Ethics for Future Generations

Faculteit Wijsbegeerte
Jaar 2021/22
Vakcode FI204FG
Vaknaam Ethics for Future Generations
Niveau(s) master
Voertaal Engels
Periode semester I b

Uitgebreide vaknaam Ethics for Future Generations
Leerdoelen The aim of this course is to familiarise students with central ethical questions around future generations, with a focus on more applied issues. Students will understand what different ethical frameworks, both consequentialist and non-consequentialist, imply for our duties towards future generations; understand the debate around longtermism; and engage competently with applied questions to do with future generations, including climate change and existential risk prevention (including AI, climate, and pandemic risk). If successful, the course will also challenge our preconceived notions about what the most important issues are to work on, both as individuals and collectively.
Omschrijving The first half of this course covers some theoretical questions around future generations. We start with discussing longtermism, the very strong claim that in many central decisions, both individually and collectively, regard for the long-term future trumps short and medium-term concern. We then cover the basics in population ethics, to understand how axiological theories can make sense of our duties towards future generations. In session 3, we cover alternative, non-consequentialist theories by focusing on intergenerational justice.
The second half turns toward applied issues. On most theories, but particularly longtermism, a central future-regarding duty is to prevent catastrophic and existential risk. We will discuss two of the biggest existential risks, namely pandemic risk and AI risk. In the final session, we discuss climate change, both from an existential risk but also an intergenerational justice perspective.
Uren per week
(Seminar (this is a discussion and presentation-based seminar))
Toetsvorm essay
(Essay (a presentation must be given to get the credits, but the presentation itself does not receive a grade))
Vaksoort master
Coördinator dr. A.T. Schmidt
Docent(en) dr. A.T. Schmidt
Verplichte literatuur
Titel Auteur ISBN Prijs
A reading list will be made available in due course.
As inspiration for the section on existential risk, you can watch Toby Ord’s short video on his new book The Precipice (or read the book).
Entreevoorwaarden Previous working knowledge in ethics and, to some extent, political philosophy required.
Opgenomen in
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