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When is it morally acceptable for a person, business, or government knowingly to expose others to risk without their consent? It is tempting to think that the answer is never, and that it is wrong to expose someone to risk unless they have agreed. But a moment’s thought shows that this would make normal life impossible. Driving a car imposes risks on other drivers and pedestrians. Even walking imposes some risks on others. And as we have recognised recently, staying at home imposes risks on those who make deliveries. Risk is an avoidable part of life, yet surely not all risk imposition is acceptable. What makes the difference? In this talk we will discuss how the ethical issues can be addressed, and what problems still remain.
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About the speaker – Professor Jonathan Wolff
Jonathan Wolff is the Alfred Landecker Professor of Values and Public Policy and Governing Body Fellow at Wolfson College. He was formerly Blavatnik Chair in Public Policy at the School, and before that Professor of Philosophy and Dean of Arts and Humanities at UCL. He is currently developing a new research programme on revitalising democracy and civil society, in accordance with the aims of the Alfred Landecker Professorship. His other current work largely concerns equality, disadvantage, social justice and poverty, as well as applied topics such as public safety, disability, gambling, and the regulation of recreational drugs, which he has discussed in his books Ethics and Public Policy: A Philosophical Inquiry (Routledge 2011) and The Human Right to Health (Norton 2012). His most recent book is An Introduction to Moral Philosophy (Norton 2018).
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