Susanne Burri

Dr. phil, Juniorprofessorin, Professur für Praktische Philosophie unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der politischen Philosophie und der Sozialphilosophie

My main research interests lie in normative ethics and the philosophy of death. In normative ethics, I have so far been interested primarily in establishing the circumstances under which it can be morally permissible to inflict serious harm on another human being. In my more peaceful moods, I am inclined towards pacifism, and I take seriously the possibility that it might never be morally appropriate to maim or kill another human being. At the same time, when I think about injustice, I find it hard to resist retributivism. Surely those who threaten to harm innocent others, or have already harmed them, cannot claim for themselves that we must not, in turn, harm them! As my intuitions are quite unstable, I find it highly rewarding to investigate relevant topics philosophically. With respect to the philosophy of death, I aim to develop a better understanding of the attitude that we should have towards our own death and our mortality. Is it, for example, always bad for us to die if it would have been good to go on living? If it is bad to die, might there be a sense in which it is infinitely bad to die? What is the relationship between the badness of death and the wrongness of killing?

I am interested also in moral decision-making under risk and uncertainty. My working hypothesis is that we cannot – or at the very least should not – rely in our conceptualization of such decision-making on the idea of a quantified risk that a particular individual imposes if she chooses to engage in some activity. More recently, I have started to think about the role of partiality in morality, as well.