Philosophy of Risk 2021

logo TU EindhovenThe Dutch Research School of Philosophy (OZSW) and Eindhoven University of Technology invite PhD candidates and Research Master students in philosophy to register for the course Philosophy of Risk to take place from 1 – 5 November 2021.

Organizing university

Eindhoven University of Technology


1-5 November 2021


Eindhoven University of Technology. Please note that the first and last day of the course will be offered online, and that there may be facilities available for hybrid participation.

Type of activity

5-day seminar course (digital and in-person)

Type of activity

For this activity PhD students and ReMa students can – after successful completion – earn a certificate. However, the OZSW is not accredited to reward students with credits/ECTS directly. The study load is mentioned on the certificate, which can usually be exchanged for ‘real’ credits (ECTS) at your home university. More information. The study load for this activity is as follows: 5 EC

Primary target group

PhD candidates

If places available, also open to

2nd year Research Master students

Application/registration deadline

1 October, 2021

About the topic

Actions, policies, and new technologies often pose risks. Risk is an important topic for practical philosophy in general, and applied ethics in particular. For example, it is a central concept used by those who design and regulate technology to evaluate its impact. It is a central concept with respect to health and medicine, as well as in public policymaking. The identification, assessment, evaluation, distribution, and management of risk also form an interdisciplinary domain of increasing importance and presence in the academic world. Risk is an area where philosophical reflection and ethical theorizing can make important contributions. But what are the best ways to think about risk in our ethical theorizing within the different domains where there are prominent risks involved? That is the guiding question of this course.

This course starts with the basic distinctions and key concepts within the philosophy of risk. It then considers the question of how to evaluate risks and risk-impositions. In relation to this, we will investigate how and whether the standard moral theories can adequately deal with the ethical dimensions of risks and risk-impositions. Having discussed risk in more general terms, we then turn to more specific domains where the concept of risk is important, such as the ethics of technology, bioethics, and environmental ethics. Which exact topics we will cover will depend on what guest lecturers will come and visit us. But topics are very likely to include freedom and risk, the ethics of uncertainty, and the risks associated with developing neurotechnologies. The course will also have a professional development component about writing for peer-reviewed journals.

Aim / objective

After having taken the seminar, students should be familiar with the most important concepts, distinctions, and normative principles in the philosophical literature on risk (as well as their application in some of the key sub-domains of risk research). For example, students will be familiar with different definitions of risk and uncertainty, the precautionary principle, the concept of trust, and different theories of risk management. They should be able to formulate good objections and replies to major philosophical viewpoints about risk.


The seminar will take place over the course of one week, with morning and afternoon sessions devoted to different aspects of the topic. There will presentations by the course coordinator and a number of guest lecturers. There will also be student presentations, discussions of all the topics covered, and joint analysis of the course literature.


Philip Nickel (TU/e)

Sven Nyholm (Utrecht)

Christian Tarsney (University of Oxford)

Kritika Maheshwari (Groningen)

Sabine Roeser (TU Delft)

Behnam Taebi (TU Delft)

Required preparations

The participants are expected to read all the assigned literature, to do assignments, to actively participate in the discussions and to write a paper at the end of the course.

Certificate / credit points

5 EC


The course is free for:

  • PhD candidates who are a member of the OZSW;
  • Research Master students who are a member of the OZSW;
  • PhD candidates who are a member of the 4TU.Ethics graduate school;
  • MSc students enrolled in the PSTS master of the University of Twente;

Other participants pay a tuition fee of 300 euro for the course. Participants from abroad are welcome, but are themselves responsible for arranging their travel and accommodation.

How to apply / register

Please use the official form below to register by 1 October 2021.

Registration/application form

Register for the course through this form


Cancellation and registration policy


Philip J. Nickel, Department of Philosophy and Ethics, Eindhoven University of Technology

Contact info

For information about the content of the course, please contact