Justice, Beneficence, and Distance

Sites: HMS
Director(s): Louis Guenin
Prerequisites: Permission of instructor
Offered: Spring. 1/30/2020 to 4/23/2020. Thursday, 3-5 p.m.
Location: HMS - Harvard Medical School (0)
Open to Exclerks: No (HMS only)
Description: In this seminar we consider justice and beneficence near and far, in the former setting as conceived in philosophical views of how benefits and burdens should be distributed within the confines of a just society, and in the latter in the form of obligations of sharing and stewardship to benefit and avoid harming peoples and generations distant from us in space and time. Topics may include justice as fairness and the libertarian view of distributive justice, moral demands placed upon us by poverty, famine, and disease in distant lands, conceptions of global justice, collective duties to abate anthropogenic climate change and to mitigate its effects on the health of earth’s future inhabitants, and the morality of germ line genetic engineering using means such as CRISPR systems. Readings of recent works in moral philosophy will evoke proposed principles of justice and forms of a duty of beneficence that bear upon whether and which acts and forbearances of crucial sorts are morally obligatory.