2 Upcoming LRI Talks


SUMMARY: 2 Upcoming LRI Talks by John Nolt

Toward an Objective Conception of the Welfare of Life on Earth:Biocentric Ethics and Public Policy 

John Nolt

4:00 EDT Thursday, March 30 - Engineering/Geosciences (EnGeo)  2101 

ABSTRACT:  The most widely accepted measure of how life on Earth is faring is biodiversity.  Conceptions of how humans are faring are for the most part conceptions of welfare.  But the diversity of life and the welfare of its creatures, though empirically related, are conceptually distinct.  This talk considers the extent to notions of objective human welfare can be generalized to non-human creatures.  Developing such generalizations might sharpen and enrich philosophical value theory, integrate it with empirical data from conservation biology, and help make biocentric ethics more relevant to public policy. 


Incomparable Values

John Nolt

3:30 EDT Friday, March 31  - Cleveland 114

Incomparability is value difference without superiority; two values are incomparable if and only if neither is greater than or equal to the other.  Value structures containing incomparable values are not linearly ordered (from better to worse) but merely partially ordered.  Some have claimed that incomparable values render rational decision theory and consequentialist ethics inoperable.  I maintain, to the contrary, that allowance for incomparable values generalizes and greatly enriches them.

John Nolt is Professor Emeritus in Philosophy at the University of Tennessee, and a Research Fellow at the Howard Baker Center for Public Policy. He has published seven books, including most recently Incomparable Values: Analysis, Axiomatics and Applications (Routledge, 2022) ( and numerous articles on logic and environmental, intergenerational, and climate ethics.

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Published: Saturday, March 25, 2023

Last Updated: Saturday, March 25, 2023

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