difficulties of life, protecting us from surprise and disappointment, ultimately eroding our capacity for virtue. Whether virtues are intrinsic or instrumentally valuable, this makes us worse off in a respect. I respond to two objections, ultimately leading to the conclusion that a world of machines that satisfy all of our first-order desires threatens to make us into the worst version of ourselves.

February 23: John Doris (Washington University)

"The Future of Character"

Abstract: For almost twenty years, philosophy's "virtue ethics-situationism debate", like the "person-situation debate" in psychology that prefigured it, has too often polarized discussions of character and morality. Happily, the robustly interdisciplinary field of character studies is now producing research -- some of which will be presented in this talk, which promises to move beyond this polarity. However, the resulting progress is unlikely to vindicate those defending "traditional" understandings of virtul

March 2: Matt Kopec (Australian National University)

"No Harm Done? An Experimental Approach to the Non-Identity Problem"

Abstract: A central driving force behind much of the literature on the non-identity problem is the widely shared intuiton that actions or policies that change who ends up coming into existence don't, as a result, lose their morally problematic features. Even those who end up arguing that there is a substantial moral difference in identity-affecting cases agree that the intuition to the contrary is both strong and widespread. While we agree that this intuition is widespread among philosophers, we aren't so certain that it is shared by the general public. And, if our hunch is correct, this might have widespread implications concerning how to best motivate public support for large-scale, identity-affecting policies like those involved in climate change mitigation. To test this, we developed and ran a behavioral economic experiment designed to mimic the public's morally charged behavior and attitudes in identity-affecting choice problems. The results were rather striking, and we think the data may have practical and theoretical implications for both the non-identity problem and our understanding of harm more generally. 

March 9: Izaak Taylor (CWCTP Scholar in Residence)

"Political Obligations and Public Goods"
1:00-2:00, Hellems 269

Abstract: The principle of fairness is a moral principle which states that individuals are under an obligation to contribute toward beneficial cooperative projects. It has been appealed to in arguing that citizens are obligated to pay for public goods that their government supplies. Yet the principle has faced a number of powerful objections, most notably that of Robert Nozick. In responding to these objections, proponents of the principle have placed a number of conditions on its application. However, by doing so, they have reduced the number of public goods that the principle can generate obligations to contribute towards, and consequently reduced its relevance to questions of political obligation. It will be argued that less demanding conditions need to be placed on the principle to avoid Nozick's objections than has been thought, and thus that it is capable of grounding a greater number of political obligations that we might have supposed.

MONDAY March 12: Kit Wellman (Washington University)

"The Space Between Justice and Legitimacy"

Abstract: This talk explores whether there is any space between justice and legitimacy and what, if anything, occupies this space. And if there is space between justice and legitimacy, what follows from this? More specifically, this talk considers (1) whether legitimate states act permissibly when they act unjustly, (2) whether the constituents of legitimate space have a moral obligation to obey unjust laws, and (3) whether external actors have principled reasons to refrain from forcibly intervening to prevent legitimate states from perpetrating injustices upon their constituents.

TUESDAY, March 13: Jovana Davidovic (University of Iowa)

"Liability to Defensive Harm, Forfeiture of Rights and the Reciprocity Theory of Rights"
12:30-1:30, Hellems 269

Abstract: According to forfeiture theories of rights one can become liable to defensive harm when they act in ways that forfeit their right not to be harmed, for example, when they unjustifiably threaten harm to innocent victims. Forfeiture theories are traditionally normative theories; they are attempts to justify imposing harm on culpable or morally responsible aggressors. In this talk, it will be argued that forfeiture is best understood as a conceptual rather than a normative or justificatory aspect of the right not to be harmed. Understanding forfeiture in this way can nonetheless put limits on the sorts of justifications one can offer for grounding the right not to be harmed and consequently for liability to defensive harm. Specificially, understanding forfeiture as a conceptual feature of the right not to be harmed gives us reasons to embrace relational, inter-agential grounding for that and similar rights; a grounding that in addition to protection of an interest requires that an agent respect similar protections for others. Furthermore, understanding forfeiture as a conceptual feature of rights can also help fill noted gaps in forfeiture accounts: the so-called mechanism gap and the central normative transition gap.

March 16: Benjamin Kultgen

"Posthumous Repugnancy"

Abstract: What does a life not worth living look like? A life spent in a state of constant and overwhelming physical suffering would not be worth living. A life in which every conscious experience was that of intense emotional anguish would not be a life worth living. But what about a life that was exceptionally good, day in and day out, right up until the moment of death? Could that life wind up being one not worth living? If it is possible to be harmed after death then yes, that life could wind up being one not worth living. This talk presents a kind of repugnancy case involving posthumous harm. Supposing the existence of posthumous harm, a person whose wellbeing was extremely high while they were alive could incur small posthumous harms over a long enough period such that it is true of that person that they had a life not worth living. I address several routes by which the posthumous harm proponent might argue that her view entails no such repugnancy, showing each to be unworkable. My discussion suggests that there is an experential constraint on desire satisfaction such that my desire's satisfaction or frustration affects my wellbeing only if it affects my experiences in some way.

April 6: Ben Bryan (CWCTP Scholar in Residence)

"How (Not) to Evaluate the Programming of Self-Driving Cars"

Abstract: How should programmers program self-driving cars to handle situations where collisions can't be avoided? It is tempting to deal with this question by asking what a human driver with the information-processing capacities and driving abilities of a self-driving car ought to do. According to this approach, programmers should be trying to build cars that make the driving decisions that the correct moral theory would require a human driver to make if she had the superior abilities of a self-driving car. Call this the "moral code approach" to evaluating the programming of self-driving cars. In this talk, Bryan argues that the moral code approach is misguided and offers an alternative approach, which he calls the "moral Pareto improvement approach". This approach recommends that programmers look for what he calls "moral Pareto improvements" -- improvements in some morally significant dimensions of driving behavior that do not set back any other morally significant dimension.

April 13: Mary Ann Cutter (University of Colorado, Colorado Springs)

"Epistemologies of Clinical Uncertainty and their Ethical Implications"

Abstract: Anyone who has been diagnosed with a clinical condition or who has known someone who has been diagnosed knows that uncertainty pervades clinical diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment. There is uncertainty about the nature of the clinical condition, how clinicians know it, how clinicians predict what will happen, and how clinicians treat it. There is also uncertainty on the part of patients and in light of their own life values and plans. This talk offers a way to think about uncertainty in clinical medicine and isolates some of the ethical implications of recognizing uncertainty in clinical medicine. Mary Ann G. Cutter, Ph.D., is a philosopher of medicine and biomedical ethicist in the Department of Philosophy, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, and the 2018 CU President's Teaching Scholar.

MONDAY, April 16: John Corvino (Wayne State University)

"Against Integrity: On the Weaknesses of Certian Conscience-Based Arguments for Legal Exemptions"

Abstract: In today's debate over religious exemptions, some philosophers have moved away from specifically religious rationales to more "egalitarian" ones. For example, Joceyln Maclure defends exemptions based on "meaning-giving beliefs and committments". Ryan T. Anderson and Sherif Girgis defend exemptions based on "moral and religious integrity", which you achieve by "trying to harmonize your choices, actions, and expressions with your moral convictions: your best judgements about what morality requires", and "with whatever transcendent source of meaning and value there might be". In this talk, Corvino will explain why these arguments fail, especially as arguments for exemptions from antidiscrimination law.

