Category Ethics

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 […]

Christmas and moral proselytising

Christmas and New Year can be a difficult time for those with strong moral views. To begin with, the festive period demands sustained and close interaction with friends and family of different generations, with different lifestyles, and different ways of seeing the world – a combination bound to cause tension. Add to that the fierce […]

Should Academics Brainwash their Students? and Other Professional-Ethical Dilemmas

Related to my discussion a couple of weeks ago of the problems and responsibilities of philosophers engaging with non-academics, you might be interested to look at Simon Caney’s latest article (or, for that matter, the rest of the latest issue of Ethics and International Affairs). Caney’s paper addresses the question of what academics can contribute […]