Public Lecture by Frances Kamm


Thursday, March 28, 2019, 5:00pm to 6:30pm


Wexner 436, Harvard Kennedy School

Title: The Use and Abuse of the Trolley Problem: Self Driving Cars, Medical Treatments, and the Distribution of Harm

Description: Many people besides philosophers have become interested in the Trolley Problem and wondered about its relevance to their own professional concerns. After briefly presenting what are considered standard Trolley Problem cases along with common moral judgments about them, this talk considers conceptual and moral differences between them and other cases common in discussions of medical ethics and self-driving cars. This leads to examination of particular moral issues concerning the role of those who would program cars and the liability to harm of drivers, pedestrians, and passengers.

Frances Kamm is the Henry Rutgers University Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University and Distinguished Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Philosophy there. (She is also Littauer Professor of Philosophy and Public Policy Emerita at Harvard University where she was also a senior fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics.) Her work focuses on normative ethical theory and practical ethics. She is the author of numerous articles and eight books, including Morality, Mortality vols. 1 and 2, Intricate Ethics, Bioethical Prescriptions, and The Trolley Problem Mysteries (the 2013 Tanner Lectures at U. of California, Berkeley). Her new book on death and dying is forthcoming. She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, NEH, centers for ethics at Harvard and Princeton, and Center for Advanced Study at Stanford. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.