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CEPPA Talk – Zofia Stemplowska (Oxford)

April 15 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Title: Distributing Commemorative Attention

Abstract: Some of us get a lot of attention and some of us very little. This continues after we die. Some of our commemorative decisions are private but some of our commemorative attention is public: we are directed by monuments, commemorative plaques and scheduled occasions towards those we should commemorate. Much of the vast literature on commemoration focuses on which figures or events are worthy of commemoration. But knowing if someone or something is worthy of commemoration does not solve the problem of the scarcity of our commemorative attention. When it comes to public commemoration, how to allocate our commemoration between, say, those who achieved great things and those who suffered? I will consider by which standards we should judge whether the overall distribution of commemorative attention is just. I will suggest that we can allocate attention justly by aggregating people’s preferences for remembrance through a two-stage test: the constrained auction test.