Category Ethics

The morality of management

It’s hardy a novel or arresting insight to say positions of power bring with them greater moral responsibilities. It’s Spider-Man’s catchphrase for goodness’ sake. The reason  is obvious: a powerful role means that a person can have a greater influence on more people’s lives. Therefore it is really important to ensure that impact is a […]

Utilitarianism and anti-social preferences

I’ve been troubled this week by Arindrajit Dube’s anecdote about the Nobel-prize winning economist Gary Becker: In case you don’t speak economics, what this means is that Becker thought we can’t say that domestic violence is incontrovertibly a bad thing, because we need to consider the benefits to abusers against the harms to those who […]

What has Jeff Bezos done wrong?

I think it’s fair to say that the response to Jeff Bezos’ recent announcement that he will be donating $2 billion his new charitable fund has been relatively negative, with responses ranging from the snarky to the outraged. So I have been thinking about why he has generated so much hostility, whether it is justified […]

VAR and Virtue

Rebecca Lowe has written a piece arguing against the introduction of video assistant referees (VAR – additional referees who monitor football matches on video, and intervene if they believe the lead referee has made an error) in this year’s World Cup. She claims that the reform undermines sportsmanship by reducing players’ freedom to choose not […]

Should we stop keeping pets?

A recent Guardian article asked the question ‘Should we stop keeping pets?’ Yet instead of a thorough examination of the moral arguments for and against pet ownership, it fell into a crude dichotomy: either pets are property, to be treated by humans however they wish, or they must be emancipated. For a clearer statement of […]

Effective Altruist New Year’s Resolutions

Create all the happiness you are able to create; remove all the misery you are able to remove. Every day will allow you, –will invite you to add something to the pleasure of others, –or to diminish something of their pains. – Jeremy Bentham If I had to sum up the central idea of Effective […]

What Effective Altruists need to answer: how much good is enough?

The growing movement of Effective Altruism has received a spike in attention in recent months with the publication of two long-awaited books on the subject, Peter Singer’s The Most Good You Can Do, and William MacAskill’s Doing Good Better. Both have prompted critical responses, typically rehashing the objections that EAs (Effective Altruists) have heard time […]