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Faculty of Biology, Chemistry & Earth Sciences

Chair of Economic Geography – Prof. Dr. Stefan Ouma

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The Ethics of Boycotts? A panel debate with as part of the 2024 Wittgenstein Lecture

Stefan Ouma participates in a panel discussion with world-renowned philosopher Sally Haslanger (MIT) as part of the 2024 Wittgenstein Lecture. Other participants include Daniel Schwartz, Hebrew University Jerusalem; Johanna Thoma, University of Bayreuth; and Gabriel Wollner, University of Bayreuth (chair).

Economic, political, cultural and academic boycotts have a long and varied history. Protesting against the conduct of firms or states, some boycotts have successfully contributed to overcoming grave injustice and ending severe wrongdoing. Other boycotts have gone down in history as morally obnoxious vigilantism if not worse. Going beyond sometimes heated controversy about the adequacy of particular boycotts and their underlying causes, this panel discussion seeks to address some foundational yet underexplored questions about the ethics of boycotts: What exactly are we talking about when talking about boycotts? What, if anything, could in principle justify a boycott? In what sense are boycotts morally problematic? What general questions in ethics and political philosophy does a normative theory of boycotting raise? Is there are anything that such a theory could learn from the history of boycotts?

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