April 27: Luc Bovens (UNC Chapel Hill)

"An Efficiency Argument for Gender-Neutral Restrooms"

Abstract: Gender-segregated restrooms pose problems for trans* people, for the disabled, and for young children accompanied by carers of a different gender, and they stand in the way of potty parity, that is, the goal of reducing lines in front of women's restrooms in public venues. Gender-neutral restrooms solve all these problems, but they meet resistance from various corners. One advantage that all should be able to appreciate is that they are much more efficient. Computer simulations show that if we preserve the current architecture, then opening all stalls to everyone leads to a drastic reduction in waiting times. or, if we respect the maximum waiting time that is implicitly allowed by current legislation, then by moving to a gender-neutral policy, we can reduce the need for facilities, while attaining the same waiting times. This talk considers whether any Nudge policies can be implemented to overcome the resistance to gender-neutral restrooms.

All talks take place in Hellems 269, 12:00-1:00
(unless otherwise noted, speakers are members of the CU Philosophy Department)

Sept 1: Robert Pasnau

“The Possibility of Altruism: A History”

Abstract:  Ancient ethical theory, on most accounts, is grounded in the pursuit of one's own happiness. Such eudaemonistic theories strive to account for other-regarding virtues such as justice, but ultimately they must bottom out in concern for self. The teachings of the Christian gospels, however, were extremely hard to square with such a perspective. So what was a Christian ethicist to do? I will consider various strategies, and ultimately I will describe how the voluntarists of the early fourteenth century - Scotus and Ockham - make room for the sort of unqualified altruism that is characteristic of modern ethical theory.

Sept 8: Heather Demarest

“Similarity and Enjoyment: Predicting Continuation for Women in Philosophy”

Abstract: On average, women make up half of introductory-level philosophy courses, but only one-third of upper-division courses. There has been a great deal of recent interest in explaining this drop-off. I will report the striking results of our study at the University of Oklahoma. We found that two attitudes are especially strong predictors of whether women are likely to continue in philosophy: (i) feeling similar to the kinds of people who become philosophers, and (ii) enjoying philosophical puzzles and issues. In a regression analysis, they account for 63% of variance in continuation. Importantly, women are significantly less likely to hold these attitudes than men. Thus, instructors who care about improving the retention of women undergraduates should find ways to improve these attitudes – for instance, by demonstrating the ways in which professional philosophers are like them. I will discuss some tentative but intuitively plausible suggestions for interventions, though further research is required to establish the effectiveness of those interventions.

Sept 11: Daniel Munoz (MIT)

“Rights Against Oneself”

We have rights against others. Do we have the same rights against ourselves? Egalitarians say "Yes." But the obvious answer, you would think, is "No." Intuitively, I am not forbidden, but you are, from kicking my heel, filling my mouth with gin, and sending my paycheck to your mailbox. There is also something paradoxical about the very idea of a right against oneself -- one is bound to obey yet free to waive. Sounds like Egalitarians are doomed. Not yet, I argue. There's nothing paradoxical about releasing oneself from an obligation (one is bound until the release), and there is a good reason why I don't violate my rights when kicking my own heel: by deciding to kick, I consent to the action, and so waive my right that it not be done. These ideas suggest a new (though strange) answer to the question of when people wrong themselves: they do so when they violate their own rights, by failing to give themselves valid consent. So the Egalitarian makes a big prediction: we wrong ourselves precisely when our action would be wrong if done to a consenting other.

Sept 15: Iskra Fileva

“Moral Luck and Practical Commitment”

Abstract: I propose a novel solution to the moral outcome luck problem: I argue that when the control condition is properly interpreted, responsibility for outcomes will be seen to be compatible with control. I briefly suggest that the solution can be applied to other kinds of moral luck such as constitutive and circumstantial. At the end, I discuss what I call a “residual problem” of moral luck -- a problem with luck’s affecting our moral judgments (not moral responsibility or moral status) when it should not.

Sept 22: Mark Jensen (United States Air Force Academy)

“The Epistemology of Political Disagreement: Some Millian Reflections”

Abstract: In an obscure article, John Stuart Mill seems to defend a virtue of political polarization. He suggests that, in the face of violent disagreement, the epistemically virtuous response is for contending parties to take up an increasingly principled position on the issues that divide them rather than look for compromise. In this presentation, I explore this proposal from three angles. First, I contrast this virtue with those that political liberals suggest should govern disagreements in pluralistic democratic society. I argue that the substance of policy debates among citizens in liberal democracy undercuts the resonance of the liberal virtues associated with public reason. Second, I contrast this virtue with those that epistemologists suggest should govern our judgments in the face of disagreement in general. I argue that the conditions of citizens will never satisfy the requirements of epistemic peerage so as to justify withholding judgment on issues of contention. Finally, I compare this virtue with Herbert Marcuse’s provocative argument that we must withdraw tolerance from some of those with whom we disagree on political matters. While Marcuse’s approach probably comes closest to explaining how Mill’s proposed virtue counts as a virtue, I draw on other Millian resources in order to defend a non-Marcusian and ultimately unique account of the virtue of political polarization.

Sept 29: Elizabeth Brake (Arizona State University, CVSP Visiting Fellow Fall 2017)

"Disaster Recovery and The Political Importance of Place"

Abstract: This paper addresses the state’s role in rebuilding after disasters – and its limits.  State disaster response can be construed as an insurance policy.  The challenge is to explain why it should be mandatory, and – more particularly – why it should extend to assistance in rebuilding.  This paper will focus on the latter question: why should the state ever assist rebuilding in disaster-prone areas?  While a liberal egalitarian case can be made that fair equal opportunity justifies state assistance in recovery, at least for disadvantaged citizens, further argument is required to show that the state should ever subsidize rebuilding in place, if citizens can have access to equally good opportunities in a safer area.  To explain this, I note another distinctive characteristic of disasters: their threat to the continuing existence of “place communities.”  Place communities are the various, overlapping networks which support social, economic, religious, and other practices within a given place.  I argue that protecting membership in place communities through rebuilding is one way to implement fair equal opportunity.  This account of disaster policy, however, extends the scope of response to communities threatened by other forms of displacement.

Oct. 6: Izaak Taylor (CVCTP/CVSP Scholar in Residence)

“Legitimacy and Security Policy”

Abstract: Many political philosophers believe that, in order for a state to be legitimate, it must provide a certain degree of security for its citizens. Yet it is unclear what exact institutional arrangement governments must put in place in order to meet this "security condition". Some hold that relying on the standard practices associated with national defence (a standing army, weapons systems, intelligence services, and so on) is enough; although international cooperation on security matters may often be useful, on this view, it is not necessary for legitimacy. Against this, I argue that, given the sort of good security is, it cannot in principle be supplied solely at the level of state institutions. International cooperation on security matters, far from being a matter of discretion on the part of states, as is often assumed, is in fact a core requirement of state legitimacy.

Oct 13: Kendy Hess (Holy Cross)

“Do We Want Dirty Hands? The Complexities of Claiming a Moral Exemption for Business"

Abstract: Many prominent figures have argued that moral concerns have no place at the office, and modern business practice takes this claim to heart.  The claim is no doubt carelessly stated, but something at the core of it is taken quite seriously.  Business practitioners are generally taken to be either legally or morally bound to maximize profit, and (other) moral obligations are ignored as illegitimate constraints on this higher duty; the business practitioner is thus taken to be exempt from moral obligation.  We often recognize a similar exemption for politicians, and philosophers have defended that exemption in the literature on “dirty hands.”  In this paper I explore four possible justification for the moral exemption in business (effectiveness, efficiency, and two version of “dirty hands”), rejecting all except the fourth as inadequate to the task.  The fourth treats business as a particular kind of MacIntyrean practice, and it perhaps succeeds where the others fail.  It does so at a significant cost, however, and we can still decide that it is not worth paying.

Oct. 20: Sarah Krakoff (University of Colorado Law School)

“Public Lands and the Possibility of Justice”

Abstract: On December 28, 2016, President Obama issued a proclamation designating the Bears Ears National Monument pursuant to his authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906, which allows the President to create monuments on federal public lands. Bears Ears, which is located in the heart of Utah’s dramatic redrock country, contains a surfeit of ancient Puebloan cliff-dwellings, petroglyphs, pictographs, and archeological artifacts. The area is also famous for its paleontological finds, as well as its desert biodiversity. Like other national monuments, Bears Ears therefore readily meets the statutory objective of preserving “historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest.” Unlike every other monument since the passage of the Antiquities Act, however, Bears Ears was proposed by a coalition of American Indian Tribes. The Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, which submitted the proposal to protect Bears Ears, included representatives from the Hopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, Ute Mountain Ute, Uintah and Ouray Ute, and Zuni tribal governments. The Bears Ears Proclamation recognizes the Tribes’ longstanding connections to the landscape by establishing a Bears Ears Commission, which gives the Tribes a special role in managing the Monument.

Historically, the Antiquities Act and other federal conservation laws played very different roles in the lives of Native people. Conservation laws divested Tribes of their lands and cultural heritage in the name of preserving these resources for others. Moreover, federal laws and policies designed to destroy tribal political structures were at their ascendancy during the same period that early conservation policy was formed. Together, and complemented by other laws that privatized vast swathes of the federal public domain, these laws and policies effected a joint project of Indian elimination. This talk explores that dark side of conservation history, and describes the very different process that led to the Bears Ears designation. It argues that Bears Ears National Monument should be seen as an act of reparations that restores tribal connections to the landscape, and therefore serves as a step toward redeeming the dark side of American conservation.

Oct. 27: Stanislaus Husi (Wisconsin)

“The greatest landmark of willed moral progress in human history? The Abolition of Slavery and its Implications for Moral Philosophy”

Abstract: The abolition of Atlantic slavery constitutes a paradigmatic case of moral progress. Some even characterize it as “the greatest landmark of willed moral progress in human history.” Any plausible theory of morality must accommodate, and better explain, this fact. Yet philosophers eager to vindicate common sense morality without recourse to an objective realm of moral facts encounter remarkably tall obstacles in discharging this obligation. Moral realists are likely to say, “Told you so,” but some of their opponents are increasingly worried as well. To placate such worries, Richard Rorty recommends that “instead of seeing progress as a matter of getting closer to something specifiable in advance, we see it as a matter of solving more problems.” In the talk, I will show why even a most sympathetic development of Rorty’s recommendation threatens to collapse in the face of the historical realities of Atlantic slavery and its (not fully complete) abolition.

Nov. 3: Ben Bryan (CWCTP/CVSP Scholar in Residence)

“Backing Away from the Edge of Anarchy: A Lockean Theory of Political Obligation”

Abstract: Locke argues that political obligation can only arise through consent. As critics since Hume have recognized, however, most citizens have not consented to be governed. It seems, then, that Lockeanism leads to philosophical anarchism. I argue, however, that a proper understanding of Lockean rights leads away from the philosophical anarchist position. In order for Lockean rights theory to be plausible, it must hold, as Eric Mack does, that our natural rights are “abstract rights.” This means that our rights underdetermine exactly how we must treat one another. On this view, there are gaps of a sort in the concrete guidance our rights provide. I argue we have a “duty to fill in the gaps” in the requirements of our rights by establishing and following conventions. This duty provides the basis for a rather unusual theory of political obligation, on which we have duties to follow conventions established by laws, but not necessarily laws themselves. This theory offers a surprisingly commonsensical way of thinking our moral relationship with the law.

Nov. 9: Regina Rini (York University)

Special date and time: Thursday, Nov. 9, 11:00-12:00 in Hellems 269

“Intuition Inversion”

Abstract: The practice of contemporary moral philosophy revolves around the consideration of intuitive reactions to test cases. This practice presupposes that many moral intuitions are universally shared. This leaves philosophical practice open to a challenge: how could we respond to a person whose intuitions are exactly the opposite of ours, with whom we have no shared intuitions? I argue that there is no effective response from intuitionist methodology, and that this is a serious problem for moral philosophy’s aim to discover universal imperatives.

Nov. 10: Barret Emerick (St. Mary’s College of Maryland)

“The Limits of Compassion”

Abstract: Compassion is often said to be an uncompromising virtue; we are encouraged in places of worship, on social media, and on billboards (encouraging us to “pass it on”) to be compassionate with others.  Of course it is clearly morally appropriate to be compassionate sometimes; to fail to be compassionate is one method by which someone practices what Jean Harvey called moral abandonment and leaves another to suffer alone.  At the same time, it is also clearly morally appropriate at times not to practice compassion.  In this paper I explore when and under what circumstances we should and should not be compassionate.  I begin by distinguishing compassion from sympathy and empathy.  Then, I explore some of the moral reasons that justify compassion, followed by those reasons that count against it.  I conclude by responding to the common, recent claim that those who voted against President Trump ought to be compassionate with many of those who voted for him, since many of his supporters like those in the Rust Belt or in Coal Country voted for him out of a sense of justified anger for having been marginalized or economically exploited.  I argue that claim is misguided both conceptually and morally, and that though empathy might be an appropriate response, compassion is not.

Nov. 17: Eric Lee

Special time: 1:00-1:50pm

“Is Voluntariness Necessary for Valid Consent?”

Abstract: The following claim seems extremely plausible: consent must be given voluntarily in order to be valid. But consider the following case. Your physician, Dr. M, happens to be developing an experimental treatment for Ebola. In order to test its efficacy, Dr. M needs live human subjects who are infected with the Ebola virus. However, Ebola is a rare disease and Dr. M cannot find any test subjects. To remedy this, Dr. M decides to infect her own patients. During a routine checkup, Dr. M inspects the inside of your mouth using a tongue depressor that she laced with the Ebola virus. Dr. M then tells you that she has just infected you with Ebola and that you will die unless you consent to her experimental treatment. The experimental treatment will be painful but it gives you the best chance of being cured. You consent to the treatment. I argue that your consent to treatment is valid even though you do not give it voluntarily. If this is correct, then we will need to identify some other condition that is necessary for valid consent. I will suggest one possibility.

Dec. 1: Alex Zambrano

“Allocation of Resources and the Moral Importance of Scarcity”

Dec. 8: David Boonin

“Recent Work on the Non-Identity Problem”

Abstract: In my 2014 book, The Non-Identity Problem and the Ethics of Future People, I analyzed the non-identity problem as a conflict between five seemingly plausible premises and the seemingly implausible conclusion that follows from them, presented three criteria that any solution to the problem must satisfy in order to prove successful, provided a critical survey of the extant literature on the problem, and concluded that of all the solutions that the literature then contained, the one that did best by those criteria involved accepting the conclusion rather than rejecting one of the premises of the argument that leads to it. This approach to the non-identity problem involves accepting, for example, the claim that it is not immoral to conceive a child with a condition that will have a significant negative impact on that child’s quality of life even if one could easily conceive a child without such a condition instead. Most people who have written on the non-identity problem find accepting this kind of implication to be too big a price to pay, but in my book I argued that the price of accepting the alternatives was even greater. In the relatively short amount of time since the book’s publication, the literature on the non-identity problem has already grown considerably. In this paper, I will provide an overview of the solutions to the problem that have been offered in the last three or four years, including the approach that Derek Parfit was working on at the time of his death, and provide a critical response to those arguments (including Parfit’s) that seem to be among the most important.

