Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Practical Philosophy and Philosophy Education

Johanna Privitera

Johanna will be on leave from March 3rd until July 28th, 2024.




johanna.privitera /at/

Unter den Linden 6, Raum 3013

+49 30 2093 70474

Mailing Address:
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Institut für Philosophie
Unter den Linden 6
D-10099 Berlin


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 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 was funded by the German Academic Scholarship Foundation. 

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

A paper arguing that contractualism can uphold its nonaggregative commitment in the ethics of risk, if it better appreciates the potential of the ex post view. 

A paper on how much generality and how much specificity contractualist principles should allow for. 

A paper arguing that dependent and independent Risks should figure in moral reasoning in different ways.


Can Contractualism Account for Statistical Lives? 
MANCEPT Imposing Risk Workshop, Manchester (scheduled 08.09.2022)

Contractualism, Demaningness, and Everyday Risks
GAP.11 Kongress, Berlin (scheduled 15.09.2022)

Can Contractualism Account for Statistical Lives? 
IX. Tagung für Praktische Philosophie, Salzburg (scheduled 29./30.09.2022)

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)

Recent Teaching

Morality and Art
graduate seminar, fall 2022-23

Ethics of New Technologies
undergraduate seminar, fall 2022-23

Wrongful Discrimination
graduate seminar, spring 2022

Justice and Equality 
undergraduate seminar, spring 2022

PhD Project
(submitted 2021)

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.