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2020 Placement Job Talk – Parisa Moosavi

Thursday January 9, 2020, 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Parisa Moosavi is a postdoctoral fellow in Ethics and Artificial Intelligence in the Philosophy Department at York University. She specializes in ethics and philosophy of biology, with particular interests in neo-Aristotelian ethics, natural teleology, and ethics of artificial intelligence.

Talk Title:

“Natural Goodness without Natural History”


Neo-Aristotelian ethical naturalism purports to show that moral evaluation of human action and character is an of evaluation of natural goodness—a kind of evaluation that applies to living things in virtue of their nature and based on their form of life. The standard neo-Aristotelian view defines natural goodness by way of generic statements describing the natural history, or the ‘characteristic’ life, of a species. In this talk, I argue that this conception of natural goodness commits the neo-Aristotelian view to a problematic anti-individualism that results in the wrong assessment of individuals with uniquely adaptive adjustments. I then offer an alternative account of natural goodness that avoids this problem. Instead of relying on generic statements about a species, my account defines natural goodness based on counterfactual conditionals describing the modal properties of a single individual. I argue that this modal-explanatory account gives a conception of natural goodness that is more intuitively plausible and better suited to capture the diversity and plasticity distinctive of life.



Thursday January 9, 2020
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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Jackman Humanities Building, Room 418
170 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5R 2M8 Canada
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