Trolley Problems

Philosophical treatments of the Trolley Problem ignore morally significant subtleties.

The Dif

Our topic is the difference variously labeled as that between, on the one hand, “doing” or “causing” or “making” something happen and, on the other, “allowing” or “letting” it happen. Our goal here is to say “What’s the Dif?”

Retributive Ethics

Begin with the principle: It is impermissible to harm others (other things being equal)…

The Good, The Bad and Peter Singer

Singer says that failing to donate money to help suffering from poverty and preventable diseases is as morally bad as standing by as a child drowns. But how bad is that I wonder?

The Retributive Theory of Property

Retributive ethics derives property rights from conventionally agreed to permissions to harm others.

The Retributive Theory of Rights

The theory analyses rights as permissions to harm others.

Self Defense

If we have any rights, we surely have the right to self-defense. And yet self-defense has proven very puzzling to Rights theorists.

The Origins of Property II

Readers of these posts will recognize the parable as a dramatic staging of the Retributive Theory of Property.

Obligations and the Obligatory

What is the connection between our moral rights and duties and what we ought to do? What principles bridge these different forms of moral talk?

Means and Ends

Consider this  principle proposed by Judith Jarvis Thomson in The Realm of Rights.   The Sole-Means Principle for Permissibility: If the only means X has of doing Beta is doing Alpha , then it would be permissible for X to do beta if and only if it would permissible for X to do alpha.   If the Sole Means Principle (SMP)  is correct there are  far reaching consequences

Retributive Ethics in a Nutshell

Retributivist Ethics is rooted in five assumptions…

A Few Short Steps to the Gallows

Beware gentle reader! To pass beyond this point is begin a quick march to a place you would rather not go. Be prepared to make tough choices. Watch your step but try to keep up with the group.