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Higher seminar in practical philosophy: H. Orri Stefánsson


Date: Tuesday 3 May 2022

Time: 13.15 – 15.00

Location: Zoom

Identified lives “bias” as decreasing marginal value of chances

Commentator: Katharina Berndt


According to a common intuition, we should use a lottery to decide who gets a good to which two persons have an equal claim but which only one person can get. According to a less common intuition, we should sometimes save identified lives even at the expense of saving a greater number of statistical lives. I defend a principled way of justifying both intuitions, namely, by appealing to the decreasing marginal moral value of survival chances. I identify four desiderata that, I contend, any such justification should satisfy, and explain how my account meets these desiderata, unlike some previous accounts.