Jan 27: Monique Wonderly (Princeton University)

"Attachment and Felt Necessity: Engaging with Value in Love and Addiction"
Philosophers have employed two different varieties of felt necessity to explain central aspects of agency in addiction and love, respectively. In addiction, the relevant felt need is often described in terms of an appetite, whereas love is characterized by necessities arising from a particular kind of caring. On my view, the extant literature offers an instructive, but incomplete picture of the roles of felt necessity in addiction and love. I argue that a third form of felt necessity -- attachment necessity -- often better captures central aspects of agency in love and addiction. Recognizing the role of attachment necessity will not only illuminate how felt necessity can impact the value of certain relationships, but it will also allow us to discern important features of addiction and love that remain obscured on extant approaches.

February 3: Thierry Ngosso (University of St Gallen)

"Where Should Corporate Responsibility Stop?"
In this talk I discuss where corporate responsibility should stop. I argue that corporate responsibility should stop at obligations arising from each firm's effective power provided that they are also compatible with those necessary for that firm to achieve its normative function. My argument combines a certain interpretation of the 'can implies ought' principle with a functional differentiation proviso. This approach appears more appealing than potential general frameworks on the delimitation of corporate responsibility.

February 10: Noel Saenz (Illinois)

"Sets and Grounding"
When it comes to grounding, talk of sets is standard. Someone asks 'what is grounding?' Many respond 'it is that relation of dependence that obtains between a set (or its existence) and its members (or their existence).' In this paper, I argue in favor of a principle of grounding that, in conjunction with a plausible claim about sets, tells against their existence. One implication of this is that reflecting on the nature of grounding motivates thinking that something that illustrates grounding well is, by the lights of grounding itself, impossible. Another is that contrary to what many think, we should not be so permissive when it comes to what grounded things exist. Grounding things can be, and in the case of sets is, more costly than we think.

February 17: Thierry Ngosso (University of St Gallen)

"Should Firms Be Morally Neutral?"
Neutralist Liberals claim that it is both inappropriate and useless to require firms to be morally neutral like states. It is inappropriate because, unlike states, firms are voluntary and perfectionist organizations. It is useless because reasonable accommodations are sufficient to protect the freedom of conscience of employees inside firms. I object to these claims and argue for firm neutrality. First, the opposition between the firm and the state is not substantial regarding the neutrality principle. In this respect, firms are closer to states than to churches. Second, even if reasonable accommodations incorporate a certain idea of neutrality, they do not exhaust its normative requirements inside firms.

February 24: Graham Oddie (Colorado)

"What's So Good About Being Happy?"

Happiness and well-being have both played rich roles in the history of value theory and of ethics, and they also feature prominently in popular culture and in psychology. Both have been held to be of fundamental intrinsic value. Despite the crucial roles that these two concepts play there is no general consensus about what they are or what their relationship is. I take my cue from a broadly Meinongian theory of emotions. This theory yields a natural, indeed rather obvious, account of the nature of happiness and of its relation to well-being. The account of the nature of happiness that I sketch also yields an appealing answer the question that is the title of this talk (appealing, because true). However, the answer might come as something of a surprise to some. Happiness is not itself intrinsically good thing and, even if consequentialism were correct, we would have no moral obligation to pursue it, promote it, or maximize it.

March 3: Krister Bykvist (Stockholm University, Institute for Futures Studies)

"Well-Being and Changing Attitudes"
The fact that our attitudes change poses well-known challenges for attitude-sensitive well-being theories. Take Kierkegaard's famous conundrum, for example. If I were to get married, I would prefer being unmarried; if I were to remain being unmarried, I would prefer being married. Which life is better for me? More generally, how can we find a stable standard of well-being, if the standard is in part defined in terms of unstable attitudes? In my talk, I will present a framework that will help us clear up the problems posed by changing attitudes. In particular, it will help us see what is at stake, which principles that can or cannot be combined, and what might be the best solution.

March 10: Eden Lin (Ohio State)

"Attitudinal and Phenomenological Theories of Pleasure"
Abstract: On phenomenological theories of pleasure, what makes an experience a pleasure is something about what it is like or the way it feels: pleasures are pleasures in virtue of possessing a certain kind of phenomenology. On attitudinal theories, what makes an experience a pleasure is something about its relationship to the favorable attitudes of the subject who is having that experience: a particular experience is a pleasure in virtue of being, say, liked or desired by the subject who is having it, or in virtue of consisting of that subject's liking or desiring something else. I advance the debate between these theories in two ways. First, I argue that the main objection to phenomenological theories, the heterogeneity problem, is not compelling. While others have argued for this before, I identify an especially serious version of this problem that resists existing solutions, and I explain why even this version of the problem does not undermine phenomenological theories. Second, I argue that a grand reconciliation can be effected between the two types of theory: it can be true both that pleasures are pleasures in virtue of how they feel and that they are pleasures in virtue of how they are related to their subjects' favorable attitudes, so long as the attitudes that are constitutively related to pleasures are ones that feel a certain way. Hybrid views of this sort have significant advantages over pure attitudinal or phenomenological views.

March 16: Helena de Bres (Wellesley)

"Narrative and Meaning in Life"
Abstract: Many theorists have argued that the meaningfulness of a life is related in some way to the narrative or story that can be told about that life. Relationists claim that a life gains in meaning when a particular set of "narrative relations" obtain between the events that constitute it. Recountists claim that it is the telling of a story about those relations, not the relations themselves, that confers meaning. After identifying problems with existing versions of both of these positions, this paper introduces a new and more satisfying variant of Recountism, centered on the old-fashioned idea that a meaningful life is, in part, an intelligible one. I argue that personal narration does play a role in a meaningful life and that my "Fitting Story" account provides the best explanation of how and why that is so.

March 17: David DeGrazia (George Washington University)

"A Framework of Principles for Animal Research Ethics"
Abstract: My purpose is to present a defensible framework for the ethics of laboratory animal research. I hope, in doing so, to accommodate reasonable pluralism about animals' moral status, avoid begging questions about whether animal models work, and indicate the inadequacy of current policies and the preeminent "3 Rs" framework. I will present and defend three principles pertaining to social benefit and four principles that address animal welfare. If the arguments are successful, the framework offers the possibility of agreement among open-minded members of the biomedical and animal-protection communities.

March 24: David Boonin (Colorado)

"Thomson's Violinist and the Ethics of Abortion Restrictions"
Abstract: In her 1971 article, "A Defense of Abortion", Judith Jarvis Thomson argued that abortion is morally permissible even if the fetus is a person. The analysis at the heart of Thomson's article generated a large secondary literature, virtually all of which followed Thomson in focusing exclusively on the question of whether abortion is morally permissible. In this paper, I apply Thomson's analysis of what follows (and what doesn't follow) from the claim that someone is a person to two further questions: a question about the moral status of laws prohibiting abortion and a question about the moral status of laws that permit abortion but restrict its availability in various ways. First, I present an argument, based on Thomson's analysis, for the claim that abortion should be legal. I argue that in several respects this argument for the claim that abortion should be legal is stronger than Thomson's own argument for the claim that abortion is morally permissible. Second, I argue that Thomson's analysis can also be used to ground a successful response to popular arguments in favor of various legal restrictions on abortion. I focus, in particular, on laws that impose a mandatory waiting period on women who seek abortions and on laws that require minors to obtain parental consent before they can have an abortion. But I also suggest that the analysis can be generalized to ground moral objections to most, if not all, legal restrictions on abortion.

April 7: Alastair Norcross (Colorado)

"More Mistakes in Moral Mathematics"
Abstract: Many significant harms, such as the mass suffering of animals on factory farms, global warming, or the presence of unqualified dangerous madmen in the White House, can only be prevented, or at least lessened, by the collective action of thousands, or in some cases millions, of individual agents. In the face of this, it can seem as if individuals are powerless to make a difference, and thus that they lack reasons, at least from the consequentialist perspective, to refrain from eating meat, to reduce their individual warming-related emissions, or to vote in presidential elections. This has become known as the "causal impotence" problem. The standard response, as exemplified by a paper of mine from 2004, and one of Shelly Kagan's from 2011, is to appeal to expected utility calculations. Recently, this response has been attacked, mostly on the grounds that the relevant causal mechanisms are more complex than Shelly or I are said to assume. In this paper, I argue that the attacks are unsuccessful, both at undermining the specific expected utility calculations we urge, or even at showing that significantly different expected utility calculations wouldn’t justify the relevant behavior.

Monday, April 10: Tom Dougherty (Cambridge)

"The Normative Scope of Consent"
Abstract: By giving consent, we permit a range of actions. But which range? I will discuss whether we need to intend to permit a particular action in order to permit it, and whether we need to express this intention.

April 21: Maggie Taylor (Colorado, PhD student)

"Won't Someone Think of the Children?: Reorienting the Moral Debate on Vaccination"
Abstract: The prevailing moral account in support of compulsory vaccination for children relies on the harm that unvaccinated children pose to other members of their communities. In contrast, those who oppose compulsory vaccination for children tend to argue that parents are within their rights to determine what is in the best interest of their own children, and that, where parents hold the belief that vaccination is not in their children's best interest, that belief should be sufficient to guard against intervention by the state or other parties who might compel vaccination.

This talk identifies a common problem with both views: they neglect the interests of the particular child who will (or will not) be vaccinated in favor of the interests of others. I will defend a positive account in favor of compulsory vaccination grounded in parental duties, which include duties to protect and promote the physical well-being of one's children. This account will maintain that the duty to ensure the physical security of one’s children is not discharged by philosophical or religious beliefs a parent may hold in opposition to vaccination.

April 24 David Plunkett (Dartmouth)

"What Are/Should We Be Doing In Normative Inquiry?"
Abstract: In this paper, we focus on bringing out the nature and interest of two important dimensions of complexity in normative inquiry. These dimensions concern (1) which goals to pursue in normative inquiry and (2) which topics to investigate in normative inquiry. We argue that choices within these dimensions are neither trivial nor arbitrary: choices within these dimensions can be given interesting rationales, and can have important consequences for how it makes sense to proceed in one's normative inquiry. Our aim in this paper is not to settle how these choices should be made. Rather, our aim is to map some of the key considerations that matter for thinking about these choices, and how these considerations interact with each other in interesting, often complicated ways. In so doing, we highlight the import of what Alexis Burgess and David Plunkett have dubbed conceptual ethics: roughly, normative or evaluative assessment of words and concepts, including, crucially, the assessment of which concepts a given agent should use in a given context, and which words she should use to express those concepts. These issues in conceptual ethics, we argue, are especially important in this context given the diverse ways in which philosophers use key normative terms (e.g., 'morality', 'justice', and 'knowledge'), and given the ways they often tacitly switch between different uses. We also underscore the import of the fact that there are a variety of kinds of normativity that one might be interested in, for a range of different reasons. Part of our aim is to underscore the import of these varieties of normativity, and put forward what we think are some important distinctions between them. We conclude the paper with some broad suggestions for moving forward in normative inquiry in a more productive, methodologically reflective way, and avoiding some of the key pitfalls that we think often occur in the absence of such methodological reflection.

April 28: Mark Meaney (Leeds School of Business)

May 5: Adam Hosein (Colorado)

"Freedom of Movement: A Moderate View"
According to a familiar argument, people have a fundamental right to freedom of movement and that right means open borders are morally required. In my talk, I will try to give an account of the right to freedom movement and its grounds. These do not commit us, I will argue, to open borders, but they do put some significant constraints on immigration policy, such as ruling out religious tests for entry and requiring substantial efforts to accommodate refugees.

Aug 29: Professor Neil Sinhababu (University of Singapore)

"The Epistemic Argument for Hedonism"

Sept 2: Francis Beckwith (Baylor University)

"Taking Rites Seriously: Liberalism, Religion, and Cultural Conflict"

Sept 9: David Boonin (University of Colorado Boulder)

"Sex, Lies and Harm: Dougherty on Deceptive Seduction"

Monday Sept 12: Professor Dare (University of Auckland)

"Permissible Profiling: Predictive Risk Modelling and Child Maltreatment"
Abstract: New Zealand researchers have developed a predictive risk modeling (PRM) tool using an algorithm with significant capacity to ascertain and stratify children's risk of experiencing maltreatment in the future. The potential benefits of the tool are considerable and are of obvious moral value. However the application of predictive risk modeling to child maltreatment also has very clear ethical risks and costs, including those generated by predictable false positives, by the possible stigmatization of already vulnerable populations, by the probable use of data without consent, by predictable resource allocation issues the tool will raise, and by difficulties in designing and implementing effective interventions. This paper gives an overview of the issues and asks whether these ethical costs can be ameliorated or completely addressed, and whether those that cannot be addressed are outweighed by the benefits that might be delivered by the tool.

Sept 16: Professor Hallie Liberto (University of Connecticut)

"Crimes of Non-Consent"
Abstract: Some sexual behavior is criminal because of a failure of consent. In these cases, courts try to determine whether the victim did not give consent in the legal sense and, also, whether the perpetrator of the crime could have reasonably known that the victim did not consent, or could have been reasonably expected to know that the victim did not consent. I am going to distinguish three different ways in which a law can map onto the truth about consent: it can get the existing, moral and legal facts of the matter right; it can engage in the full normative construction of the facts that it maps onto; or it can engage merely in the legal construction of the facts that it maps onto. I argue that both the first and second of these correspondences are desirable, and only the third is problematic. These distinctions help answer (and, in some cases, help articulate) some of the objections to consent policies and laws that have recently been implemented by states, universities, and the Canadian government.

Sept 23: Professor Emeritus Paul T. Menzel (Pacific Lutheran University)

"The Fundamental Challenge for Advance Directives"
Abstract: Advance directives have been widely embraced as morally legitimate means through which people exercise self-determination and personal autonomy in medical care. Their most fundamental problem, "then-self vs. now-self," however, continues to be an extremely difficult challenge: why should the earlier self have authority over the current incompetent self who no longer values autonomy and does not care about the previous directive? Several related defenses have been offered to address the problem, among them self-ownership, the reality of an enduring narrative self, and the moral need to treat previously competent patients differently from never-competent patients. Menzel argues that something more is needed to make these intuitively compelling defenses work: a richer understanding of patients' current interests, and clarification of what constitutes a "change of mind." Individual cases are used to illustrate the problem and its potential resolution.

Sept 30: Professor Aya Gruber (CU Law School)

"Murder, Minority Victims, and Mercy"
Abstract: Should George Zimmerman have been acquitted of Trayvon Martin's murder? Should enraged husbands receive a pass for killing their cheating wives? Should the law treat a homosexual advance as adequate provocation for killing? Criminal law scholars generally answer these questions with a resounding "No". Theorists argue that criminal laws should not reflect bigoted perceptions of African Americans, women, and gays by permitting judges and jurors to treat those who kill racial and gender minorities with undue mercy. According to this view, murder defenses like provocation should be restricted to ensure that those who kill minority victims receive the harshest sanctions available. Equality is thus achieved by ratcheting up punishment. There is a similar bias in the death penalty, where those who kill racial minorities are treated more leniently than those who kill whites and are often spared execution. But the typical liberal response here is to call for abolition rather than more frequent executions. Equality is thus achieved by ratcheting down punishment. This article asserts that the divergence between the accepted scholarly positions on the provocation defense and capital punishment can be explained by provocation critics' choice to concentrate on spectacular individual instances of leniency toward those who kill gender minorities and death penalty theorists' tendency to view the entire institution of capital punishment as racist and retrograde. The article then provides the institutional sketch of noncapital murder law currently missing from provocation analysis by discussing sentencing practices, the demographic composition of murder defendants, and the provocation defense's potential role as a safety valve. It concludes that inserting institutional analysis into the critical assessment of provocation might undermine the prevailing scholarly dogma supporting pro-prosecution reform.

