The Tilburg Center for Logic, Ethics, and Philosophy of Science studies knowledge, reasoning, and value in all their forms.

tilburg university

Research Seminar in Ethics

The Research Seminar in Ethics is a forum for all those who have research interests in ethics and social philosophy. The seminars can be taken for credit by research master students.

Upcoming seminars

Thursday, 5 October 2017, 12:45-14:00

Room: D 119

Speaker: Maureen Sie (TiLPS)

Title and abstract: tba

Thursday, 19 October 2017, 12:45-14:00

Room: D 119

Speaker: Huub Brouwer (TiLPS)

Title: The Unhappy Union of Neutrality and Luck Egalitarianism

Abstract: Should society provide for those who can work, but choose not to? A common objection to Rawls’s Theory of Justice (1971) is that it requires transfers to the undeserving — to those who are needy because of their indolence and the laziness. Luck egalitarianism, which was first proposed by Ronald Dworkin (1981a, 1981b), accommodates the concern about transfers to the undeserving through responsibility-sensitivity. The theory only requires transfers to the badly off if they are not responsible for their plight. G.A. Cohen would later remark on this that 'Dworkin has, in effect, performed for egalitarianism the considerable service of incorporating within it the most powerful idea in the arsenal of the anti-egalitarian right: the idea of choice and responsibility' (1989, p. 933). A common critique of luck egalitarianism is that, in fact, the theory takes too much from the anti-egalitarian right. It is too harsh on those who are responsible for being badly off (cf. Anderson 1999, Scheffler 2003, Wolff 1997). Luck egalitarians have responded to this charge by arguing that the theory is not too harsh, but simply indeterminate (Olsaretti 2009, Stemplowska 2009): In its current form, it cannot identify which consequences people should bear when they are responsible for their actions. Hence, it is not clear whether the harshness charge applies. To make luck egalitarianism determinate, the theory needs to be supplemented with a principle of stakes —a principle that identifies the consequences that people should bear when they are responsible for their actions. We argue that all conceivable principles of stakes that prevent worries about harshness are moralised— that is, relying on conceptions of the good. This poses a neutrality dilemma to luck egalitarians who wish to make their theory determinate: either they remain neutral towards conceptions of the good and have to bite the bullet on the harshness charge, or they adopt a moralized principle of stakes and are no longer neutral towards conceptions of the good.

Thursday, 2 November 2017, 12:45-14:00

Room: D 119

Speaker: Tim Klaassen (TiLPS)

Title and abstract: tba

Thursday, 30 November 2017, 12:45-14:00

Room: D 119

Speaker: Wim Dubbink (Tilburg University)

Title and abstract: tba

Thursday, 14 December 2017, 12:45-14:00

Room: D 119

Speaker: Annemarie Kalis (Utrecht University)

Title and abstract: tba

Recent seminars

Wednesday, 20 September 2017, 12:45-14:00

Room: D 125

Speaker: Thomas Wells (TiLPS)

Title: How to tell if a society is flourishing: a purpose-driven account

Abstract: There are all sorts of reasons for wanting to know how well a society is doing, from government accountability to voters to governments' selection of policies (such as which variety of capitalism to foster). Many international indexes are published that purport to meet this need. Unfortunately most suffer from significant methodological problems, such as arbitrary selection or aggregation of data; ideological circularity; or excessive dependence on available data. This early stage paper is part of a Templeton funded project investigating whether 'good markets' make for 'good societies'. Its contribution will be to the philosophy (concepts, values) and methodology of the evaluation of flourishing. It takes a multi-dimensional, purpose-driven approach inspired by Amartya Sen's work on the evaluation of social well-being (for example in his capability approach).