Demandingness in Practice. The Limits of Moral Obligations in Social, Political, Legal and Economic Contexts

Workshop at the Centre for Advanced Study in Bioethics

The question of when moral norms are too demanding has so far been discussed primarily from a metaethical point of view. But how does it look in practice: Do I have to risk my life or my job by helping others or by doing the moral right thing? A workshop on 27–29 June will focus on demandingness objections in practical ethics.

The workshop takes place at the Centre for Advanced Study in Bioethics / Kolleg-Forschergruppe "Theoretische Grundfragen der Normenbegründung in Medizinethik und Biopolitik". Participation is free, however, registration is required due to limited space.

"Demandingness in Practice. The Limits of Moral Obligations in Social, Political, Legal and Economic Contexts"

Demandingness and overdemandingness are primarily discussed in the context of metaethical objections to moral theories. But the idea that particular moral obligations can be deferred by reference to their excessiveness is also relevant to quite a number of debates in practical ethics. It is plainly not self-evident or deducible from a general principle that — and at what point — moral obligation reaches its limits, say, when it comes to the demand to reduce one’s carbon footprint, to pay for the pensions of the young, to donate a liver, to risk one’s job or more over whistleblowing, to testify against a loved one, or even share one’s apartment with a stranger in need.

The variety of these problems across different practical domains calls for a reflection on the limits moral demands in terms of individual — and possibly also collective — (over-) demandingness: a reflection on real life problems that bridges the concern of metaethical, normative reflection with practical ethics. The workshop aims at contributing to a fine-grained picture of demandingness objections in practical ethics, and thus at linking the meta-ethical debate with concrete ethical problems that deserve more detailed and often interdisciplinary studies.


Wednesday, 27 June 2018
13:30 Welcome
13:45 – 15:00 When Morality is Demanding
Ingmar Persson (Oxford/Gothenburg)
15:15 – 16:30 The Application of Demandingness Objections
Marcel van Ackeren (Oxford)
17:00 – 18:15 How Much Should a Person Know?
Anna Hartford (Stellenbosch)
Thursday, 28 June 2018
9:30 – 10:45 Overdemandingness for Collective Agents
Stephanie Collins (Melbourne)
11:00 – 12:15 Collective Obligations and Demandingness Complaints
Brian Berkey (Philadelphia)
13:45 – 15:00 When Does Morality Demand Too Much of States?
Jelena Belic (Budapest)
15:15 – 16:30 Are the Demands of Deontological Duties Irrational?
Matthew Kramer (Cambridge)
17:00 – 18:15 Is Pure Discounting Too Demanding?
Kian Mintz-Woo (Graz)
Friday, 29 June 2018
9:30 – 10:45 What Does Vulnerability Require in Health Care? The Case of Addiction
Susanne Uusitalo (Turku)
11:15 – 12:30 Demanding Payment – On the Morals of Debt Default
Simon Derpmann (Münster)
12:30 – 13:00 Organizational matters and farewell