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Julia Nefsky
University of Toronto at Scarborough
  1. How You Can Help, Without Making a Difference.Julia Nefsky - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (11):2743-2767.
    There are many cases in which people collectively cause some morally significant outcome (such as a harmful or beneficial outcome) but no individual act seems to make a difference. The problem in such cases is that it seems each person can argue, ‘it makes no difference whether or not I do X, so I have no reason to do it.’ The challenge is to say where this argument goes wrong. My approach begins from the observation that underlying the problem and (...)
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  2. Consequentialism and the Problem of Collective Harm: A Reply to Kagan.Julia Nefsky - 2011 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 39 (4):364-395.
  3. Collective Harm and the Inefficacy Problem.Julia Nefsky - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (4):e12587.
    This paper discusses the inefficacy problem that arises in contexts of “collective harm.‘ These are contexts in which by acting in a certain sort of way, people collectively cause harm, or fail to prevent it, but no individual act of the relevant sort seems to itself make a difference. The inefficacy problem is that if acting in the relevant way won’t make a difference, it’s unclear why it would be wrong. Each individual can argue, “things will be just as bad (...)
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  4. Consumer Choice and Collective Impact.Julia Nefsky - 2018 - In Mark Budolfson, Tyler Doggett & Anne Barnhill (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Food Ethics. New York, USA: Oxford University Press. pp. 267-286.
    Taken collectively, consumer food choices have a major impact on animal lives, human lives, and the environment. But it is far from clear how to move from facts about the power of collective consumer demand to conclusions about what one ought to do as an individual consumer. In particular, even if a large-scale shift in demand away from a certain product (e.g., factory-farmed meat) would prevent grave harms or injustices, it typically does not seem that it will make a difference (...)
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  5. Fairness, Participation, and the Real Problem of Collective Harm.Julia Nefsky - 2015 - Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics 5:245-271.
  6. Extended Agency and the Problem of Diachronic Autonomy.Julia Nefsky & Sergio Tenenbaum - manuscript
    It seems to be a humdrum fact of human agency that we act on intentions or decisions that we have made at an earlier time. At breakfast, you look at the Taco Hut menu online and decide that later today you’ll have one of their avocado burritos for lunch. You’re at your desk and you hear the church bells ring the noon hour. You get up, walk to Taco Hut, and order the burrito as planned. As mundane as this sort (...)
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  7.  39
    A Logical Vacation.Julia Nefsky - 2005 - Philosophy Now 51:7-10.
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    Climate Change and Individual Obligations: A Dilemma for the Expected Utility Approach, and the Need for an Imperfect View.Julia Nefsky - 2021 - In Philosophy and Climate Change. Oxford, UK: pp. 201-221.
    This chapter concerns the nature of our obligations as individuals when it comes to our emissions-producing activities and climate change. The first half of the chapter argues that the popular ‘expected utility’ approach to this question faces a problematic dilemma: either it gives skeptical verdicts, saying that there are no such obligations, or it yields implausibly strong verdicts. The second half of the chapter diagnoses the problem. It is argued that the dilemma arises from a very general feature of the (...)
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  9. Misery Loves Company.Julia Nefsky - forthcoming - In Mark Timmons (ed.), Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics.
    When one is going through a personal hardship, it is often comforting, or emotionally helpful, to hear from someone else who has gone through something similar. This is a common, familiar human phenomenon, but this chapter argues that it is philosophically puzzling. Unless one is in some sort of moment of vice, one would not want the other person to have suffered the hardship, and one should be pained to hear that they have. And yet the phenomenon is that hearing (...)
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