Faculty of Arts

PHIL 766

Special Topic: Ethics for Possible Futures

Please note: this is archived course information from 2018 for PHIL 766.


Traditional moral and political philosophy focuses on relations between contemporaries – asking what we owe to present people. A prominent topic in recent moral theory is whether we need to re-imagine ethics to capture our obligations to future people.

In this course, we will focus on the impact on moral and political philosophy of different credible futures, such as the following: broken futures damaged by climate change or other disaster; virtual futures where human beings have retreated from reality into experience machines; and digital futures inhabited by super-intelligent machines. How should we think about these futures? Should we welcome or fear them?

Availability 2018

Not taught in 2018


Lecturer(s) Professor Timothy Mulgan

Recommended Reading

There is no set text. Students interested in the course might want to read the following:

-        Mulgan, T., "Ethics for Possible Futures", Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 2014, 114, pp. 57-73.

-        Mulgan, T., Ethics for a broken world: reimagining philosophy after catastrophe, Acumen, 2011.

-        Jamieson, D., Reason in a Dark Time, Oxford University Press, 2014.

-        Bostrom, N., Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies, Oxford University Press, 2014.


PHIL 766: 15.0 points

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