Workshop: Non-Welfarist Approaches to Population Ethics, 22 Sep 2022

Most work in population ethics is based on a welfarist assumption, according to which the fundamental value is the welfare of individual people. As is well-known, population ethics has encountered a number of paradoxes. One important question is whether we could avoid them by abandoning the welfarist assumption in favor of non-welfarism. According to non-welfarism, the welfare of individual people is not the only – or perhaps not even any – fundamental value. Examples of non-welfarist determinants of value are fulfillment of virtue, flourishing, needs, rights, capabilities, desert, autonomy, knowledge, cultural diversity, beauty, biodiversity, or even the genesis of a population – which are then supposed to be valuable independently of their contribution to welfare. Hence, on non-welfarism, one population can be overall better than another even if its level of wellbeing is lower, given that it contains enough of these other values. The overall question is, however, whether a move to non-welfarism could help us formulate a viable theory of population ethics that avoids the paradoxes and can be fruitfully applied to actual policy cases. The aim of this workshop is to explore the scopes and limits of non-welfarist population ethics.

If you would like to give a talk, please contact Olle Torpman () with an abstract (maximally 300 words) no later than May 30th 2022. Speakers will get travel and accommodation reimbursed.