SOPhiA 2017

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

The Unwelcome Implications of Ex Ante Contractualism
(Ethics, English)

Ex ante contractualism holds that in situations involving risk we ought to act in accordance with principles that license the action that satisfies the strongest individual claim, where those claims are a function of the expected value that a given policy gives each person ex ante. According to the proponents of the view, adopting such an ex ante mode of justification makes it possible for contractualists to deal with cases under risk, something contractualism has been claimed to be ill equipped for.
I here challenge ex ante contractualism. I argue, first, that adopting ex ante contractualism would have far reaching implications that contractualists, or nonconsequentialist in general, would find very hard to accept; second, that ex ante contractualism includes an implicit appeal to a kind of interpersonal aggregation of harms and benefits contractualists reject; and third, that the ex ante contractualists' argument for the principled priority of identified over unidentified lives, an implication of ex ante contractualism, is unsound. I also briefly comment on a pluralistic attempt to get around some of the defects of ex ante contractualism and conclude that to deal with uncertainty contractualists should not adopt ex ante contractualism, but a suitably amended ex post approach.

Chair: Jonas Blatter
Time: 11:10-11:40, 15 September 2017 (Friday)
Location: SR 1.007

Korbinian Rüger 
(University of Oxford, United Kingdom)

Korbinian is a PhD student in philosophy at Balliol College, Oxford University. His main research interests lie in moral philosophy. Before coming to Oxford he studied at the University of Bayreuth and the London School of Economics. korbinian.rueger@philosophy.ox.ac.uk

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