Oct 7: Professor Bonnie Steinbock

"Physician-Assisted Death and Severe, Treatment-Resistant Depression"
Abstract: In recent years, Belgium and the Netherlands have allowed some cases of euthanasia or assisted suicide (EAS) to be provided to patients with severe, treatment-resistant depression. The paper looks at the reasons for regarding this as evidence of a very slippery and dangerous slope, or alternatively as a reasonable and compassionate development.

Oct 14: Professor Iskra Fileva (University of Colorado Boulder)

"Two Senses of 'why': Traits and Reasons in the Explanation of Action"
In ordinary practice, character traits are often cited in an attempt to explain why an action was done. Thus, we say, "Young Abraham Lincoln walked through a storm to give the correct change to a customer because he is honest" or "James Tyrone refuses to pay for his wife's medical treatment because he is miserly". But how exactly do traits explain actions? In what sense of "why" does Lincoln's honesty or the stinginess of Eugene O'Neill's Tyrone tell us why Lincoln or Tyrone acted as each did?
We do not have a satisfactory answer to this question, and surprisingly few proposals are on offer. While there is voluminous literature on action explanation, philosophers interested in the explanation of action have tended to focus exclusively on reasons explanations. Traits, on the other hand, especially morally-laden traits, are discussed almost exclusively in relation to action evaluation. But traits, as evidenced by ordinary discourse, are relevant to the explanation, not just to the evaluation, of actions. In this talk, I examine the precise role traits play in the explanation of action, and I discuss the connections between traits and reasons explanations.

Oct 21: Professor Alison Jaggar (University of Colorado Boulder)

"Agency, Complicity, and the Responsibility to Resist Global Injustice" by Corwin Aragon and Alison Jaggar
Abstract: Philosophers working on global ethics pay increasing attention to wrongs that result from systemic injustices. They look beyond the actions of individual "bad apples," the failings of corrupt states, and the practices of supposedly "illiberal" cultures to provide increasingly comprehensive accounts of the global structural processes that produce and perpetuate many injustices. Structural analyses reveal connections among wrongs that at first sight appear unrelated to each other and show how the actions of individuals can contribute to injustice at local, national, regional, and even global levels. However, although these accounts illuminate the empirical situation, the ethical picture remains blurred. How, if at all, are individual citizens morally responsible for injustices rooted in the global order? This paper builds on Iris Marion Young's work to offer an answer based on people's complicity with unjust social-structural processes.

Nov 4: Professor Chris Heathwood (University of Colorado Boulder)

"Unconscious Pleasures and Attitudinal Theories of Pleasure"
This talk is part of larger project that aims to explain the nature of hedonic phenomena -- sensory pleasure, attitudinal pleasure, enjoyment, happiness, and their unpleasant opposites -- in terms of desire. My aim in this talk is to respond to a new and interesting objection, due to Ben Bramble, against attitudinal theories of sensory pleasure and pain: the objection from unconscious pleasures and pains. According to the objection, attitudinal theories are unable to accommodate the fact that sometimes we experience pleasures or pains of which we are, at the time, unaware. In response, I distinguish two kinds of unawareness and argue that the subjects in the examples that support the objection are unaware of their sensations only in a weak sense, and this weak sort of unawareness of a sensation does not preclude its being an object of one's attitudes.

Dec 2: Alexander Zambrano

"Organ Procurement and Posthumous Rights"
Under a policy of organ conscription, the State takes organs automatically from the bodies of the dead, regardless of whether people consented or wanted to donate. Some bioethicists believe that a conscription policy would be an improvement over the current system because it would yield more usable organs and hence save more lives. These same bioethicists also claim that the interests of living patients who need organs to continue living outweigh whatever interests the dead may have in keeping their organs. I disagree. In this talk, I develop an account of posthumous rights and argue that a conscription policy would violate at least some people's posthumous bodily rights. I then argue that if people have posthumous rights about their body that are violated by a conscription policy, then the interests of the dead in having their rights protected do outweigh the interests of the living.

Dec 9: Professor Sarah Song (University of California, Berkeley)

"What, If Anything, Justifies The State's Power Over Immigration?"
What, if anything, justifies the state's power over immigration? I examine three answers advanced by contemporary political theorists and philosophers writing about immigration, all of which appeal to the idea of collective self-determination but are ultimately based on 1) the value of distinctive cultures and national identities, 2) the right to private property, and 3) the value of freedom of association. I discuss the limits of these justifications and offer an alternative view in which the subject of self-determination is not a nation, joint-owners of state institutions, or members of voluntary associations but a people engaged in a shared political project.

Jan 29: Cheryl Abbate

"Extension in Animal Rights Theory: How a New Account of Respect Can Make Sense of Collective Harms"

Feb 5: Eric Lee

"Consent and 3rd Party Coercion"

Feb 12: Professor Michael L. Radelet (Sociology)

"History of the Death Penalty in Colorado"

Feb 12: Professor Ken Shockley (SUNY Buffalo)

"Framing Harm In a Time of Climate Change: Climate, Development, and the Environment"

Feb 19: Caleb Pickard and Alexander Zambrano

"Don't Block It 'Til Ya Eyed It?: A Defense of Ad Blocking and Consumer Inattention"

Feb 26: Professor Robert Pasnau

"Belief in a Fallen World"

Mar 4: Professor Ahmed A White (Law School)

"The Labor Movement and the Dilemma of Labor Militancy"

Mar 14: Alfred Nsodu Mbinglo (founder and executive director of RECFAM (Research and Counselling Foundation for African Migrants))

"The Biblical Proportion of Internal and Cross Border Migration in Africa"

Mar 18: Spencer Case

"From Epistemic Realism to Moral Realism: A Defense of Cuneo's Parity Premise"

Oct 2: Professor Adam Hosein

"Racial Profiling and Reasonable Resentment"

Oct 9: Dr. Govind Persad (Stanford)

"Why We Don't Need More Organ Donors"

Oct 21: Profesor John Corvino (Wayne State University)

"Why I Don't Like Religious Exemptions"

Oct 22: Ryan Anderson (Heritage Foundation), John Corvino (Wayne State University), Sherif Girgis (author), Andrew Koppelman, (Northwestern University)

"On God's Authority: Conscientious Objection in the Age of Same-Sex Marriage"
7:00-8:30 PM, Eaton Humanities 1B50
Presented in conjuction with the Center for Western Civilization, Thought and Policy.

Oct 23: Sherif Girgis (Princeton)

"On God's Authority: Discussion"

Nov 6: Laurie Calhoun (Curio Bay, Southland, New Zealand)

"When Lethal Drones Come Home: The Path to Political Perdition"

Nov 20: Professor Michele Moody-Adams (Columbia University)

"Civic Art of Remembrance and Democratic Imagination"

Jan. 30: Jonathan Spelman

"Moral Obligation and Blame"

Feb 6: Dr. Hye-Ryoung Kang

"Can Rawls' Non-Ideal Theory Save His Ideal Theory?"

Feb. 13: Alastair Norcross

"On Wanton Self-Assurance: I Promised Myself I'd Write This"

Feb. 20: Shane Gronholz

"Welfare: Does Thinking Make it So?"

Feb. 27: Professor Dominik Perler (Berlin University/Princeton University)

"What is a Dead Body? Medieval Debates on a Metaphysical Puzzle."

