Oxford Philosopher to Discuss the Ethics of Climate Change at Amherst College April 10

Submitted on Friday, 3/29/2013, at 4:08 PM

March 29, 2013

AMHERST, Mass. — On Wednesday, April 10, at 4:30 p.m. in Pruyne Lecture Hall of Amherst College’s Fayerweather Hall, John Broome, White’s Professor or Moral Philosophy at Oxford University’s Corpus Christi College, will give a lecture titled “The Public and Private Ethics of Climate Change.” The lecture, which is free and open to the public, is the final talk in the 2012-2103 Forry and Micken Lecture Series on “Climate, Nature and the Frontiers of Ethics.” It was organized by the Amherst College Department of Philosophy and funded by the Forry and Micken Fund in Philosophy and Science.

In addition to his position at Corpus Christi, Broome has held faculty posts at Birkbeck College, University of Bristol and University of St. Andrews, and visiting positions at the University of Virginia, the Australian National University, Princeton University and the University of British Columbia, to name a few. He has served as a fellow at both the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the British Academy, as well as a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. He was editor of the journal Economics and Philosophy.

Broome’s scholarly work focuses on the value of human life, which concerns both moral philosophers and economists. His research on this topic took him backward to its theoretical foundations (the theory of rational decision, a subject that is included within both economics and philosophy) and forward to its practical applications (medicine, “since doctors and health services have to weigh extending people’s lives against improving people’s lives,” and climate change, “because it will kill millions of people,” he says). Since leaving the discipline of economics in 1996, he now explores questions that lie at the heart of moral philosophy: what rationality is, what its logical structure is, what is the activity of reasoning and so-on.  

Broome studied mathematics and later economics at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and earned bachelor of arts degrees in both. He also holds a master of arts degree in philosophy from Bedford College, the University of London, and a doctorate in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has acted as a consultant to the World Health Organization and the Stern Review and is a lead author of the next assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

His lecture is made possible by the Forry and Micken Fund in Philosophy and Science, established in 1983 by John I. Forry ’66 and Carol Micken to promote the study of philosophical issues arising out of new developments in the sciences, including mathematics, and issues in the philosophy and history of science. For more information, call (413) 542-5805.

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Peter Rooney
Director of Public Affairs
(413) 542-2321
prooney@amherst.edu