Monday, August 15, 2011

Aggregation Workshop

Third McGill Workshop in Ethics
One-Day Workshop on Interpersonal Aggregation 2011
October 29, 2011
McGill University, Montreal, Canada

When you are faced with a choice between saving one stranger and
saving five different strangers (and there are no morally relevant
differences amongst the six strangers), what is the right thing to do?
Intuitively, many people claim that it is right to save the five
strangers. However, John Taurek famously claimed that it is right to
flip a fair coin because this gives an equal chance of being saved to
each stranger. According to Taurek, the number of strangers should not
affect our moral judgment. The puzzle is that if you are non-
consequentialist, it seems that you must agree with Taruek's counter-
intuitive claim. Does this example show the limit of non-
consequnetialism? Is it possible for non-consequentialists to justify
the case for saving the five strangers without an appeal to
interpersonal aggregation? Is a weighted lottery a better procedure
than saving the greater number? Does it make sense to say that the
loss of five lives is worse than the loss of one life? Is there any
other good alternative principle? What is aggregation in the first
place? This topic has become known as the Aggregation Problem or
Number Problem, and its implications are important for many practical
problems such as population-level medical ethics, climate change, and
so on. The Third McGill Workshop in Ethics offers an opportunity to
discuss this rapidly growing literature (including, the works of Tim
Scanlon, Frances Kamm, Michael Otsuka, Judith Thomson, Iwao Hirose,
and others).

We invite highly qualified papers on the recent literature of Taurek's
Aggregation Problem. Papers should be suitable for blind-review and no
longer than 6,000 words. Please send paper (PDF file) through (we welcome papers from graduate

Travel expenses (up to C$1,000) and accommodation (up to 2 nights) for
speakers will be covered.

Deadline for submission: August 15, 2011 (Notification of acceptance
by September 15, 2011)

For more information, please visit

This workshop is organized by Iwao Hirose (McGill) and financially
supported by SSHRC and CIHR.

No comments: