Varieties of Goodness

A Conference at Notre Dame’s London Global Gateway

11-12 May 2015

Varieties of Goodness: Classical and Contemporary Perspectives

Already in antiquity philosophers divided over the question of whether  goodness—to use Aristotle’s phrase—is ‘something universal, common to all good things, and single' (EN 1096a28).  Plato thought so; Aristotle thought not, and issued a series of stinging objections intended to register his dissatisfaction with Plato’s approach.  The division inaugurated in their exchange has never really left philosophy.   In virtually every era, employing a variety of different idioms, philosophers have debated this question, together with a series of consequential issues in axiology and practical reason, concerning: the comparability and commensurability of value; preference and choice in a pluralistic value world; the connection between intellectual value assessment and the will; the additivity of value; organic goodness; and the character of intrinsic and final goods.  This conference puts into discussion with one another participants with expertise in different facets of this ongoing conversation.

The conference is open to all, but space is limited.  Please contact Christopher Shields ( if you wish to take part.  

Conference Participants and Schedule 

11 May

8.45: Welcome

9.00:  Christopher Shields (University Notre Dame): 

  • ‘Commensurability in a Homonymous Value World’

10.30: Coffee Pause

10.45: Graham Oddie (University of Colorado)

  • ‘ Many goods, one Good’

12.15: Graduate Session: Yuuki Ohta (University of Oxford)

  • 'Thick concepts, buck-passing, and what we have reasons for' 

Catered Lunch

14.00: Christoph Fehige (Saarland University)

  • 'One Simple Reason Why We Will Never Have a Satisfactory General Metric of Benevolence'

15.30: Tea/Coffee Pause

15.45: Krister Bykvist (Stockholm University)

  • ‘Better Off and Better For’

18.00:  Conference Dinner, Clos Maggiore, Covent Garden

12 May

9.00:  Rudolf Schüßler (Univesrity of Bayreuth)

  • ‘Choice and the Incommensurability of Goods and Reasons—a Baroque Scholastic Debate’

10.30: Coffee Pause

10.45:  Luc Bovens (LSE)

  • ‘Multi-Value Decision-Making and Social Choice ‘

12.15: Graduate Session: Spencer Case (University of Colorado)

  • 'Normative Pluralism and Convergence Cases' 

Catered Lunch

14.00: Wlodek Rabinowicz (Lund University)

  • ‘Superior Value’

15.30: Tea/Coffee Pause

Graduate/Post-Doctoral Participants:

  • Spencer Case (Univeristy of Colorado at Boulder) 
  • Allison Murphy (University of Notre Dame)
  • Yuuki Ohta (Univerty of Oxford)
  • Daniel Ramöller (Stockholm University)
  • Stephan Schweitzer (Saarland University)
  • David Squires (Univeristy of Notre Dame)
  • Ilona Wüst (University of Konstanz) 

The organisers of this conference express their warm gratitude for support from The College of Arts and Letters, Notre Dame; Notre Dame International; and The Nanovic Institute for European Studies, Notre Dame

© Christopher Shields 2014