An article by Alex Voorhoeve and me called ‘Why It Matters That Some Are Worse Off Than Others: An Argument against the Priority View’ (Philosophy & Public Affairs) includes a link to this post ‘for remarks by Derek Parfit in reply to this article, plus the authors’ response’. Parfit’s reply, ‘Another Defence of the Priority View’, has been published in this special issue of Utilitas on prioritarianism. I’ve now just published an article called ‘Prioritarianism and the Measure of Utility’ (Journal of Political Philosophy) that responds to Parfit’s. Here’s an excerpt that conveys the gist of my article:

Merton College, Oxford
Hawkins room
12th July 2013
10am – 5.30pm

‘How to Defend the Asymmetry Intuition in Population Ethics’
– Johann Frick (Harvard)

‘Justice and Private Education’
– Daniel Halliday (Melbourne)

‘The Asymmetry’
– Ralf M. Bader (Oxford)

‘Measuring Unfairness and Lotteries’
– Gerard Vong (Fordham)

Please note that this is a pre-read workshop. Participants are expected to read the papers in advance. Attendance is free, but registration is required as space is limited. To register for the workshop send an email to: ralf.bader (at)

CFP: Reasons of Love
By S. Matthew Liao

International Conference, Institute of Philosophy,
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium),
30 May-1 June 2011

This conference’s title is ambiguous on purpose. The relationship between love and reasons for action is highly interesting and complicated. It is not clear how love is related to reasons. Love might be a response to certain normative reasons, since it seems fitting to love certain objects. However, love also seems to create reasons and not to be a response to certain appropriate reasons. Love’s relationship to morality is also complex. It is not clear how the normative reasons for acting morally are related to the reasons of love. It is sometimes argued that love is not a virtue because the reasons for acting morally are not the same as the reasons for acting lovingly. But the notion of ‘unprincipled virtue’ seems to make room for love as a motive of morally praiseworthy actions.

An International Journal of Moral, Political, and Legal Philosophy

(ISSN 1740-4681)

Volume 7, Number 1 (2010)


William Sin, ‘Trivial Sacrifices, Great Demands’, pp. 3-15

Lina Papadaki, ‘What is Objectification?’ pp. 16-36

M. B. E. Smith, ‘Does Humanity Share a Common Moral Faculty?’ pp. 37-53

Jonathan Seglow, ‘Associative Duties and Global Justice’, pp. 54-73

Miriam Ronzoni, ‘Constructivism and Practical Reason: On Intersubjectivity, Abstraction, and Judgment’, pp. 74-104

Kenneth R. Westphal, ‘From “Convention” to “Ethical Life”: Hume’s Theory of Justice in Post-Kantian Perspective’, pp. 105-32


An International Journal of Moral, Political, and Legal Philosophy
(ISSN 1740-4681)

Volume 6, Number 4 (2009)


Ty Landrum, ‘Persons as Objects of Love’, pp. 417-39

Elizabeth Tropman, ‘Renewing Moral Intuitionism’, pp. 440-63

David Alm, ‘Deontological Restrictions and the Good/Bad Asymmetry’, pp. 464-81

Carl Knight, ‘Egalitarian Justice and Valuational Judgment’, pp. 482-98

Geoffrey Scarre, ‘The “Banality of Good”?’ pp. 499-519


Sean Coyle, ‘The Ideality of Law’, pp. 521-34


Stefan Bird-Pollan on The Founding Act of Modern Ethical Life: Hegel’s Critique of Kant’s Moral and Political Philosophy by Ideo Geiger, pp. 535-37

Let us loosely define perfectionism as the view that well-being consists in the (enjoyable) exercise of the capacities that are distinctive of one’s biological species. A dog does well when it does the sort of things that exemplify dogness, and we people do best when we make use of our various human capacities – rational, emotional, social, physical, and so on. As Richard Kraut points out in his The Ethics of Well-Being, this need not involve any sort of dubious inference from ‘x is natural’ to ‘x is good’. Rather, perfectionism should be thought of as a theory that best unifies the phenomena we are trying to understand. We have a bunch of intuitions about cases, and perfectionism captures the ones that withstand scrutiny, the argument goes:

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award Professor Thomas Nagel, of New York University, the 2008 Rolf Schock Prize in Logic and Philosophy. This is the eighth time the Prize has been awarded. Earlier laureates are W.V. Quine, M. Dummett, D. Scott, J. Rawls, S. Kripke, S. Feferman and J. Hintikka.

There is a symposium for Thomas Nagel being held at the the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm on 21 October 2008.

Manchester Centre for Political Theory (MANCEPT)

Value, Respect, and Wellbeing: Themes from the Work of Joseph Raz

Friday 9 May 2008
Time: 9.30am – 5.15pm
Venue: The Boardroom, Arthur Lewis Building, University of Manchester

Provisional Programme:
9.30 – 10.00 registration
10.00 – 11.15 session 1: Steven Wall (Bowling Green State University)
11.15 – 11.30 coffee
11.30 – 12.45 session 2: Leslie Green (University of Oxford)
12.45 – 1.30 lunch
1.30 – 2.45 session 3: Brad Hooker (University of Reading)
2.45 – 3.00 tea
3.00 – 4.15 session 4: Stephen Darwall (University of Michigan)
4.15 – 5.15 session 5: Discussion with replies by Joseph Raz (University of Oxford and Columbia University)

New issue on metaethics
By Thom Brooks

The latest issue of the Journal of Moral Philosophy has just been published and all articles are on the topic of ‘metaethics’. Papers were originally presented at a conference organized by Fabian Freyenhagen at King’s College, Cambridge. The issue can be found here. The contents are as follows:

This chapter on moral status is very short, and also mercifully short on intricate imaginary examples. Kamm quickly takes us through a number of relatively familiar normative distinctions and I will try to be brief in recounting them here.

In the broadest sense, moral status simply refers to, roughly, an entity’s moral properties:

Moral status in the broad sense X’s moral status = what is morally permissible/impermissible to do to X

Now in this broad sense, rocks also have moral status: we’re permitted to do to them whatever we like. In common use, moral status refers to something narrower. Kamm thus turns to:

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