1.11. Nicole Hassoun (Binghamton University / HCAS)

Good Enough? The Minimally Good Life Account of What We Owe to Others and What We Can Justifiably Demand as a Basic Minimum

Time: Wednesday 1.11. 14.15-15.45
Place: Metsätalo, room 7, 3rd floor

In the Coronavirus pandemic’s wake and as international conflict and inflation surge, one can almost hear the desperate call for greater social security and stronger safety nets around the world. Existing safety nets in many countries have obvious problems: most reasonable people agree that children should not go hungry and everyone should have access to emergency medical care. But how can we determine what kind of social safety net will suffice? What do we owe to each other, and what can we claim, out of respect for our common humanity? The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and many states’ constitutions embody different answers to this question. The philosophical literature also contains many potential accounts of what this respect requires. I argue that respect for our common humanity requires helping others live minimally good lives when doing so does not entail sacrificing our own ability to live well enough. This, I suggest, provides a unified answer to the question of what we must give to, and can demand from, others as a basic minimum.