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Expert available to discuss moral implications for reopening economy

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

LAWRENCE — While scientists and economists are debating the health and financial reasons of why the economy should reopen following the COVID-19 pandemic, there is another factor that should also be considered.

Dale Dorsey, the Dean’s Professor and Department of Philosophy chair at the University of Kansas, is available to discuss this significant topic with media.

“A lot of what people miss is that whether and when to reopen is not really a ‘scientific’ question but a moral one. How do we trade off the damage created by a failed economy versus the damage created by a fatal virus?” he said.

His book “The Basic Minimum: A Welfarist Approach” (Cambridge University Press) deals with many of these questions — in particular, how and whether we should be willing to trade preventing deaths for preventing more minor calamities for a lot more people.

“Without serious moral reflection on costs and benefits, we will never be in a position to know whether we should or should not reopen our economy,” he said.

Dorsey earned his doctorate in philosophy at the University of California-San Diego. His research explores ethics, the history of ethics and political philosophy.

To schedule an interview, please contact KU News Service public affairs officer Jon Niccum at jniccum@ku.edu.