Department of Philosophy

The Joint Faculties of Humanities and Theology | Lund University

Wlodek Rabinowicz Symposium

A symposium in honor of Wlodek Rabinowicz April 25th 2014

Unlikely as it might seem, Wlodek Rabinowicz formally retires from his Chair in Practical Philosophy in 2014. To honor Wlodek and his work, the Department of Philosophy is hosting a one day symposium Friday April 25th in Kungshuset, Lund.


9.00-10.00 Gustaf Arrhenius, Stockholm University: "The Person Affecting Restriction and the Affirmative Answer to the Existential Question"1

10.30-11.30 Luc Bovens, LSE, London: “The Meaning of ‘Darn It!’” (joint work with Wlodek)

11.30-12.30 John Broome, Oxford University: "General and Personal Good"2

14.00-15.00 Ulrike Heuer, University of Leeds: "The Wrong Kind of Reasons
Problem and Reasons to Intend"

15.00-16.00 Christian List, LSE, London: "Reason-based Rationalization" (joint work with Franz Dietrich)3

16.30-17.30 Kevin Mulligan, Université de Genève: "Truth - Its Nature, Ground and Origin"

All are welcome!

For more information, contact the organizersBjörn, Dan, Toni


1 The Person Affecting Restriction, put as a slogan, states that one outcome can only be better than another if it is better for someone.  The existential question concerns whether existence can be better or worse for a person than non-existence. The affirmative answer to this question claims that existence can be better or worse than non-existence for a person, a position that, among others, Wlodek and I have defended. In this paper, I shall discuss the implications of the restriction and the affirmative answer to the existential question for population ethics.  Hence, the paper is an investigation into what one could call “analytical existentialism”.

2 Wlodek has contributed to the exploration of the relation between general good and the good of individual people. This paper surveys what has been discovered (and how much has been forgotten).

3 “Reason-based rationalizations” explain an agent's choices by specifying which properties of the options or choice context he/she cares about (the “motivationally salient properties”) and how he/she cares about these properties (the “fundamental preference relation”). We characterize the choice-behavioural implications of reason-based rationalizability and identify two kinds of context-dependent motivation in a reason-based agent: he/she may (i) care about different properties in different contexts and (ii) care not only about properties of the options, but also about properties relating to the context. Reason-based rationalizations can explain non-classical choice behaviour, including boundedly rational and sophisticated rational behaviour, and predict choices in unobserved contexts, an issue neglected in standard choice theory. The paper is available at: