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22 May: Faculteitskamer OTM, 16:00 - 17:30 | Philosophy and Public Affairs with Dr. Romy Eskens (UU) | Commentator: TBA
Event details of “Offensive Advice” (co-authored with Jonas Haeg)
22 May 2024

Bio. Romy Eskens is an Assistant Professor at the Ethics Institute of Utrecht University. Before starting in Utrecht, she was a postdoctoral researcher in philosophy at Stockholm University, where she also earned her PhD. Her research is primarily in moral philosophy, and secondarily in social/political philosophy and moral psychology. She currently writes about the ethics of mind, personal relationships, moral address, reactive attitudes, harming and rescuing, and moral equality and partiality

Abstract. It’s often permissible, or even required, to warn others about possible dangers and advise them about how to avoid these. Think of, for instance, warning signs along hiking trails, travel advice about countries in conflict, and general health guidance. However, advice about avoiding dangers sometimes seems morally offensive, even when it’s factually good advice. For example, many think it offensive to advise women not to walk home alone at night, or to refrain from wearing certain clothes, in order to reduce the risk of being sexually assaulted. This is so even if the suggested strategies indeed reduce the risk. Our question is: what is it that makes danger-related advice of this kind, but not the earlier ‘good’ kind, morally offensive? We consider and reject several possible answers – for example, that it’s the danger’s wrongful status or a misallocation of responsibility – and then develop and defend our own. According to our answer, factually good advice is morally offensive if and because the speaker lacks the appropriate evaluative commitments.