Over the past few years, I’ve become aware of some interesting ethical dilemmas for editors and referees. I present five such dilemmas below: D1-D5.Some of these are ethical dilemmas that I’ve had to deal with as a moral agent. Others are ethical dilemmas that I, being the relevant moral patient, wish others had been more conscious of. And one of these is just a hypothetical case, at least, as far as I know. I’ve changed the names to protect both the innocent and the guilty.
I would be interested in hearing what others think would be the appropriate action to take in these cases. Also, if others have encountered other related dilemmas not mentioned here, please feel free to share them in the comments.
Broadly construed, a theory is consequentialist (or teleological, if you prefer) iff it takes the deontic status of an action to be solely a function of some transitive ordering of outcomes in terms of their goodness or desirability.Now what I want to ask is: Can a consequentialist appeal to his or her considered moral convictions when determining how outcomes are to be ordered?That is, can a consequentialist defend one ordering over another on the basis that the former but not the latter yields intuitive moral verdicts when combined with the principle “an act is permissible iff no other available outcome ranks higher than its outcome”? I use to think that the answers to such questions were obviously "no" and “no,” but a comment made by Campbell Brown on my previous post has made me rethink my position.
A number of ethical theorists in southern California (myself included) have recently convened a reading group to consider Derek Parfit's unpublished manuscript Climbing the Mountain. The book appears to defend a normative ethical theory that borrows elements of contractualism (in the Scanlonian reasonable rejectability vein), consequentialism, and Kantianism. I don't want to spill many beans, since the book is unpublished, but in his second chapter, Parfit presents some intruiguing ideas about Kant's Formula of Humanity.
Olle Blomberg has compiled this fine bibliography on cognitive science and ethics. It's very thorough, with many papers available online. It seems Olle can no longer keep this bibliography current all by himself, so please e-mail him with suggestions for additional entries.
I’ve been meaning to post this question for a while, but kept thinking that I ought to do some proper research on the topic.Fortunately, I’ve now given up on that thought.
So here’s the source of the question.I keep finding authors that seem to understand ‘right’ in very different ways; so much so that I wonder if there really is any shared concept here at all.
I think ‘right’ is most commonly treated as meaning something like permissible, so that an action is right iff it is permissible.But there are at least some instances where this leads to statements that seem quite strange in ordinary language.Suppose you choose to have a sesame seed bagel rather than a poppy seed bagel for breakfast.What you’ve done is presumably permissible, but it seems a stretch to say “You did a right thing by having a sesame seed bagel this morning”.Or imagine you’re not a baseball fan, but have been dragged to a game by friends.You catch a homerun ball.There is a boy nearby who obviously loves the game, and is a great fan of the player who hit the homerun.Still, you decide to keep the ball for yourself (though it means nothing to you) rather than giving it to this boy.I think we could say that your actions are permissible, but would we really want to say that it was a right thing that you kept the ball?
Thomas Nadelhoffer has drawn my attention to an exciting event, the first On-Line Philosophy Conference. The conference is being held in April, and the list of invited speakers is impressive. Among the prominent ethics types are John Martin Fischer, Alfred Mele, Julia Driver, Anthony Duff, Thomas Hurka, Joshua Gert, and Elizabeth Harman. The format is intriguing: Once published on the On-Line Philosophy Blog, each paper will be followed by commentaries from other philosophers, with comments then thrown open to other philosophers and to the general public. The organizers are also seeking graduate students and junior scholars to submit papers and commentaries (deadline mid-January). This looks like a nice addition to the intellectual landscape, and I'm sure the PEA Brains will make their presence felt in the comments section come April!