Parfit Memorial Lecture 2022


The Parfit Memorial Lecture is an annual distinguished lecture series established by the Global Priorities Institute (GPI) in memory of Professor Derek Parfit. The aim is to encourage research among academic philosophers on topics related to global priorities research - using evidence and reason to figure out the most effective ways to improve the world. This year, we are delighted to have Associate ProfessorJeffrey Sanford Russell deliver the Parfit Memorial Lecture. The Parfit Memorial lecture is organised in conjunction with the Atkinson Memorial Lecture.

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Problems for Intergenerational Equity


The principle of Intergenerational Equity says (roughly) that benefits to future generations count morally for just as much as benefits to people who are alive today. This principle is widely accepted by philosophers, and the alternative has been called "outrageous" and "reprehensible"; the principle is also an important part of the case for prioritizing actions that affect the very long-term future. But Intergenerational Equity has weird and paradoxical consequences for reasoning about moral value and risk in the very long run. This lecture will explore some of these consequences.

About the speaker

Jeffrey Sanford Russell is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern California. His work covers many different topics, including the limits of what is possible, the structure of space and time, parts and wholes, things and their properties, evidence, belief, and action. Jeffrey is currently working on issues in decision theory and ethics involving large and infinite numbers, as well as normative uncertainty. Much of his work applies technical tools to traditional philosophical questions. More information is available here.

Selected Publications

  • With Yoaav Isaacs. “Infinite Prospects”. In: Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 103.1 (2021), pp. 178–198.
  • “On the Probability of Plenitude”. In: Journal of Philosophy 117 (5 2020), pp. 267–292.
  • “Non-Archimedean Preferences Over Countable Lotteries”. In: Journal of Mathematical Economics 88 (May 2020), pp. 180–186.
  • “How Much is at Stake for the Pragmatic Encroacher”. In: Oxford Studies in Epistemology 6 (2019).
  • “Quality and Quantifiers”. In: Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96.3 (2018), pp. 562– 577.
  • With John Hawthorne. “Possible Patterns”. In: Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 11 (2018).
  • With Andrew Bacon. “The Logic of Opacity”. In: Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (2017).
  • “Composition as Abstraction”. In: Journal of Philosophy 114 (9 2017), pp. 453–470
  • With John Hawthorne. “General Dynamic Triviality Theorems”. In: Philosophical Review 125 (3 2016), pp. 307–339.
  • “Qualitative Grounds”. In: Philosophical Perspectives 30 (1 2016), pp. 309–348.

Full list available here.