[Pathways] Climate Change and the Long-Term Future – Winter School

Date:   February 24-25, 2020

Location: Faculty of Philosophy, University of Groningen, Oude Boteringestraat 52, 9712GL Groningen, Netherlands  

More information on website: 

After six successful installments, the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Groningen will host its seventh yearly Winter School, aimed primarily at advanced undergraduate students and early-stage graduate students. The theme of the Winter School this year is Climate Change and the Long-Term Future. It will consist of 6 lecture tutorials where topics related to the theme will be discussed from different disciplinary viewpoints: Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE).


Climate change is among the biggest challenges humanity faces today. How should individuals, societies, and humanity at large respond to climate change and other long-term challenges? Far from being a question for the natural sciences alone, a good answer also requires a 'PPE perspective', that is, a perspective that combines philosophy, politics, and economics. In this winter school, different researchers will take a PPE perspective in exploring climate change and our ethical and political obligations towards future people. The challenge is typically seen as a collective action problem. From this perspective, it calls for an institutional solution that facilitates widespread cooperation among individuals and countries. And it brings up empirical questions, such as what explains people's attitudes and actions towards the environment and future generations and how can those be improved? But it also has an important epistemic dimension. For example, what is a rational response to scientific disagreement and to the risk and uncertainty involved in climate predictions? Finally, the winter school also tackles fundamental normative questions, such as: What are our moral obligations to future people? Do they extend to all future people and, if so, does this imply that our longtermist moral duties trump any short-term concerns? 

Programme (speakers confirmed so far)

Prof Leah Henderson, 'The philosophy of climate science' 

Prof Lisa Herzog, 'Climate Science and Democracy – Considerations from Political Epistemology' 

Dr Simon Friederich, 'Climate change as a collective action problem and the importance of very cheap energy'

Prof Frank Hindriks, 'Sustainable institutions and a duty to join forces' 

Dr. Andreas T. Schmidt, 'Longtermism and our duty towards far-future people'

The winter school is aimed at advanced undergraduate students and early-stage graduate students. It also offers students interested in studying the PPE Master in Groningen an insight into the kinds of teaching and research done at the PPE Centre. 


The Faculty offers up to three scholarships of up to EUR 200 for promising students enrolling in the winter school who express interest in later applying for a Master's programme in Groningen. Moreover, participants who later enrol in a Master's programme at the Faculty of Philosophy for the year 2020/2021 will have their registration fee for the winter school reimbursed. 

To apply for the scholarships, send a short CV (max 2 pages) and a letter (max 1 page) stating your interest in the winter school to winterschoolphilosophy@rug.nl with 'Application for winter school scholarship' as subject. Deadline to apply for the scholarships: January 7, 2020. Preference will be given to members of underrepresented groups. 


To register, send an email with your name, affiliation and status (undergraduate, graduate) to winterschoolphilosophy 'at' rug.nl with 'Registration for winter school' as subject, no later than January 15th 2020. As the number of spots is limited, you are encouraged to register early. Preference will be given to advanced undergraduate students. 

As the number of spots is limited, you are encouraged to register early. Preference will be given to advanced undergraduate students. 

General Information

  • Dates:                                                    February 24-25, 2020 
  • Scholarship application deadline:               January 7, 2020 
  • Registration deadline:                              January 15, 2020 
  • Registration fee:                                      EUR 40, to be paid online 

Further inquiries can be directed to winterschoolphilosophy@rug.nl

Hana Barkowitz

Marketing/Research Officer
Faculty of Philosophy
University of Groningen