Published on 02/05/23
Earlier this term, the Humanities Faculty launched a new ‘Lunchtime Lectures’ series, which will give students the opportunity to hear academics talk on humanities-themed topics that lie beyond what can be covered in the classroom.
We were delighted to welcome Professor Anna Alexandrova from Cambridge University to deliver the first of these talks on the topic of ‘How to make good decisions and how philosophy helps’. Professor Alexandrova showed how commonplace cost-benefit analysis is within personal, economic and, in the case of utilitarianism, moral decision-making. Whilst demonstrating how useful this approach can be in a range of contexts, she argued that it is important for its limitations to be recognised. To this end, she asked students to consider examples where it is worth doing something even if the costs are too high, and where something has more benefit than costs but is still not worth doing.
There was a very good turnout for the event and it was great to see so many students actively participating by answering Professor Alexadrova’s questions and taking part in the discussion. The students took away a new or deeper understanding of utilitarianism and plenty to think about in terms of the extent to which it can inform good decision-making.
We are looking forward to the next lunchtime lecture when Dr Stephen Cave will be exploring the question ‘Should we choose to live forever?’.