Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy (MCMP)

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Zoom Talk: Johanna Thoma (LSE)

Meeting ID: 980 1222 9580

10.02.2022 16:15  – 17:45 

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What’s wrong with pure risk paternalism?


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. Granting such permissiveness complicates the question of 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.