As part of our weekly Speaker Series, the Department of Philosophy invites you to join us in welcoming Dr. Lisa Herzog (University of Groningen). Links for all Department of Philosophy Speaker Series talks are distributed through an email distribution list. If you would like to be added to this list, and hence to receive regular email notifications and reminders about Philosophy talks, please email the Philosophy Department office (email@example.com). If you would like to attend just this one talk, you may also email the philosophy office (same email address) to request a meeting link.
*Please note, this talk will start at 1:30 pm ET rather than our usual 3:30 pm start.
Talk title: “Bodies at Work”
Abstract: This paper asks how to think about the question of “where to work” from a normative perspective. As the Corona pandemic has shown, far more jobs than was previously assumed can be done from anywhere, which often means “from home.” It has led to questions of whether employees should have a “right to home office” and how to think about the future of “the workplace” more broadly speaking. In this talk, I try to analyze the nature of the problem and draw some first normative conclusions. I argue that we need to understand the problem against the background of structurally unjust societies (in particular with regard to care work and the affordability of housing), with an imbalance of power between employers and employees as the standard case, with employees having diverse preferences about where to work, and taking into account the role of critical-mass-effects and social norms. In terms of normative criteria, I suggest well-being and protection of harm (which often favors home office), autonomy (which sometimes does, sometimes not), non-discrimination (which might not), and the role of workplaces as public spaces (which at least raises questions about alternative public spaces). These criteria can be at odds with each other, with the concrete problems taking the shape of either coordination problems or collective action problems. I argue for the need for proceduralization and procedural justice in the former case, and political deliberation and decision in the latter.