“Objective Rights and Epistemic Risks” by Renee Jorgensen Bolinger

Objective Rights and Epistemic Risks

This paper argues that our understanding of objective rights must be sensitive to agents’ epistemic limitations. On one popular understanding (which I call the `full-information fact-relative’ interpretation), considerations about ignorance are relevant only to the `subjective permissibility’ of an act, affecting culpability but not whether an act is a rights-violation. Against this view, I argue that subjective permissibility is not an adequate answer to the problems that agent ignorance poses for the deliberative and distributive roles of moral rights. If rights are to fill the theoretical role assigned to them, they must issue fact-relative permissions that are at least somewhat sensitive to agents’ evidential and epistemic limitations.

Date: 16 October 2018, Tuesday
Time: 2pm to 4pm
Venue: Philosophy Resource Room (AS3-05-23)

About the Speaker:
Renee Bolinger, (https://www.reneebolinger.com/) Ph.D., USC (2017) is a postdoctoral researcher in the School of Philosophy at Australian National University, and will join Princeton University in September 2019, as an Assistant Professor of Politics and the University Center for Human Values. Her primary research interests are in moral and political philosophy. Her current work concerns the ethics of risk, just war, moral rights under uncertainty (especially in self-defence), hate speech, and the political import of various informal social norms.

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