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University College London (UCL), Law Faculty Events

UCL IHR - Whose Poor?/Who's Poor?: The Significance of Relative Deprivation

UCL Institute for Human Rights

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 6:00 PM (GMT)

UCL IHR - Whose Poor?/Who's Poor?: The Significance of...

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The UCL Institute for Human Rights

Whose Poor / Who's Poor?:
The Significance of Relative Deprivation


19 February 2013
UCL Faculty of Laws, Moot Court
18:00 - 19:30

Professor Judith Lichtenberg (Georgetown University)


Professor John Tasioulas (UCL)


About this event: 
According to one recent estimate, the poorest five percent of Americans are richer than two thirds of the world’s people. But such comparisons can be misleading. Contemporary philosophers have been preoccupied with determining whether we have special moral obligations to members of our own society—for example, our poor compatriots—that we do not have to those outside our society. But they have neglected to ask how to compare the situations of poor people in one society to poor people in another. I argue that for a variety of reasons, well-being is largely relative: how well off you are depends to a great extent on how well off others around you are. This fact has complex implications, which I explore, for our responsibilities for benefiting poor compatriots as opposed to poor people in developing countries.


About the Speaker:
Judith Lichtenberg joined the Georgetown philosophy department in 2007. She previously taught at the University of Maryland at College Park, where she held appointments in the philosophy department and at the university's Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy. Her writing and teaching are in the fields of ethics and political philosophy, with special interests in justice and charity both in the domestic and the international spheres; race and ethnicity; higher education; the mass media; and moral psychology. She has held visiting appointments at Dartmouth, Harvard, Yale, and the University of Melbourne, and in 2006-07 spent her sabbatical at Stanford University's Humanities Center. Her book, Distant Strangers: Ethics, Psychology, and Global Poverty, is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press in 2013.


John Tasioulas joined UCL in January 2011 as the Quain Professor of Jurisprudence. He was previously a Reader in Moral and Legal Philosophy at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He has also taught at the universities of Melbourne and Glasgow and has held visiting research posts at Melbourne and the Australian National University. His research grants include two Research Leave Awards from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (2001 and 2004) and a British Academy Research Development Award (2008-2010) for a monograph-length project on the philosophy of human rights. He is currently a member of the AHRC Peer Review College. He is on the editorial boards of the American Society of International Law Studies in International Legal Theory and the Journal of Applied Philosophy.

Have questions about UCL IHR - Whose Poor?/Who's Poor?: The Significance of Relative Deprivation? Contact UCL Institute for Human Rights
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When & Where

Bentham House
Endsleigh Gardens
WC1H 0EG London
United Kingdom

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 6:00 PM (GMT)

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UCL Institute for Human Rights

The UCL Institute for Human Rights (IHR) was established in 2009 to gather UCL’s cross-departmental expertise in human rights and to encourage enhanced collaboration between academics, practising lawyers, government bodies and NGOs.  The work of the IHR is resolutely multi-disciplinary with research and activities focusing on producing a positive impact through public engagement and an influence on policy makers.

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