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CONF&CFP – Risk Aversion and Normative Uncertainty [The Varieties of Risk Project, Stirling]

18 January 2023


CFP: Risk Aversion and Normative Uncertainty

23-24th March 2023

The Varieties of Risk Project (http://www.varietiesofrisk.info) invites submissions of abstracts for a workshop on ‘Risk Aversion and Normative Uncertainty’, which will take place at the University of Stirling on 23rd and 24th March, 2023. 

Figuring out what to do is hard. So hard, in fact, that philosophers have puzzled over this for some time without reaching a conclusive answer. How should we respond to this widespread and often rational uncertainty? Some have thought that we ought to treat it in much the same way as other kinds of uncertainty – the risk of being wrong is a risk to be managed just like any other. Others have thought that moral risk and uncertainty is fundamentally different to other kinds of risk and uncertainty, and ought to be treated differently – perhaps even ignored.

If we think that moral risks are to be treated much like ordinary risks, it can be tempting to advocate for a kind of risk aversion – moral risks are to be avoided, when possible. However, moral uncertainty is so common that employing this as a general practice could commit us to practices that seem fairly extreme. Meanwhile, risk aversion is often considered irrational by traditional decision theory, so we might wonder whether seeking to avoid moral risk could be a universally rational policy.

This conference seeks to bring together philosophers working on normative and moral  uncertainty, risk, recklessness, and related topics to address questions such as, but not limited to:

  • What kinds of risk do we face when we deliberate about what to do morally or politically?
  • How should we deal with moral uncertainty?
  • Are normative and factual uncertainty symmetrical?
  • Is risk aversion a rational response to moral uncertainty?
  • How can decision theory be best applied to questions of normativity uncertainty?
  • Can our moral/political decisions be justified when they involve high normative/moral risk?
  • What kinds of moral evaluations are appropriate for those acting under normative uncertainty?
  • How should we evaluate agents motivated to avoid normative risk?


Submission Instructions

 Please prepare your abstract for anonymous review, and submit it to varietiesofrisk@gmail.com by January 20th, 2022. Abstracts should summarize a paper that can be presented in no more than 40 minutes. The authors of the best abstracts not selected for the workshop will be invited to chair a session at the workshop and give a short response (10 minutes). In order to facilitate this, we will ask authors of accepted papers to send their chair-commentators a draft of their full paper by March 1st.

We strongly encourage PhD students and early-career scholars from underrepresented backgrounds in philosophy to apply.


Financial Support

We have a limited budget for financial support for travel, accommodation, and childcare.


18 January 2023
Event Category:


AHRC Varieties of Risk
View Organiser Website


University of Stirling
University of Stirling
Stirling, Scotland FK9 4LA United Kingdom
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+44 (0) 1786 473171
View Venue Website

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