Sep 08 2022


4:00 pm - 5:45 pm


Department of Philosophy

Department of Philosophy

The University of Hong Kong
Lingnan University
National University of Singapore

Zach Barnett
National University of Singapore

Against Risk-Aversion

8 September 2022
4:00-5:45 pm

Zoom Link:


In a choice between saving one person for sure and taking a ¼ chance of saving five, many hold that saving the one can be rationally permissible. This is an example of risk-aversion, a tendency to favor known outcomes over gambles—even when the gambles would maximize expected utility. To respect the rationality of risk-aversion, some have proposed alternative decision theories, which make room for a range of different ways of valuing uncertain options. But close examination of these risk-aversion-permitting views reveals problems. Specifically, permitting risk-aversion turns out to commit us to choices which harm some and help none—a difficult result to accept. The paper will discuss how this argument against risk-aversion differs from existing criticisms, which traditionally appeal to the fact that risk-averse agents are likely to lose out in the long run. The argument developed here does not rely upon this observation and can be presented in the context of a single decision.

For inquiries:
Nathaniel Sharadin


Leave A Comment

Go to Top