The annual public Uehiro Lecture Series captures the ethos of the Uehiro Centre, which is to bring the best scholarship in analytic philosophy to bear on the most significant problems of our time, and to make progress in the analysis and resolution of these issues to the highest academic standard, in a manner that is also accessible to the general public. Philosophy should not only create knowledge, it should make people’s lives better.
In keeping with this, the Annual Uehiro Lectures are published as a book series by Oxford University Press and we are pleased to announce the recent publication of the latest in the series by 2016 Uehiro Lecturer, Professor Shelly Kagan, 'How to Count Animals, more or less' (published April 2019).
We are delighted to announce details of Professor Otsuka's rescheduled lectures for 2020, series title 'How to pool risks across generations: the case for collective pensions'.
Speaker: Michael Otsuka is a Professor of Philosophy at the London School of Economics. He is the author of Libertarianism without Inequality (OUP 2003) plus a number of articles in journals such as Philosophy & Public Affairs and Ethics, mainly on topics in normative ethics and distributive justice. His current research interests encompass prioritarianism, egalitarianism, and the separateness of persons; collective goods and the benefits of cooperation; risk-pooling, pensions, and insurance; the fairness and value of risks and chances of benefits; property ownership and the nature of money; and left-libertarianism versus social democracy and socialism. The focus of his teaching is on philosophy and public policy as well as moral and political philosophy. He post blogs on Medium on issues related to public policy -- mainly on pensions but also on health insurance, the measure of inflation, and the funding of higher education. For the impact of his pensions blogs, Otsuka was ranked #23 of 50, alongside Vice Chancellors, Ministers of State, and top civil servants, on the ‘UK Higher Education Power List’ 2018 of those who had the most influence on this higher education sector that year. According to the assessors: “Pension schemes are complex beasts, with a large number of nested assumptions. So it takes a skilled philosopher to unpick the logic and follow the trails of meaning to their inherent contradictions. In Michael, USS actuaries found a formidable opponent, and it is no exaggeration to say his blog posts changed the course of the dispute.”
Most people agree that animals count morally, but how exactly should we take animals into account? A prominent stance in contemporary ethical discussions is that animals have the same moral status that people do, and so in moral deliberation the similar interests of animals and people should be given the very same consideration. In How to Count Animals, more or less, Shelly Kagan sets out and defends a hierarchical approach in which people count more than animals do and some animals count more than others. For the most part, moral theories have not been developed in such a way as to take account of differences in status. By arguing for a hierarchical account of morality - and exploring what status sensitive principles might look like - Kagan reveals just how much work needs to be done to arrive at an adequate view of our duties toward animals, and of morality more generally.