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Southampton Ethics Centre

Southampton Ethics Centre November 2021 Bulletin

Published: 25 November 2021

The Ethics Centre recently launched a new series of Afternoon Workshops. The first of these took place on Thursday 18th November: 


Race and Philosophy  

Session 1: Keshav Singh (U of Alabama, Birmingham) and Daniel Wodak (Pennsylvania)  

Topic:  How we should think about the relationship between racial discrimination and race. If someone is discriminated against for being Black, is their being Black part of the explanation of the discrimination, such that we should be realists about race? We argue that the best answer is no.  


Session 2: Jimmy Yab (Southampton, Politics), author of Kant and the Politics of Racism, Palgrave 2021.  

Topic: Kant's racial theory: How scholars' defence of Kant is unethical. 


Look out for forthcoming workshops, which will be advertised via the SEC Mailing List! 




Forthcoming ethics-related events around the University: 


2021 Ethical Challenges Lecture (re-scheduled) 

Thursday 9th December, 6pm - 7.30pm, Microsoft Teams 


Professor Catriona McKinnon (Exeter) 


Geoengineering: Fantasies of Control  


Proposals to research and test climate engineering as a response to the climate crisis are becoming more mainstream. Advocates for geoengineering tell persuasive stories about how these untested technologies could buy us time for aggressive greenhouse gas emissions, could protect the world's poor, and are owed by us to future people who might face the climate catastrophes we bequeath to them. In this talk I dissect the fantasies of control that underlie many of these arguments for accelerated research and development of geoengineering. I argue that, from an ethical point of view, we ought to be deeply worried about these fantasies of control because of how they make the dangers created by geoengineering appear to be more manageable than they are.   


This event will take place online via Microsoft Teams and is free to attend. However, you must register to receive the event link. RSVP by 1pm on 9th December 

To register follow this link

Any queries should be addressed to Tracy Storey: 




The Centre for English Identity and Politics and British Future   

England - people, environment and sustainability 

Tuesday 30th November, 12.30 – 14:00  


Never before have climate change and the environment been so prominent in the political agenda, and yet never before have humans lived lives so distant from natural ecosystems, so superficially freed from their constraints and so bereft of their wonder. In England, there are threads of resistance to this estrangement that hark back to enclosure. Yet environmental discourse takes place far from people’s lives, either in the abstract world of technocracy or the trivial world of ethical consumerism. The Common Good Foundation, supported by Purpose, have developed a manifesto for a popular environmentalism, rooted in English traditions, that would re-enchant our relationship with nature.


Tobias Phibbs: Common Good Foundation; author of ‘Popular Environmentalism’ 

Alison Barnes: Chief Executive, New Forest National Park Authority

Ian Christie: lecturer and researcher at the Centre for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Surrey. 


Please register here to receive your zoom link to attend this webinar. 





Philosophy Visiting Speaker Seminar 

Tuesday 30 Nov, 3-5pm, Room 65/1097, Avenue Campus 


Johanna Thoma (LSE), ‘What’s Wrong with Pure Risk Paternalism?’, Avenue Campus 


A growing number of decision theorists have, in recent years, defended the view that rationality is permissive in the sense that there is rational leeway in how agents who value outcomes in the same way may choose under risk, allowing for different levels of ‘pure’ risk aversion or risk inclination. One new question that arises once we grant such permissiveness is what attitude to risk we should implement when choosing on behalf of another person. More specifically, my talk is concerned with the question of whether we are pro tanto required to defer to the risk attitudes of the person on whose behalf we are choosing, that is, whether what I call ‘pure risk paternalism’ is problematic. I illustrate the practical and theoretical significance of this question, before arguing that the answer depends less on one’s specific account of when and why paternalism is problematic more generally, and more on what kinds of attitudes we take pure risk attitudes to be. 





17-18 December 2021 

Online, hosted by the Philosophy Department, University of Southampton 


To register for this conference, please email Tracy Storey ( using the subject line ‘Normativity conference registration’. 


Friday 17th December 

10.00-11.20 Benjamin Kiesewetter (FU Berlin), ‘Pro Tanto Rights and Saving the Greater Number’. Response by Atus Mariqueo-Russell (Southampton). 

11.40-13.00 Tim Smartt (Notre Dame Australia), ‘Scepticism About Epistemic Blame’. Response by Amy Flowerree (Texas Tech). 

14.30-15.50 Arianna Falbo (Brown), ‘Should Epistemology Take the Zetetic Turn?’. Response by Giulia Luvisotto (Warwick). 

16.10-17.30 Keynote talk: Ruth Chang (Oxford), 'Three Dogmas of Normativity'. 


Saturday 18th December 

09.30-10.50 Xintong Wei (St. Andrews), ‘A Practice-Based Account of The Truth Norm of Belief’. Response by Philip Fox (Humboldt Berlin). 

11.10-12.30 Claire Kirwin (Clemson), ‘How to Decide What to Do: An Argument for Value Realism’. Response by Sasha Mudd (UC Chile). 

14.00-15.20 Caleb Perl (Australian Catholic University), ‘Normativity as Reactive Shield’. Response by Jules Salomone-Sehr (McGill). 

15.40-17.00 Keynote talk: Christoph Kelp (Glasgow), ‘The Epistemic, the Practical, and the Zetetic’. 


This conference is the sixth in an annual series alternating between the University of Southampton and Humboldt University, Berlin. It aims to bring together philosophers working on normativity, including foundational problems of moral philosophy and practical normativity more generally, questions about reasons, rationality, and value, and issues about epistemic and other forms of normativity. Our primary aim is to provide a forum for lively and constructive exchange amongst philosophers currently working in the field. 


This conference is organised in accordance with the BPA/SWIP good practice scheme. 


Organisers: Conor McHugh and Kurt Sylvan (Southampton) 




SEC Seminar 


Joe Horton (UCL), Title TBC 

Tuesday 1st March, 3-5pm, Room 65/1097, Avenue Campus 




SEC Seminar 

Professor Russell Bentley (Southampton, PAIR), ‘Power and Reasons in Plato’s Republic’ 

Tuesday 8th March, 3-5pm, Room 65/1097, Avenue Campus 


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