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2016-2017 PPEL Speaker Series

The PPEL Program sponsors a speakers series that brings visitors from the disciplines of philosophy, politics, economics, and law to campus to share their work on normative questions of public policy, law, and social order.

Fall 2016

Benefit-Cost Analysis of Environmental Regulations: The Critical Role and Controversy of Valuing Lives Saved
Dr. Laura Taylor, Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for Environmental and Resource Economic Policy, North Carolina State University 
Thurs., Oct. 6, 2016, 5:00 p.m. 
Jepson 118

Dr. Taylor's research focuses on valuing natural assets, land use, and water resource policy. 

Moral Artificial Intelligence 
Dr. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Chauncey Stillman Professor of Practical Ethics in the Department of Philosophy and the Kenan Institute for Ethics, Duke University
Tues., Oct. 18, 2016, 4:30 p.m.
THC 305

Artificial intelligence (AI) is beginning to be used in many areas—such as autonomous cars and weapons as well as distribution of kidneys for transplantation—that affect life and death. Is it immoral to leave such decisions to machines? Will computers make morally better decisions than humans do? Can AI improve human moral judgments? Will AI systems or robots act in immoral or destructive ways? This talk will address these questions by proposing a bottom-up method of programming morality into artificial intelligence. This method is supposed to reduce the dangers of other methods of building moral artificial intelligence.

Modeling Non-Human Value in Climate Policymaking
Dr. Avram Hiller, Associate Professor in the Philosophy Department, Portland State University 
Thurs., Nov. 3, 2016, 4:30 p.m.
Jepson 120

Climate change is already transforming the Earth's natural environment. However, quantitative models used by climate policymakers typically measure environmental damages only to the extent that they are ultimately harmful to humans. This talk proposes that we also try to measure climate change’s intrinsic impacts on nature and gives a framework for how to proceed.

A Tale of Two Develpment Models: Transforming Indigenous Communities
Ben Blevins and Guadalupe Ramirez, Co-Founders, Highland Support Project
Mon., Nov. 7, 2016, 4:00 p.m.
Weinstein Hall, Brown Alley Room

PPEL Dinner
Tues., Nov. 15, 2016, 5:30 p.m.
Richmond Room

For additional exciting speaker series opportunities, visit the Philosophy Department webpage