WoW 2024 - Workshop on Welfare and Ethics

27 to 28 June 2024
Saarland University, Germany


Since there is only a limited number of possible participants, we ask you to register by sending an email to workshoponwelfare(at) until 13 June if you would like to attend.

Information on the workshop

Considerations about welfare, the value of welfare, its distribution, or welfare-based claims and complaints are central to moral philosophy. They are of particular concern for all philosophers who take welfare to be (at least) one source for normative reasons. Evaluative and deontic considerations about welfare provide an array of fascinating philosophical questions.

It is (quite) uncontroversial that welfare has moral value and provides moral reasons; but it is highly contested how in particular. We ought not to harm people, but do we also ought to benefit them? Does this include future people – even if their existence depends on our actions? And can we aggregate people’s welfare, or should we limit the trade-offs between their harms and benefits?

Our account of welfare has implications for ethics; but do ethical considerations also provide reasons to adopt one or another theory of welfare? What is the interaction between theories of welfare and the ethics of welfare?

Some lives are better and some are worse; but what constitutes their prudential value? Are well-being and ill-being analogous or do they differ in structure and relevance – and what do particular theories imply? What are the relevant underlying concepts of desire, pleasure, friendship, or other objective goods on which welfare may depend?

This workshop provides a forum for the discussion of those and related questions. It aims at rallying scholars of philosophy to expand our understanding in these issues, and we hope to promote the philosophical engagement with ethics, welfare, and how they interact.

Keynote Speakers

  • Joe Horton (University College London)

  • Theron Pummer (University of St. Andrews)

Further Speakers

  • Alexander Sasha Arridge (Oxford University)

  • Martin Dimitrov (University of Toronto)

  • Tomi Francis (Oxford University)

  • Jonas Harney (Saarland University)

  • Jakob Lohmar (Oxford University)

  • Adriano Mannino (UC Berkeley)

  • Abelard Podgorski (National University of Singapore)

  • Eva Rose Read (London School of Economics)


Thursday, 27 June

  • 11:00 – 11:15 Welcome and Introduction
  • 11:15 – 12:00 Jonas Harney (Saarland University)
    Welfare Losses in Variable Population Choices with Multiple Options
  • 12:30 – 13:15 Tomi Francis (Oxford University)
    An Intrapersonal Argument for Totalism
  • 13:15 – 14:15 Lunch break
  • 14:15 – 15:00 Adriano Mannino (UC Berkeley)
    Welfarist Population Ethics and the Future of Humanity
  • 15:30 – 16:15 Jakob Lohmar (Oxford University)
    Against Probability-Discounting when Testing for Relevance
  • 16:45 – 18:15 Joe Horton (University College London)
    Newcomb Problems and Unstable Decisions
  • 19:30 Dinner

Friday, 28 June

  • 10:00 – 10:45 Abelard Podgorski (National University of Singapore)
    Better and Worse Ways Never to Exist
  • 11:15 – 12:00 Alexander Sasha Arridge (Oxford University)
    What We May Claim for Ourselves
  • 12:30 – 13:15 Martin Dimitrov (University of Toronto)
    The Centrality of Pleasure to Well-being
  • 13:15 – 14:15 Lunch break
  • 14:15 – 15:00 Eva Rose Read (London School of Economics)
    Animal Welfare as Holistic Self-Maintenance: Against the Valence Aggregation Model
  • 15:30 – 17:00 Theron Pummer (University of St. Andrews)
    Hypersensitivity: No Vague Escape
  • 19:00 Dinner

The abstracts as well as the schedule can be found here.


The workshop will take place at the Graduate Center (Building C 9.3) at the Campus of Saarland University in Saarbrücken. (View on Maps)

Here, you can find a site map of the campus which indicates the location of the Graduate Center.
Although Saarbrücken is fairly small such that you can walk most distances, the university is located a bit outside of the city. Walking from downtown to the Graduate Center takes at least one hour. You can go there by bus (lines 101, 102, 109, 111, 112, 124). The bus stop “Universität Mensa” is the closest to the Graduate Center. Note, however, that the busses can get quite busy during the day so you better plan with some extra time. Alternatively, you can take a taxi or Uber to get to the campus.

The workshop is organised by Jonas Harney (Saarland University), Thorsten Helfer (Saarland University), and Maximilian Klein (Saarland University), and generously supported by the German Society for Analytic Philosophy (GAP) and the UdS Professorship for Practical Philosophy.

Der Header ist ein Ausschnitt von Hermann Waibels Bild "Lichtfarbe" von 1987. Wir danken Herrn Waibel für die freundliche Erlaubnis, sein Bild zu nutzen.