Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Hilary Greaves (Oxford): “Against the badness of death”

25 November 2015, 5:30 pm7:00 pm

Abstract: Orthodox choice-theoretic approaches (decision theory, social choice theory and so on) take the primary axiological notion to be an overall ordering of possible worlds. This is appropriate, since it is only via such an overall ordering that axiology plausibly connects to normativity. In possible contrast, many moral philosophers are more directly concerned with the goodness or badness of certain ‘subworld’ entities – individual events within worlds, for instance. This latter mode of theorising need not in principle be misguided, since it is not in principle in tension with the former mode. However, in practice, theorising directly in terms of the goodness/badness of subworld entities tends to lead moral philosophers and others into important mistakes. I discuss two ways in which this has happened in the literature on “the badness of death”. The first concerns Jeff McMahan’s “time-relative interests” account of the badness of death. The second concerns the way in which the notion of the badness of (child) death has figured in cost-benefit analyses for developing-world family planning interventions.


25 November 2015
5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Event Category:




LAK 2.06
Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
+ Google Map