Why I’m not quite a consequentialist (a reply to Scott)

fat man

Via this post, Scott Alexander has alerted me to the fact that he’s not only the author of a non-libertarian FAQ, but also the author of a consequentialist FAQ. I can’t believe I wasn’t aware of it before, but now I’m going to write a response. Let me start by saying that I agree with [Read More...]

Ethicists who matter

Peter Singer

If I ever become a philosophy professor, there’s a good chance that at some point I will have to teach a class on ethics, because classes on ethics are in much higher demand than classes on most other areas of philosophy. And if I do that, I think I might seriously consider seeing if I [Read More...]

Semi-consequentialism

This is a brief “throwing an idea out there” post: I’d like to coin the term “semi-consequentialism,” for the view that the consequences of our actions on people’s well-being is of central moral importance, without being committed to the theses often associated with consequentialism that (1) maximizing well-being is obligatory or even that (2) it’s [Read More...]

On who I voted for, the liberal democratic tradition, and words for bad things

(Alternative title: “Philosophical-political blog post that attempts to combine three blog posts into one.” It’s funny if you get the reference to Spinoza’s Treatise.) [Read more...]

Yes, smart and well-informed people often use words in confused ways

One comment on my recent post on deontology was to express incredulity that a term so many philosophers apply to themselves could lack a coherent definition. I, on the other hand, think that’s the most plausible thing in the world, and I’ve stumbled across a good example of it while doing my research for the [Read More...]

“Deontology” and why our jargon for ethical theories is a mess

I keep meaning to reply to Yvain’s reply to my recent post on abortion, but there’s one preliminary I need to get out of the way first: Yvain asks if I’m  “a deontologist (ie you believe things are wrong not because of their consequences, but because they fit into predetermined Categories of Wrong Things).” [Read more...]


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