Can Harmless Actions Be Impermissible for Reasons of Harm? Risky Actions and Collective OutcomesFrank Hindriks (University of Groningen)
The Collective Ethics Seminar: Online Presentation – 13 November 2023 - 15.15 - 16.45 CET / 09.15 - 10.45 EST
Frank Hindriks (University of Groningen) - Can Harmless Actions Be Impermissible for Reasons of Harm? Risky Actions and Collective Outcomes
On Monday 13 November, Frank Hindriks will give a presentation in the Collective Ethics Seminar entitled ‘Can Harmless Actions Be Impermissible for Reasons of Harm? Risky Actions and Collective Outcomes?’.
Abstract: Does the norm against harm prohibit harmless actions? Consider someone who risks harm that does not materialize or someone who contributes to a collective harm that would have occurred anyway. I argue that the norm prohibits some such actions because it serves to protect people by keeping the probability of harm low enough. The proposed account features a threshold probability that the actual probability should not exceed. Its height is sensitive to the harm the victims face and the sacrifices the perpetrators would make. This ‘threshold account’ reveals that the problem of risk of harm is a special case of the problem of collective harm. Furthermore, it explains why harm can be the reason for which an action is prohibited even if it does not materialize. Finally, it implies that a contribution is permissible if the risk it poses is so low as to be morally acceptable.
Keywords: actualism, collective harm, norm against harm, possibilism, risk of harm, threshold probability
The online seminar is open for all to attend. The other remaining presenters this semester are Barbara Vetter (FU Berlin), Anne Schwenkenbecher (Murdoch University), and Maeve McKeown (University of Groningen). For more information about the seminar and the schedule, please see https://social.univie.ac.at/events/collective-ethics-seminar/.
The session starts at 15.15 CET / 09.15 EST. You can join the session via the following link: https://univienna.zoom.us/j/62736288881?pwd=SndEdTNoNlZtSzJqcmpabm5NaWIyUT09
We hope to see you at the seminar!
Gunnar Björnsson (Stockholm University), Olle Blomberg (University of Gothenburg), and Niels de Haan (University of Vienna)