Ratio Annual Conference 2024: The Moral and Political Philosophy of Risk

May 4, 2024
University of Reading

United Kingdom


University of Reading
University of Reading

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Risk is pervasive. As individuals, we expose others to risk through our everyday actions, and we must decide what to do when we are uncertain about the outcomes of our choices. Collectively, we face pressing questions about how to respond to large scale threats associated with climate change and the development of new technologies. Whilst standard ethical thinking has often been often insensitive to the presence of risk, a growing body of philosophical work is addressing the conceptual and normative challenges it presents. For example, how should we understand ‘risk’ for the purposes of normative theorizing? When is it morally permissible to impose risks of harm on others? Is risk itself a harm? How should scientists and healthcare professionals communicate with the public about risk?

The Ratio Annual Conference 2024 brings together four leading philosophers in the moral and political philosophy of risk to explore how we should act in the face of risk, and how foregrounding the issue of risk might reshape our ethical thinking;

  • Alex McLaughlin (Exeter)
  • Joseph Bowen (Leeds)
  • Rebecca Brown (Oxford)
  • Stephen John (Cambridge)

Their talks will address both general puzzles in the ethics of risk (for example, questions about risk and rights, and existential risk) and applied problems about risk communication.

Lunch will be provided. All are welcome, but spaces are limited!

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May 1, 2024, 9:00am BST

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