Philosophy of Risk 2023

The Dutch Research School of Philosophy (OZSW), the 4TU Center for Ethics and Technology and Eindhoven University of Technology invite PhD candidates in philosophy to register for the course Philosophy of Risk to take place in Fall 2023.


Organizing university

Eindhoven University of Technology


The intended dates for the course are 30 October-3 November.


Eindhoven University of Technology

Type of activity

5-day intensive seminar

Primary target group

PhD candidates

If places available, also open to

2nd year ReMa students. Registration is open. See below.

Application/registration deadline

The deadline for registration is October 1, 2023.

About the topic

Moral philosophy before the mid-Twentieth Century developed under the implicit assumption that outcomes could be treated as determinate. Risks and probabilities, when mentioned, were treated as a side issue. By contrast, our current understanding of agency and causation is probabilistic and uncertain. Ethical discussion has intensified around the causes of risk, such as technology and medical interventions. Moral philosophy and applied ethics have developed new concepts and tools in response, such as expected utility theory and ethical technology assessment. In addition, there is significant attention to the disruptive normative uncertainties surrounding fast-paced societal and technological change. This is an exciting area of philosophical and interdisciplinary research.

This course starts with some basic distinctions and key concepts within the philosophy of risk. It then considers the question of ethical risk acceptability, risk-impositions, and normative uncertainties. We will investigate how and whether existing moral theories are adequate for this evaluation. 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 participate. The course will also have a professional development component about writing for peer-reviewed journals.

Aim / objective

After taking the seminar, students will 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, and how ethical theories can be adapted or expanded to deal with risk and uncertainty. They will 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 by 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. Students are expected to spend time reading the assigned articles before the seminar begins.


Kritika Maheshwari (organizer, TU Delft)
Philip J. Nickel (organizer, TU Eindhoven)

Patrick Brown (UvA)
Lisa Hecht (TU Dresden)
Yogi Hendlin (Erasmus/ UCSF)
Sven Nyholm (LMU Munich)
Sabine Roeser (TU Delft)
Tom Rowe (Kings)
Orri Stefansson (Stockholm)
Behnam Taëbi (TU Delft)
Lucie White (Utrecht)

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. A presentation is optional.

Last updated on March 6, 2023.

Certificate / credit points

For this course participants can earn a certificate after successful completion. Please note, however, that 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. For more info please see The study load for this activity is: 5 ECTS


The course is free for:

  • PhD candidates who are a member of the 4TU.Ethics graduate school;
  • PhD candidates who are a member of the OZSW;
  • MSc students enrolled in the PSTS master of the University of Twente;
  • Research Master students who are a member of the OZSW.
  • Members of another research school in Humanities (LOGOS)

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

How to apply / register

Please click here to register for the course.

If registration has been closed because the maximum amount of participants has been reached, you can submit your name to the waiting list by sending an email to Please also indicate whether you are a ReMa student or PhD candidate and whether you are a member of the OZSW or not.


Cancellation and registration policy


Philip J. Nickel, Philosophy & Ethics, Eindhoven University of Technology, Kritika Maheshwari, TU Delft,