Mar. 13: Alberto Ghibellini (Leo Strauss Center of the University of Chicago)

"Leo Strauss on Natural Right"

Apr. 10: Paul Bowman

Title TBA

Apr. 24: Professor Joseph Ulatowski (University of Texas at El Paso)

"On Where the Action Is"

Sept 26: Andrew Chapman

"The Existential Dimension of Morality"

Oct 3: Prof. David Boonin

"Status Quo Bias and the Experience Machine"

Oct 10: Prof. Peter King (University of Toronto)

"Moral Fatigue: The Deadly Vice"

Oct 17: Prof. Joe Ulatowski (University of Texas at El Paso) 


Oct 31: Prof. Caroline Arruda (University of Texas at El Paso)

"The Metaethical Problem of Suffering"

Nov 7: Joseph Stenberg

"Happiness on Earth (kind of) as it is in Heaven: Aquinas on Imperfect Happiness"

Nov. 21: Prof. Iskra Fileva

Title TBA

Jan 31: Prof. Eric Chwang

"Consent's Been Framed: How and When to Solve the Problem that Framing Effects Pose for Consent"

Feb 21: Prof. Michael Huemer

"Can Constitution Protect Freedom?"

Mar 7: Prof. Iskra Fileva (University of Michigan)

"The False, the Bad, and the Beautiful"

Mar 14: Prof. David Boonin

"Sex, Lies, and Consent"

Mar 21: Prof. Chris Heathwood

"Which Desires Are Relevant to Well-Being?"

Apr 11: Prof. Stephen M. Campbell (Coe College)

"The Good Death"

Apr 18: PhD Student Shane Gronholz

"Are Philosophers and Laypeople Talking About the Same Thing When They Talk about Morality?"

Apr 25: Prof. Adam Beresford (University of Massachusetts at Boston)

"Aristotle's Humanism"

May 2: Glenn Loury (Brown University)

"When Speaking Truth to Power is Not Enough: On the Ethics of Being a Public Intellectual in America Today"

Sept 6: Prof. Eric Chwang

"Against the Moral Relevance of the Similarity between Research Subject and Beneficiary"

Sept 20: Prof. Claudia Mills

"Manipulation as an Aesthetic Flaw"

Sept 27: PhD Student Chad Cliest (Marquette University)

"Killing for Food and Tragic Dilemmas: Capabilities Analysis"

Oct 4: Prof. Chris Heathwood

"Irreducibly Normative Properties"

Oct 11: Prof. Bradley Monton

"Morality Grounds Personal Identity"

Oct 18: Prof. David Hildebrand (CU Denver)

"Pragmatism, Objectivity, and Democracy"

Oct 25: Prof. Iskra Fileva (University of Michigan)

"Playing with Fire: Art and the Seductive Power of Pain"

Nov 1: Christopher Lewis (Stanford University)

"Inequality, Incentives, Criminality and Blame"

Nov 8: Prof. Mary Ann Cutter (University of Colorado at Colorado Springs)

"The Ethical Implications of Gendering Disease"

Nov 15: Prof. Ajume Wingo

"A Free Person as a Maker of Surprises"

Dec 6: Dr. Eamon Aloyo

"The Last of Last Resort: Why the Last Resort Criterion in Just War Theory Should Not Exist"

Jan 25: Prof. Michael Huemer

"Probabilistic Proof of Moral Realism"

Feb 1: Dr. Brian Talbot

"Conflicting Intuitions in Ethics and Elsewhere"

Feb 8: Dr. Eamon Aloyo

"Why Just Assassinations are Morally Preferable to Just Wars and Some Harmful 'Peaceful' Policies"

Mar 1: Prof. Eric Chwang

"Pediatric Consent"

Mar 8: Duncan Purves

"The Harm of Death"

Mar 15: Dan Lowe

"Why Counterexamples Fail (and What To Do About It): A Talk on Moral Epistemology and Philosophical Method"

Apr 5: Paul Studtmann

"The Game of Laws"

Apr 12: Prof. Ajume Wingo


Apr 19: Prof. Benjamin Hale


Apr 26: Prof. Adam Hosein

"Freedom, Sex-Stereotype and Anti-Discrimination"

Sept 14: Prof. Alison Jaggar

"Does Poverty Wear a Woman's Face? Some moral dimensions of a transnational feminist research project"

Sept 21: Dr. Abigail Gosselin

"Women, Justice, and the Global Context of Mental Disorder"

Sept 28: Prof. Michael Huemer

"The Duty to Disregard the Law"

Oct 5: Prof. David Boonin

"Harm After Death"

Oct 12: Annaleigh Curtis

"The Problem of Evidentialism in Moral Epistemology"

Oct 19: Prof. Mary Ann Cutter (CU Colorado Springs)

"The Ethics of Gender-Specific Disease"

Oct 26: Chelsea Haramia

"What are our Responsibilities to the Non-Existent?"

Nov 2: Prof. Alastair Norcross

Title TBA

Nov 9: Martin Chamorro

"The Proportionality of Open Borders and Exclusion"

Nov 16: Prof. Adam Hosein

"Where Are You Really From? Ethnic Selection in Liberal Democracies"

Nov 30: Annaleigh Curtis

"A Problem for Evidentialism in Moral Epistemology"

Dec 7: Ryan Jenkins

"Which Consequentialism?"

Jan 27: Prof. David Boonin

"Parfit's latest defense of the No Difference View"

Feb 10: Prof. Chris Heathwood

"Preferentism and the Experience Requirement"

Feb 17: Dr. Brian Talbot

"Which Epistemic Norms Matter?"

Mar 9: Prof. Philip Cafaro (CSU)

"For a Species Right to Exist"

Mar 23: Prof. Alastair Norcross

"Why and How Death is Bad for Animals, and People"

Apr 6: Prof. Chad Kautzer (CU Denver)

"Arendt, Occupy, and the Challenge to Political Liberalism: A Reply to Charles W. Mills"

Apr 13: Annaleigh Curtis

"Epistemic Injustice and Moral Knowledge"

Apr 20: Prof. Marion Hourdequin (Colorado College)

"Geoengineering, Solidarity, and Moral Risk"

Apr 27: Prof. David Boonin

"Why Blackmail Should Be Legal"

May 4: Prof. Robert Pasnau

"Veiled Disagreement"

Jan. 14, 2011: Dr. Nick Ferreira (University of Witwatersrand)

Jan. 21: Eric Chwang

“A Qualified Argument against Athletic Doping"

Jan. 28: Christian Lee

“Dissolving Indeterminacy and Incommensurability in Values”

Feb 4: Claudia Mills

“The Ethics of Parenthood”

Feb. 11: Michael Huemer

“Authority and Hypothetical Consent"

Feb. 18: Jarrod Hanson (Education)

"Defending Deliberative Democracy in the Classroom: Bridging Epistemological Divides"

Feb. 25: Adam Hosein

"Immigration and Equality: Must Governments Treat Aliens the Same as Citizens?"

Mar. 4: Eamon Aloyo (Political Science)

"A Democratic Justification for Nonmilitary Humanitarian Intervention: Reconciling Human Rights and Collective Self Determination"

Mar. 11: Charles Mills

"Body Politic, Bodies Impolitic"

Mar. 18: Horst Mewes (Political Science)

“The Function of Religion in Tocqueville’s Democracy in America

Apr. 1: Bob Pasnau

"Trust Yourself, Be Irrational" 

Apr. 8: David Boonin

"Famine, Affluence, and Mortality: A Non-Consequentialist Response to Singer and Unger"

Apr. 22: Ben Rich (UC Davis School of Medicine)

"Existential Suffering and the Ethics of Palliative Sedation"

Apr. 29: Kent Northcote, M.D.

