Seminars and Panels

The Distinctive Significance of Systemic Risk

Professor Aaron James

Mar 6 2015
11:00 A.M. - 12:30 P.M.
232 Philip G. Hoffman Hall

This talk suggests that "systemic risk" (e.g., of financial market collapse, or of ecological calamity) has a distinctive kind of moral significance. Two intuitive data points need to be explained. The first is that the systematic imposition of risk can be wrongful or unjust in and of itself, even if harm never ensues. The second is that, even so, there may be no one in particular to blame. We can explain both ideas in terms of what I call responsibilities of "Collective Due Care." Collective Due Care arguably precludes purely aggregative cost-benefit decision-making, and requires one kind of "precautionary" attitude in public choice.

About Professor Aaron James

Aaron James (Harvard PhD, Philosophy, 2001) is Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Irvine. He is author of Fairness in Practice: A Social Contract for a Global Economy Oxford University Press, 2012, and was awarded the ACLS Burkhardt Fellowship, spending 2009-10 at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University. He was also Visiting Professor of Philosophy at New York University in Fall of 2013.

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