What's the point of ethics? The new generation of philosophers discusses.

The Festival of Arguments brings work in ethics from academic departments out to the general public. But why should the general public care? How is this work relevant to the real world?

Academic ethics is about giving arguments, making conceptual clarity, and drawing conclusions that are sometimes counterintuitive or disturbing, and sometimes very much aligned with common sense. But what is the point of it? If it is counterintuitive, would not this alienate people from ethical thinking, or perhaps make them react by clinging on to their own certainties and intuitions? And if it is aligned with common sense, isn't it a pointless intellectual exercise, only good to get people's approval? Moreover, sometimes academic ethicists like to discuss topics that seem very far from the actual problems the world is facing. What is the point in discussing ethical issues raised by futuristic scenarios, when the world is facing wars, famine, and pandemics? The winners and finalists of this year's Uehiro student competition in Practical Ethics represent the new generation of philosophers and ethicists. In the essays they submitted, they provided challenging ethical arguments on various topics, which were highly praised by the academic panel assessing them. But what about the potential relevance of their arguments outside academia? In this event, we will discuss with them about ethics: why it matters, if it matters at all; how it can affect the world, if it can at all; and, ultimately, why we should care.


Avital Fried (Graduate prize finalist)

Lily Moore-Eissenberg (Graduate prize winner)

Matthew Price (Undergraduate prize winner)

Leo Rodgers (Undergraduate prize finalist)

Chair: Alberto Giubilini

The video for this event is no longer available.