Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

DeSantis Death Calculus

Harvard and Yale graduate Ron DeSantis has tripled down on assisting COVID ravage my adopted state of Florida. It is no wonder that liberals often see him as a villainous buffoon and a mini-Trump. This view does have some appeal. Floridians are being infected and dying at ever increasing rates at a time in which [More]

Space Joyrides for the Rich

While the rich have long enjoyed luxury cars, mansions and yachts, the newest luxury item is the spaceship. Musk has the most useful rockets—his SpaceX vessels can put satellites into orbit and reach the International Space Station. While they do have some innovations, they are essential an evolution of existing rockets rather than a revolution. [More]

Pollution: The Ethics of NIMBY

When it comes to pollution, people respond with a cry of NIMBY and let loose the dogs of influence. While there is some debate about its impact, this shows that everyone gets what is obviously true: pollution is unsightly, unpleasant, and unhealthy. Air pollution alone is deadly, killing millions of us each year. As such, [More]

Mandatory Vaccinations

I am vaccinated, I was back teaching in person in the Spring, and most of my regular in person activities are back to normal(ish). So, it is easy for me to forget that a pandemic is still raging. My usual reminders are the news reports on the preventable cases and deaths among the unvaccinated. Because [More]

Chick-fil-A & Donations

Chick-fil-A is best known for its chicken and past antagonism to the LGBTQ+ community.  Most recently, the company became the focus of attention when some Notre Dame students objected to allowing the company to open a restaurant on campus. Notre Dame ultimately decided in favor of Chick-fil-A, noting a change in which organizations it donates [More]

Bias & Medical Devices

It might seem like woke madness to claim that medical devices can be biased. Are there white supremacist stethoscopes? Misogynistic MRI machines? Extremely racist X-Ray machines? Obviously not, medical devices do not have beliefs or ideologies (yet). But they can still be biased in their accuracy and effectiveness. One example of a biased device is [More]

PragerU’s Unintended Tweet of Truth

PragerU, a right-wing propaganda engine masquerading as an educational YouTube channel, attempted to push back on Twitter against arguments advanced by young Americans about racism. In general, getting involved in Twitter battles is a bad idea. To use an AD&D analogy, Twitter fights are often like punching green slime: the more you attack, the more [More]

The Limits of Defective Character Solutions

In some cases, our intuition that an act is "wrong" may be better explained in terms of the action's revealing a defect of character (e.g. standard counterexamples to consequentialism involving the reckless performance of expectably-bad actions that could only prove optimal by unknowable fluke).  But this philosophical maneuver requires care.  A good test for its prima facie viability is to "naturalize" the case so that the outcome results from purely natural causes, without any agential intervention.  We can then ask: is this is an overall undesirable outcome?  If so, then that would -- contra the character strategy -- suffice to provide objective reasons for an agent not to act so as to bring about that bad outcome.  But if not, i.e. if the outcome itself -- absent any agency -- seems unobjectionable, then it's at least prima facie natural to expect that the act of producing that fine outcome should likewise qualify as unobjectionable.  If our intuitions rebel against an agent performing such an act, we may do better to look to the agent, rather than to the act, as being the true source of the problem.With this diagnostic test in mind, Ben Bramble's 'The Defective Character Solution to the Non-Identity Problem' (forthcoming in J Phil) looks problematic.  Ben argues that "the actions in non-identity cases are wrong just when and because they result from, or reflect in those who have performed them, a morally [More]

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