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“Responsibility, Occupational Risk, and Epistemic Duties”

10 April 2024 @ 12:00 – 13:15
Room 309, UdeM, hybrid.
2910 Edouard-Montpetit

Paola Ferretti (Goethe University of Frankfurt on Main) will give a lecture titled “Responsibility, Occupational Risk, and Epistemic Duties” in our lunch talk series.

To participate via Zoom, click here.


In response to the growing number of reported work-related accidents, public opinion often favours punitive measures and stricter penalties against managers responsible for decision making about risk. This paper challenges this notion and suggests a broader focus on organizational responsibility as more effective strategy for improving workplace safety. The paper asks what the appropriate moral standards for holding CEOs accountable in cases involving occupational risks are. It explains that the epistemic standards governing acceptable risk-taking should play a central role in assigning responsibility both ex ante (at the moment of taking decisions about risk and precaution) and ex post (in case, for example, some workers are injured). Furthermore, it argues that these standards should be largely shaped by the organization itself and in this sense the responsibility for setting safety standards should be assigned to the organisation’s members in their interrelatedness. Individual failures to adhere to those epistemic standards when making risk-related decisions should be regarded as more morally significant than the underlying motives, such as alleged disregard for the value of human life.