“Perception and Memory”

Sept. 3, 2010: Eric Chwang

“Freedom from Autonomy”

Sept. 10: Mike Huemer 

“Against Democratic Authority”

Sept. 17: Ben Hale

"Undoing and Disallowing"

Sept. 24 at 12:00 noon: Robert Pippin (University of Chicago)

“Cinematic Action Theory”

Oct. 1: Eamon Aloyo

“Basic Democratic Rights: Conditionally Deriving Human Rights from a thin Procedural Conception of Democracy”

Oct. 8: Kacey Warren

"Recognizing Disability: Reconceptualizing a Vision of Social Justice for the Cognitively Disabled"

Oct. 15: Amandine Catala

“Reframing the Normative Question of Secession”

Oct. 22: Michele S. Moses

“Are Ballot Initiatives a Just way to Make Public Policy?”

Oct. 29: Brian Talbot

"Normative Dilemmas"

Nov. 5: Adam Hosein

"Doing, Allowing, and the State"

Dec. 3: Ajume Wingo

"The Politics of the Apolitics of Racism"

Jan 29: Prof. Claudia Mills

“Playing Favorites”

Feb 5: Prof. Alison Jaggar

"Hearts Starve As Well As Bodies: Leisure As an Indicator of Agency and Wellbeing"

Feb 12: Prof. David Boonin

"The Non-Comparative Account of Harm"

Feb 19: Prof. Ben Hale

"Nonrenewable Resources and the Inevitability of Outcomes"

Feb 26: Heather Roff (PoliSci)

"Kant's Permissive Law: A Principle for the Perplexed"

Mar 5: Cory Aragon

“Situating Responsibility for Global Justice”

Mar 12: Christian Lee

“A Trivial Organic Unity?”

Apr 2: Dr. Uri Leibowitz

"What is Friendship?"

Apr 9: Prof. Alastair Norcross

"Animal Experimentation"

Apr 16: Prof. Steve Vanderheiden (PoliSci)

"The Ethics of Free Riding"

Apr 23: Michaela McSweeney

"Against Tolerance"

Feb 13: Prof. David Boonin

"Why I Hate Hate Speech Codes (But Still Don’t Hate Hate Crime Laws)"

Feb 20: Prof. Michael Zimmerman

"Rapture of the Nerds: The (allegedly) coming technological 'Singularity'"

Feb 27: Prof. Eric Chwang

"On the Moral Force of Coerced Promises"

Mar 6: Prof. Dan Kaufman

"Sinful Actions and Sinfulness"

Mar 13: Christian Lee

"Basic Evaluative Properties"

Mar 20: Prof. Ben Hale

"Carbon Sequestration, Ocean Fertilization, and the Problem of Permissible Pollution"

Apr 3: Prof. Matt Tedesco (Beloit College, CU PhD)

"Harm, Consent, and Practical Joking"

Apr 10: Prof. Alison Jaggar

"The Philosophical Challenges of Global Gender Justice"

Apr 17: Dan Demetriou

"Honor: The Ethic for Real Men?"

Apr 24: Prof. Mike Huemer

"Is There a Right to Immigrate?"

Sept 4: Prof. Chris Heathwood

"Moral and Epistemic Open Question Arguments"

Sep. 11: Prof. Claudia Mills

"Artistic Integrity"

Sept. 18: Prof. Eric Chwang

"Consent and Cluster Randomization"

Sept. 25: Scott Wisor

"Philosophical Reflections on Sudan Activism"

Oct 2: Prof. Alastair Norcross

"Fetishism and Deontology"

Oct 9: Dr. Jason Wyckoff

"Why Political Legitimacy Entails Political Obligations"

Oct 16: Prof. Brad Monton

"Against Multiverse Theodicies"

Oct 23: Prof. Rob Rupert

"Against Group Mental States"

Oct 30: Dr. Ryan Mott

"Why Political Legitimacy Doesn't Necessarily Entail Political Obligations"

Nov 6: Barrett Emerick

"Kantian Ethics and the Puzzle about People in Great Need"

Nov 13: Amandine Catala

"Is There a Right to Secede?"

Nov 20: Tom Metcalf

"Empirical Ethical Intuitionism"

Dec 11: Pamela Lomelino

"Why Relational Autonomy Is Better Than Traditional Accounts of Autonomy"

Jan 18: Prof. Christina Van Dyke (Calvin College)

“Ethical Vegetarianism: Feminist Requirement or Patriarchal Burden?

Jan 18: Prof. Alastair Norcross

“Euthanasia and Self-Defense”

Feb 2: Dan Demetriou

“What Moral Intuitions Are”

Feb 8: Prof. Claudia Mills

“Stigma and Openness”

Feb 22: Kendy Hess

“The Modern Corporation as Moral Agent”

Feb 29: Lisa Bates

“Privatization, Democracy, and Public Goods”

Mar 14: Prof. David Boonin

“What’s Wrong with Racial Profiling?”

Mar 21: Dr. Michael Peirce

“It’s Not My Concern: Singer and Plato, Rules, Roles, and Social Organization”

Apr 4: Prof. Chris Heathwood

“Desire-Based Theories of Welfare, of Pleasure, and of Reasons”

Apr 11: Prof. Gordon Finlayson (University of Sussex)

"Not Much Ado about Habermas and Rawls"

Apr 18: Prof. Eric Chwang

“Futility Clarified”

Apr 25: Prof. Neera Badhwar (University of Oklahoma)

"Is Realism Really Good for You? A Realistic Response"

Sept 5: Ajume Wingo

"Trustees of Themselves: A New Framework for Human Rights"

Sept 12: Harry Platanakis (University of London)

"Aristotle on Political Participation"

Sept 19: Jason Wyckoff

"Can Gratitude Serve as a Basis of Political Obligation?"

Sept 25: Dr. Uri Leibowitz

"Particularism in Aristotle's Ethics"

Oct 10: Prof. Eric Chwang

"Three Ways of Speaking and the Futility of Coerced Promises"

Oct 17: Prof. Chris Heathwood

“Could Morality Have a Source?"

Oct 24Prof. Alastair Norcross

"Intentions, Character, and Consequentialism"

Oct 31: Ryan Mott

"Reviving Weber's Ghost: Attitudinal Accounts of State Legitimacy"

Nov 14Prof. Brad Monton

"Should Intelligent Design Be Taught in School?"

Nov 21: Kendy Hess

“The Metaphysics of Corporate Agency"

Dec 5: Prof. David Boonin

“Why I Don’t Hate Hate Crime Laws”

Dec 12Jason Hanna

"Ulysses Contracts and the Relevance of Consent"

Sep 7: Dr. Jackie Colby

“Health Disparities, Ethics, and the HPV Vaccine”

Sep 14: Prof. Alison Jaggar

“Ideal Theory versus Critical Theory: Comparing the Philosophical Methods of John Rawls and Iris Marion Young”

Sep 21: Prof. Chris Heathwood

“Desire-Based Theories of Welfare and the Possibility of Self-Sacrifice”

Sep 28: Jason Hanna

“How Soft Is Soft Paternalism?”

Oct 12: Prof. Philip Cafaro (CSU)

“The Environmental Argument for Reducing Immigration into the United States”

Oct 26: Prof. Alastair Norcross 

“Utility, Determinism, and Possibility”

Oct 29: Prof. Mariam Thalos (Utah)

“Risk and Resources”

Nov 2: Cindy Scheopner

“Creating God: Mormon Metaphysics and the Politics of Polygamy”

Nov 9: Prof. Steve Vanderheiden (CU Poli Sci)

“Justice and Global Climate Change”

Nov 16: Prof. Claudia Mills

”Fathers and Mothers”

Nov 30: Prof. Eric Chwang

“Against Assent”

Dec 7: Audra King

“Justice, Development, and Just Development: An Institutional Approach to Analyzing Development”