Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

When Killing is Worse than Letting Die

Consider two plausible ethical claims: (1) It's much worse to kill someone for money than it is to refrain from saving a life due to the monetary cost. (2) There's no intrinsic or fundamental significance to the distinctions between doing and allowing, killing vs letting die, etc. (It's notoriously difficult to give a sound metaphysical account of these distinctions that seems to be getting at anything fundamentally important, after all.) Together, these points suggest that we should want to account for such distinctions having a kind of indirect significance -- say, by typically correlating with something else that has intrinsic significance.What might that "something else" be?  One striking thing about the ill-doer (in contrast to the ill-allower) is that their presence makes things worse than if they hadn't been there at all.  I don't think that necessarily makes any difference from the agent's perspective (they have just as strong a reason to prevent bad outcomes as they do to refrain from causing bad outcomes; there's no reason for them to privilege the status quo in their deliberations).  But it may make a difference to how others should regard the agent.  It could make sense for others to fear the ill-doer, for example, whereas there's typically no reason to fear an ill-allower who makes no difference to the situation. (Exceptions arise in "pre-emption" cases where a malicious ill-allower is ready & willing to do [More]

Is it right to use intuition as evidence?

Dr. Smith is a wartime medic. Five injured soldiers are in critical need of organ transplants: one needs a heart, two need kidneys, and two need lungs. A sixth soldier has come in complaining of a toothache. Reasoning that it’s better that five people should live than one, Smith knocks out the sixth soldier with […] The post Is it right to use intuition as evidence? appeared first on OUPblog.         Related StoriesWhat makes arrogant people so angry?When the movie is not like the book: faithfulness in adaptationsCelebrating notable women in philosophy: Philippa [More]

Diversity & Freedom

In the early days of higher education, most universities were largely the domain of white males. There were, of course, some black schools and women’s colleges. Through concerted efforts, campuses have become more inclusive—though there are still clearly issues in access to higher education. This opening of the campuses has generally been regarded as a [More]

Political Survey of the Academy

If all goes as planned by the Republicans who control the government, my adopted state of Florida will require an annual survey of the political beliefs of students at faculty at public universities. This survey is not occurring in isolation. Trump recently signed an executive order aimed at enforcing “free inquiry” on campus and complaints [More]

Free Speech Executive Order I: Conservative Arguments

President Trump recently signed an executive order directing federal agencies to link funding for higher education to how universities enforce “free inquiry” on campus. This order was motivated by the claim that professors have endeavored to prevent conservatives from challenging the ideology of the far-left. At this time, the details of how the order will [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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