The Philosophy Club at IUPUI presents:
Side Constraints and Hazy People: What Ethics is Really About
Dr. Samuel Kahn
Department of Philosophy
This talk is aimed at a general audience. I begin by taking aim at ethical optimizers, people who believe that we ought always to choose the action that maximally produces some good such as happiness. I offer two arguments, one about suiting an action to an actor and one about positioning, to show that optimizing often produces sub-optimific results. I suggest that accepting these arguments leads one down the road of seeing ethics as providing general heuristics and side constraints rather than rigorist prescriptions. But general heuristics and side constraints about what? I use this question to transition into the second part of the talk, in which I discuss vagueness with regard to our most basic ethical concept, personhood, and how we ought to behave to the hazy and not-quite persons in our lives.
Friday 22 March
4:00 PM-5:45 PM