Utilitarianism for a Broken World
In my recent book Ethics for a Broken World, I imagine a philosophy class in a future broken world, where students and teachers look back in disbelief at the philosophy of a lost age of affluence. In the present paper, I argue that imagining the reactions of possible future people is not merely a pedagogical marketing gimmick, but also plays a substantive role in moral theory. I explore the ways that contemporary moral theory must be re-imagined for a broken world – highlighting difficulties faced by non-utilitarians, and exploring the resources available to utilitarians. In my conference presentation, I will focus especially on rule utilitarianism and reflective equilibrium.
'Utilitarianism for the Broken World'
Biography and Publications
TIM MULGAN is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Auckland. He also holds a fractional appointment as Professor of Moral and Political Philosophy at the University of St Andrews.
He was educated at the Universities of Otago and Oxford, and is the author of The Demands of Consequentialism (OUP 2001), Future People (OUP 2006), Understanding Utilitarianism (Acumen 2007), and Ethics for a Broken World (Acumen/McGill-Queens University Press 2011).
He is currently completing a manuscript for Oxford University Press entitled Purpose in the Universe: the moral and metaphysical case for ananthropocentric purposivism.
Recent Publications by Mulgan:
Mulgan, T., 2011, 'The Future of Utilitarianism', The Tocqueville Review/La Revue Tocqueville, 32, pp. 143-168.
Mulgan, T., 'Theory and Intuition in a Broken World'. [English versions of paper published as 'Teoria etica e intuizioni in un mondo in frantumi', La societa degli individui, volume 39, 2010.]
Mulgan, T., 'The impact of climate change on utilitarianism and Christian ethics'. [Revised draft of paper presented to the conference 'Peter Singer meets Christian ethics' at the University of Oxford in May 2011.]
Mulgan,T., 'Contractualism for a broken world'. [Paper presented to workshop on contractualism, Université de Rennes 1, May 2012.]
Return to Plenary Speakers