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Why Are Hard Choices Hard?

Why Are Hard Choices Hard?

April 14, 2017 -
1:15pm to 3:00pm
Encina Hall West, Room 400 (GSL)
Event Speaker: 
Ruth Chang, Professor of Philosophy, Rutgers

Why are some choices hard? I discuss and criticize three common answers and then make a proposal of my own. Paradigmatic hard choices are not hard because of our ignorance, the incommensurability of values, or the incomparability of the alternatives. They are hard because the alternatives are on a par; they are comparable, but neither is better than the other and nor are they equally good. So understood, hard choices open up a new way of thinking about what it is to be a rational agent. 


Chang is professor of philosophy at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ. She has been a visiting professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, and at the University of Chicago Law School. She has a PhD from Balliol College, Oxford University, and a JD from Harvard Law School. Her work has been the subject of interviews by various media outlets in the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, Italy, Israel, Brazil, New Zealand, and Austria, and she has been a consultant or lecturer for institutions and industries ranging from video gaming to pharmaceuticals to the US Navy and the World Bank. In 2016–17, Chang is a Berggruen fellow at CASBS.