Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Abortion, Women & the Right

For years, the right has been passing anti-choice laws in the hope they will end up in the Supreme Court and lead to the overturning of Roe v Wade. Alabama passed such a law. More recently, Texas passed a diabolically clever law crafted to effectively ban abortion . My adopted plague land state of Florida [More]

Race/Gender Swapping: Why Not Just Create New Characters (or focus on old ones)?

In fiction, race/gender swapping occurs when an established character’s race or gender is changed. For example, the original Nick Fury character in Marvel is a white man, but this character was changed to a black man in the Ulimates and in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As another example, the original Dr. Smith in Lost in [More]

Tendentious Terminology in Ethics

Ethical theorists may sometimes engage in "persuasive definition": re-defining an evocative phrase for their own purposes, in a way that their opponent will reasonably regard as inaccurate and unfair.  Two examples that always annoy me are "treating someone as a mere means" and the "separateness of persons".  Opponents of consequentialism all too often trot out these phrases to indicate deep flaws in consequentialism. But it only works for them if they first redefine these terms to mean something that has nothing to do with the literal meaning of treating someone as a mere means or the separateness of persons.  You might as well redefine "terrorist" to denote adherents of the opposing views, and then complain that your opponents are all terrorists.  It's dishonest rhetoric, and ought to be avoided.  In this post, I'll explain my two examples, and why I consider them so misleading.  Others are welcome to comment with other examples -- especially any that you think consequentialists may be guilty of!Treating someone as a mere means (rather than as an end in themselves) would violate the moral datum that each person has final (non-instrumental) value.  That sure would seem a straightforward moral blunder.  But Kantians redefine the phrase to instead mean something like acting upon someone without their consent.  Of course, it's fine to try to argue for the view that acting upon someone without their consent is incompatible with [More]

“Refusing” vs “Declining” the Vaccine

Because of the psychological power of rhetoric, words do matter. As philosophers point out in critical thinking, words have both a denotation (the meaning) and a connotation (the emotions and associations invoked). Words that have the same (or similar) denotation can have very different connotations. For example, “police officer” and “pig” (as slang) have the [More]

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Dr. Robert McKim
  • on Religious Diversity
  • Professor of Religion and Professor of Philosophy
  • Focuses on Philosophy of Religion
  • Ph.D. Yale

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Dr. Alvin Plantinga
  • on Where the Conflict Really Lies
  • Emeritus Professor of Philosophy (UND)
  • Focuses on Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Religion
  • Ph.D. Yale

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Dr. Peter Boghossian
  • on faith as a cognitive sickness
  • Teaches Philosophy at Portland State University (Oregon)
  • Focuses on atheism and critical thinking
  • Has a passion for teaching in prisons
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