Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Practical Philosophy and Philosophy Education

Johanna Privitera




Research Interests

Normative ethics, applied ethics, political philosophy. Especially: wrongful discrimination, permissibility of risk imposition, interpersonal aggregation

Johanna is a lecturer at Humboldt-Universität. Before that, she was a visiting lecturer at Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen (2019-2021). She holds a PhD (2021) and and M.A. (2015) in Philosophy from Humboldt-Universität and a B.A. (2011) in Philosophy and Political Science from Freie Universität Berlin. She was a visiting researcher/student at the London School of Economics from 09/2016 to 03/2017. at Harvard University from 09/2012 to 05/2013, and at UC Berkeley from 09/2009 to 05/2010. During her B.A. and M.A. she held a scholarship from Evangelisches Studienwerk, her PhD is funded by the German Academic Scholarship Foundation. 

Publication Aggregate Relevant Claims in Rescue Cases?, in: Utilitas, 30 (2), 2018, 228-236.

Contractualism, Risk, and Dependence
XXV. Congress of the German Society for Philosophy (DGPhil), Erlangen/online (07.09.2021)

Contractualism and Risk
Philosophical Research Seminar, KIT, Karlsruhe (12.06.2019)

Ex Ante or Ex Post Contractualism?
Early Carreer Conference in Moral and Political Philosophy, Einstein Ethics Group, Berlin (18.12.2018)

Minimize Ex Ante Claims or Minimize Ex Post Claims? 
10th International Conference of the German Society for Analytic Philosophy (GAP), Cologne (19.09.2018)

Ex Ante Or Ex Post? In Defense of a Partially Aggregative Ex Ante View
13th Conference of the Italian Society for Analytic Philosohy, Novara (07.09.2018)

Ex Ante Or Ex Post? In Defense of a Partially Aggregative Ex Ante View
Moral Decisions Workshop, Emmy-Noether-Gruppe "Knowledge and Decisions", Hamburg (23.06.2018)

Ex Ante or Ex Post? In Defense of a Mixed View
Workshop on Riks and Aggregation in Ethics, LSE/UCL London (02.03.2018)

Certain Harm and the Risk of Harm
Ninth European Conference of Analytic Philosophy, Munich (23.08.2017)

Comment on Johann Frick's "Probabilistic Causation, Moral Responsibility, and the Problem of Aggregate Effects"
Conference "Responding to an Uncertain Future", Graz (22.06.2017)

Generalizability and the Paradox of Risky Actions
Workshop in Practical Philosophy, Saarbrücken (29.01.2017)

Interpersonal Aggregation in Rescue Cases
Humboldt-Universität & King's College London Graduate Workshop, Berlin (12.05.2016)

Schadensrisiken und sichere Schäden [The Risk of Harm and Certain Harm]
GAP Doctoral Workshop on Applied Ethics, Bielefeld (28.04.2016)

How To Account For Our Duties in Rescue Cases
Student Section of the Ninth International Conference of the German Society for Analytic Philosophy (GAP), Osnabrück (17.09.2015)

Interpersonal Aggregation and Lexical Orderings
SOPhiA Conference for Young Analytic Philosophy, Salzburg (02.09.2015)


Entry Level Methods Seminar Global Poverty
Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Fall Term 2019-20

Seminar Three Topics in Ethics: Collective Harm, Discrimination, Moral Luck
Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Fall Term 2019-20

Entry Level Seminar Classical Utilitarianism
Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Spring Term 2019

Seminar Contractualism and the Ethics of Risk
Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Spring Term 2019

Advanced Level Seminar The Ethics of Risk
Humboldt-University, Spring Term 2018, co-thought with Prof. Kirsten Meyer

PhD Project

Certain Harm and the Risk of Harm
My dissertation project deals with the difference between certain harm and harm that comes about as a forseeable consequence of a large number of risky actions. Intuitions regarding these types of harm are in tension: On the one hand, it is prima facie impermissible to inflict certain harm on others. On the other hand, it is well permissible to impose a small risk of harm on others - for example, it is permissible to drive although this exposes pedestrians to the small risk of being involved in an accident. The tension arises because it is almost certain that someone will be harmed if the risky action is performed in large numbers. For example, it is almost certain that at least one pedestrian will be involved in an accident if, over a long period of time, in a city many people drive cars. In my dissertation I discuss why it is permissible to expose others to small risks of harm although under otherwise equal circumstances it would be impermissible to impose certain harm on them.