How to Be a Nonconsequentialist and Still Save the Greater Number

Thursday, May 2, 2024, 2:30 PM
Sakamaki Hall C-308

Many people agree that, other things being equal, agents who have the option of saving either a smaller or a greater number of different people have a moral duty to save the greater number. While consequentialists have an easy time vindicating this pre-theoretically plausible assumption, it is far from obvious that it can be given a deontological rationale (and it has also been famously rejected by a number of deontologists).

Ben Kiesewetter is a Professor of Practical Philosophy at Bielefeld University in Germany.  In this talk, Dr. Kiesewetter will criticize Scanlon’s contractualist attempt to defend the duty to save the greater number. He will then present and defend a new proposal, which appeals to a theory-neutral principle about how contributory moral reasons combine in determining an all-things-considered obligations.