Global Priorities Institute: Parfit Memorial Lecture (Thursday - Week 4, TT19)


The Parfit Memorial Lecture is an annual distinguished lecture series established in memory of Prof. Derek Parfit by the Global Priorities Institute. The aim is to encourage research among academic philosophers on topics that are high-priority from the point of view of global prioritisation. This year, we are delighted to have Lara Buchak deliver the Parfit Memorial Lecture. 


Abstract: Global health interventions have a high probability of making a relatively small impact. Interventions that seek to eliminate or minimize existential threats often have a low probability of making an impact, and the probability of both the threat itself and the impact are hard to estimate; however, if they do make an impact, that impact will be enormous. Given these facts, which types of interventions should we focus on? I explore the difference that risk-aversion and risk-inclination, and ambiguity-aversion and ambiguity-seeking make to this question. Finally, I consider which of these attitudes we should adopt for purposes of ethics.


View on the Global Priorities Institute webpage:

Global Priorities Seminar Convenors: Hilary Greaves and Rossa O'Keeffe-O'Donovan