Browsing All Posts filed under »Ethics«

Calgary Woman Gets 18 More Months In Prison (36 Total!) For Killing 2 Children?

January 30, 2014 by

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My initial reaction when reading the headline today was, WHAT!?! (see article here) Meredith Borowiec just killed two babies by putting them in the dumpster (leaving them for dead) and she can walk the streets in 18 months? I think my reaction is telling. To me, this woman ought to get punished with more severity. Why? Because […]

Martha Nussbaum, “What is Anger, and Why Should We Care?”

January 16, 2014 by

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Martha Nussbaum has given a very nice talk on why anger is “of dubious value in both life and the law“, the talk can be found here. Although it seems obvious that anger can be bad for our well-being and is often associated with acts of malice and bad intent (and rightfully so), I do […]

Moral Responsibility and PAP: Can we uphold PAP and advance a “quality of the will” account of moral responsibility?

December 20, 2013 by

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Recently, over at PEA Soup, Heath White blogged about an important question concerning moral responsibility and control. The question was: Does moral responsibility require the ability to do otherwise? PAP (or, the “principle of alternative possibilities) is the principle that says: If S is blameworthy for doing X, S must have been able to do otherwise than […]

Moral Responsibility and Volunteer Soldiers

December 3, 2013 by

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When considering one’s moral responsibility we often take voluntariness into account and with good reason. If one was forced to commit some action against their will we usually claim that they are not morally responsible for what they did. We say this because, all things being equal, they didn’t voluntarily commit the act. Similarly, if […]

Quebec Charter of Values: Separating Our State from Your Religion

November 19, 2013 by

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The Quebec provincial government has recently proposed legislation, referred to as the Quebec Charter of Values, with the primary aim of affirming a commitment to the values of State secularism and religious neutrality.  Initially, I thought the proposal, which includes a number of measures meant to limit the influence religious beliefs and practices have on […]

A Dilemma Concerning Moral Obligation

November 4, 2013 by

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There seems to be a dilemma that has not been addressed much in the literature (a dilemma I have hinted at in the past) that concerns freedom and the deontic appraisals of moral obligation, right, and wrong. The dilemma arises when we combine the hard incompatibilist stance regarding the truth of two doctrines coupled with […]

Should Athletes Be Allowed To Enhance Their Abilities?

August 26, 2013 by

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Why are performance enhancement drugs illegal in sport? In this short post I will grossly generalize three main arguments given in favor of banning substances and practices that allow one to enhance their abilities: (i) arguments from harm, (ii) arguments from integrity of the sport, and (iii) arguments from justice and fairness.  The latest suspensions […]

Edward Snowden: A Modern Day Patriot?

August 10, 2013 by

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On Friday (August 9th), President Obama declared that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is not a ‘Patriot’, that his actions were not patriotic. According to Obama, Snowden is not a Patriot because of the way in which he brought the governments questionable (and anti-american) actions to light. The president said, “My preference, and I think the American peoples’ preferences […]

What’s Wrong With Rolling Stone’s August 3rd Cover? Nothing!

July 18, 2013 by

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The August 3rd Rolling Stone cover which features the face of Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been the subject of public outrage. Considering I was born and raised in Massachusetts my Facebook news feed is likely filled with more criticism of the cover than those not from the area, regardless, I think such outrage […]

Hard Incompatibilism and Ethics: Some Concerns

July 1, 2013 by

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If we think that ethics is supposed to tell us what we ought to do (this is the common understanding of ethics see here), and, if our conception of right and wrong is derived from our sense of moral obligation then the thesis of hard incompatibilism poses a serious threat to any ethical system that incorporates […]

Concussions and Informed Consent

June 10, 2013 by

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My soon to be 10 year old step-son wants to play football. I guess this should not come as a surprise. He has watched me get entertained by the sport for as long as he can remember. I taught him how to throw a football, run a crisp stop and go, and had many discussions […]

Does Blameworthiness Require Wrongdoing?

February 11, 2013 by

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A commonly held presupposition is that a person can be blameworthy only for acts that are considered morally wrong. I’ll refer to this as the ‘blameworthiness requires wrongness’ (BW) principle. Recently, a few philosophers began denying this principle citing cases where it is morally permissible to act in a certain way even though such acts […]

Can Babies Unlock the Origins of Morality? Not So Fast.

November 19, 2012 by

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Recent Psychological studies suggest that babies have an innate moral sense.  On October 18th, CBS aired “The Baby Lab” ( it’s worth the 13 minutes for anyone interested in the Origins of Morality)where they interviewed Psychologists Paul Bloom and Karen Wynn. Both claim that their studies are telling of the “the origins of morality“. This suggests […]

James Holmes: How his case can shed light on discussions of Moral Responsibility.

July 24, 2012 by

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In a recent blog post in Scientific American the author, Larry Geenemeier, suggests that the accused Colorado Shooter was lacking cognitive control and points specifically to one’s cognitive ability in order to try to make sense of the actions in Aurora, Colorado and other recent events by similarly profiled assailants. Though I agree that we […]

Obamacare: Are the Libertarian Oppositions to the SCOTUS decision warranted?

July 10, 2012 by

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By now, nearly everyone with access to this blog knows that SCOTUS has upheld the Obamacare bill. This has caused an uproar with Libertarian folks as well as those who might not call themselves Libertarians but who think gov’t telling them what they must buy is inappropriate. I’ll be discussing the objections levied by the […]

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