Calendar

Feb
21
Wed
PPE Speaker Series: Fabian Wendt @ 135 Goodwin Hall
Feb 21 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Fabian Wendt from Chapman University will give a talk on the topic “Defending Unfair Compromises.” All faculty and students are invited to attend.

Abstract: It seems natural to think that compromises ought to be fair. But it is false. In this paper, I argue that it is never a moral desideratum to have fair compromises and that we are sometimes even morally obliged to try to establish unfair compromises. The most plausible conception of the fairness of compromises is David Gauthier’s principle of minimax relative concession. According to that principle, a compromise is fair when all parties make equal concessions relative to how much they can gain from an agreement and relative to how much they would lose without an agreement. To find out whether fair compromises sometimes are a moral desideratum, I discuss several paradigmatic cases in friendships, economics and politics, and I try to show that even when the parties have principled moral reasons to refrain from trying to maximize utility in the negotiations, they do not have moral reasons to aim at a fair compromise. My second claim is that we are sometimes even morally obliged to try to establish unfair compromises, in particular when we are dealing with parties that try to establish morally very bad political arrangements. In such cases, we should try to concede as little as possible to achieve an outcome that is morally acceptable. Fair compromises, in other words, are morally much more dubious than is usually appreciated.

Price: Free
Sponsor: Administration
Homepage: http://www.news.liberalarts.vt.edu/calendar/
Contact: Michael Moehler
E-Mail:: moehler@nullvt.edu
for more info visit the web at:
http://www.ppe.phil.vt.edu/news-events/index.html

Mar
21
Wed
PPE Speaker Series: Marion Fourcade @ 135 Goodwin Hall
Mar 21 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Marion Fourcade from the University of California Berkeley will give a talk on the topic “Faust in the Digital Era.” All faculty and students are invited to attend.

Abstract: The modern digital economy is built upon an implicit Faustian bargain: companies provide online services for free, and individuals ‘pay’ them back by signing intrusive terms of service that provide access to their personal data. The data is then refined and recombined to sort individuals into marketing niches, skill sets, rankings and reputations, and more. It is used for price discrimination, product differentiation, and the distribution of financial and symbolic rewards and penalties. This presentation will provide an overview of these new sorting processes, and of their existing and potential consequences for how we think about inequality in today’s society.

Price: Free
Sponsor: Administration
Homepage: http://www.news.liberalarts.vt.edu/calendar/
Contact: Michael Moehler
E-Mail:: moehler@nullvt.edu

Apr
2
Mon
PPE-GFURR Lecture: Catherine Herfeld @ 118B Surge Building
Apr 2 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Catherine Herfeld from the University of Zurich will give a talk on the topic “The Many Faces of Rational Choice Theory.” All faculty and students are invited to attend.

Abstract: Throughout the second half of the twentieth century, theories of rational choice have been extensively employed in economics and the social sciences more generally. They have been used in the hope of solving a variety of distinct conceptual, methodological and epistemic problems and are thus to be found in nearly any context in which economists aim at generating knowledge about the economy. At the same time, theories of rational choice have been attacked from various sides. As they have been empirically falsified countless times, they have often been identified as responsible for the explanatory and predictive shortcomings of economic models and theories. In this talk, I aim to provide a fresh perspective on persistent debates about the epistemic potentials and limitations of rational choice theory. First, I suggest that rational choice theory has many conceptually and methodologically distinct faces that remain prevalent in contemporary economics, but have emerged from a history of earlier attempts to conceptualize the behavior of human agents. By looking more closely at a set of historical and contemporary cases, I argue that the way in which rational choice theories have been used and justified in economics has depended crucially upon the problems that economists addressed. They should accordingly be evaluated against the backdrop of precisely those problems they were meant to provide a solution for. Second, I argue that even if economists could draw upon an empirically more adequate theory of human behavior, it remains to be seen whether they have found an appropriate solution for the empirical difficulties that economic models and theories actually confront.

Price: FREE
Sponsor: Administration
Homepage: http://www.news.liberalarts.vt.edu/calendar/
Contact: Michael Moehler and David Bieri
E-Mail:: moehler@nullvt.edu or bieri@nullvt.edu

Apr
18
Wed
PPE Distinguished Public Lecture: Amartya Sen @ Haymarket Theatre
Apr 18 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Amartya Sen from Harvard University will give a talk on the topic: TBA. All faculty and students are invited to attend.

Sponsor: Administration
Homepage: http://www.news.liberalarts.vt.edu/calendar/
Contact: Michael Moehler
E-Mail:: moehler@nullvt.edu
for more info visit the web at:
http://www.ppe.phil.vt.edu/news-events/index.html