Debunking Inefficacy Reasoning

December 8, 2022 - December 9, 2022
Department of Philosophy, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam


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Call for Registration: Workshop Debunking Inefficacy Reasoning”

When: December 8 (13-17h) and December 9 (10-17h) Where: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Invitation: We invite anyone who is interested in the theme of the workshop to participate. To register, please send an email to [email protected]. Please note, this workshop will be in-person only.

To successfully avert a climate crisis, governments, scientists and big corporations have to cooperate. However, we tend to believe that citizens have to do their part as well: climate change can only be mitigated if people collectively change their behaviour to reduce their carbon emissions. Similarly, such collective efforts are required in solving many other societal problems, such as fighting a pandemic or raising money for charity (etc.)

However, since each individual contribution to the collective carbon footprint is extremely small, individuals face the Inefficacy Problem: “why should I cooperate, if my contribution makes no difference? It seems to be a waste of my efforts!” Can we adequately debunk reasoning of this sort and, instead, find reasons to cooperate in spite of the inefficacy problem? This question will be the focus of the workshop.


- Keynote: Felix Pinkert (Vienna), TBA
- Andrea Asker Svedberg (Stockholm): “The Problem of Collective Impact. Why Helping Doesn’t Do the Trick”
- Mattias Gunnemyr (Lund): “Reasons for Action. Making a Difference to the Security of Outcomes”
- Rutger van Oeveren (Austin): “Participation and Causation”
- Dmitry Ananiev (London): “Kantian Imperfect Duties and Cases of Collective Harm”
- Luke Elson (Reading): “Inefficacy and Democracy”
- Benjamin Mullins (Rotterdam): “Act Consequentialism and Imperceptible Difference Cases”
- Tessa Supèr (Amsterdam): “Expressive Value and Precommitment”
- Jan-Willem Wieland (Amsterdam): “What Problem?”

This workshop is a collaboration between:

Ethics and Political Philosophy, VU Amsterdam (Research project: “The Ethics of Cooperation”)

Erasmus Institute for Philosophy and Economics, EUR (Research project: “How Much is Enough?”)

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November 19, 2022, 9:00am CET

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