Libby Anne on Abortion

Last month Libby Anne’s blog exploded when she posted a long article on how she lost faith in the pro-life movement and became pro-choice all because back when she still believed every zygote was a baby she became convinced that pro-choice policies were the best way to actually minimize the deaths of babies. In this post I round up a number of links to important posts she has written on abortion and contraception this fall. [Read more...]

The Virtue of Steelmanning

One of my new best friends on Facebook, Chana Messinger has written a very good post about the reasons to “steelman” others’ arguments. I had never heard this word before but I love it. It means to figure out even better arguments for your opponents’ positions while arguing with them and to beat those arguments [Read More...]

Melissa Harris-Perry Responds To Richard Mourdock

Melissa Harris-Perry draws on her own experience to explain rape and its consequences to Richard Mourdock. [Read more...]

Fifty Shades of Grey Related to the Ethics of Romanticizing Abusiveness for the Sake of Fantasy

According to Laci Green, the book Fifty Shades of Grey celebrates an abusive relationship rather than healthy BDSM practices. This raises many questions for me about the ethics of art that eroticizes literal abusiveness. Is it bad in itself to enjoy the idea of abusiveness? Is it bad only if it creates, contributes to, or reinforces unhealthy attitudes, whether in oneself or in one’s broader culture? Can we indulge our dark sides at all morally through roleplaying? Can we indulge them even more in art than even through roleplaying? I have lots of questions. I need Your Thoughts. [Read more...]

I’m not against “dirty words”. I’m against degrading words that have malicious intent and functions built into them

Often my posts against using insult words or slurs as part of public debate about ideas are dismissed on the grounds that I am supposedly overly focused on mere words. There are several different complaints. One is that words do not matter but how we use them. There is of course an obvious truth in that statement taken by itself. There is nothing inherently wrong even with a [Read More...]

On Dealing With Trolling, Banning, and Uncomfortable Disagreements

There have been many objections to both the wisdom of my comments policy and my general stand against the use of epithets and incivility and what I see as hasty personal attacks that derail philosophical discussions. I am writing 8 posts to address 8 major objections. I have already written my own summaries of all the objections I [Read More...]

Is Religious Circumcision of Male Infants Morally Defensible?

Last month a court in Cologne, Germany ruled against allowing the circumcision of children too young to give consent. CBS News summarized the facts: a German court ruled that circumcision infringes on a child’s right to be protected from bodily harm. The regional court in Cologne said that circumcision went against the “fundamental right of [Read More...]

How Ethics Is More Like Physics Than Faith

People who use the free speech that they take for granted in free societies to disparage moral philosophy as useless, superfluous, and incapable of progress since it does not function like a natural science are as naive and guilty of practical contradiction as people who use the internet to talk about how science can not attain any genuine truths because it cannot square its own metaphysical foundations or tell us about the meaning of life. [Read more...]

Gender Pay Gap Among Elite Doctors

Just another piece of data to support the notion that implicitly sex discrimination is to blame for disparities between men and women in Western society: The researchers surveyed 800 physicians who had received a highly competitive early career research grant from the National Institutes of Health in 2000-2003. By focusing on these grants, the researchers [Read More...]


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