Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Vaccination

In the fall, I contracted COVID and it was the sickest I have been in my life. Not being a member of the ruling class, I had to rely solely on my immune system to get through it. I obviously did not die but seemed to have some lasting effects: persistent fatigue and breathing issues. [More]

Has Technology Changed the Moral Rules Regarding Sex and Marriage?

Did the invention of the pill change the social moral rules about premarital sex?We all face decision problems in our daily lives. We have preferences and we have options. These options come with different ratios of costs and benefits, measured relative to our preferences. If we are broadly rational, we will tend to pick the options in which the benefits outweigh the costs — if not in the short term then at least in the long-term. These preferred options will become our personal norms. But we don’t make decisions in a vacuum. Our choices affect others and others face similar problems to us. If we all face similar decision problems, and we all pick the same options in those problems (or put in place mechanisms to enforce the same options) then those options may end up forming the basis for our social moral norms. This is, in fact, a popular theory for understanding how humans developed social moral norms. Technologies alter our decision problems. When a new technology comes along, it can change our options and the ratio of benefits to costs associated with those options. This can give rise to new preferred choices and hence to new social moral norms. Is it possible to think about the relationship between decision dynamics and social moral change in a more systematic way? That’s the question I try to answer in the remainder of this article. I do so by examining some economic models of human decision problems associated with sex and marriage and some claims made by economists [More]

Assistant Professor - Applied Philosophy. Limited Term

Job List:  Americas Name of institution:  Dalhousie University Town:  Halifax Country:  Canada Job Description:  DEPARTMENT OF PHILOSOPHY DALHOUSIE UNIVERSITY The Department of Philosophy at Dalhousie University invites applications from junior academics for an early-career, 10-month Limited Term Appointment, effective August 1, 2021. This position is subject to budgetary approval. Areas of specialization/competence: Applied [More]

Economic Models of Technology-Induced Social Moral Change

Did the invention of the pill change the social moral rules about premarital sex?We all face decision problems in our daily lives. We have preferences and we have options. These options come with different ratios of costs and benefits, measured relative to our preferences. If we are broadly rational, we will tend to pick the options in which the benefits outweigh the costs — if not in the short term then at least in the long-term. These preferred options will become our personal norms. But we don’t make decisions in a vacuum. Our choices affect others and others face similar problems to us. If we all face similar decision problems, and we all pick the same options in those problems (or put in place mechanisms to enforce the same options) then those options may end up forming the basis for our social moral norms. This is, in fact, a popular theory for understanding how humans developed social moral norms. Technologies alter our decision problems. When a new technology comes along, it can change our options and the ratio of benefits to costs associated with those options. This can give rise to new preferred choices and hence to new social moral norms. Is it possible to think about the relationship between decision dynamics and social moral change in a more systematic way? That’s the question I try to answer in the remainder of this article. I do so by examining some economic models of human decision problems associated with sex and marriage and some claims made by economists [More]