October 22, 2021
Roman Yampolskiy on the dangers of AI
Dr. Roman V. Yampolskiy is a professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the Speed School of Engineering, University of Louisville. He is the founding and current director of the Cyber Security Lab and an author of many books. In this interview, he speaks about the future of AI. (more...)
October 18, 2021
Retributivism and Uncertainty
Why do we punish criminals?
Why do we have a criminal justice system? What could possibly justify the state punishing its citizens? Retributivism is the view that we ought to give offenders the suffering that they deserve for harming others. (more...)
August 23, 2021
August 23: Happy Birthday, #hashtag!
Where would we be without the hashtag?
The symbol #, which we today call the hashtag, has had a profound influence on our culture, from IRC and Twitter to #MeToo. It was invented on August 23, 2007. (more...)
August 16, 2021
Inventing the New World
Can AIs have intellectual property?
For the first time in history, an AI called DABUS has been granted a patent in South Africa. This article analyses the metaphysics of attributing inventions to non-human agents. (more...)
August 6, 2021
Fire in a Bottle
Terrariums, wisdom and the ecological catastrophe
The world is heating up. Philosophy must have a role to play in doing something about it. (more...)
July 14, 2021
The Uncontrollability of AI
The creation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) holds great promise, but with it also comes existential risk. How can we know AI will be safe? How can we know it will not destroy us? How can we know that its values will be aligned with ours? (more...)
July 12, 2021
Seven Reasons to Outlaw Recreational Drugs
The main arguments
Should we legalise recreational drug use? The main arguments against legalising recreational drugs are: 1. The escalation argument. 2. The argument from gateway drugs. 3. The “addiction is dangerous” argument. 4. The argument that the war on drugs is effective. 5. The ethical arguments against taking drugs. 6. There is a moral obligation to take care of one’s own health. 7. Drug users are not free to decide anyway. (more...)
June 7, 2021
Six Reasons to Legalise Recreational Drugs
The main arguments
Should we legalise recreational drug use? The main arguments in favour of legalising recreational drugs are: 1. Legalising or decriminalising recreational drugs will bring in additional tax revenue. 2. Prohibition of drugs causes crime and benefits criminals. 3. Legalising drugs would allow the state to control drug quality and access. 4. Other, legal drugs are more harmful (alcohol, tobacco). 5. In a free society, people should be free to choose themselves if they want to use drugs. 6. Drugs have always been used in human societies. (more...)
March 20, 2021
Can the state force us to get vaccinated?
Vaccination ethics is a surprisingly rich field of philosophical inquiry, and it covers issues from all major moral theories, reaching into world politics, poverty, the role of the state and the morality of taxation and car seat belts. (more...)
Is laziness a human right?
Being lazy, far from being something good, would be, for Aristotle, a total failure of a human being and the best way for someone to make sure that they will never reach true happiness. (more...)
What Is a Fair Share of Life?
The Fair Innings Argument in bioethics
The “Fair Innings Argument” assumes that there is such a thing as a fair share of life. If someone has lived that much, then any additional lifetime is considered a bonus. While if someone still has to reach the limits of their fair share, then they seem to have a stronger claim to additional lifetime. The problem with the argument is that it assumes that the two lives being compared are equal in every other respect. And this is never the case. (more...)
Hannah Arendt on work and being human
Labour, work and action
Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) distinguishes three types of work; Labor, which is work for survival. Work, which creates a product, a “work of art.” And, finally, action, which is creative activity, the making of something new out of the freedom to create for creation’s sake. Action is, therefore, the highest kind of human activity, an expression of fundamental freedom of human beings. (more...)
Is Abortion Ethical?
Judith Jarvis Thomson: A Defense of Abortion
Is abortion ethical? Judith Jarvis Thomson, who died five days ago, created one of the most well-known thought experiments in modern ethics. In her 1971 paper “A Defense of Abortion,” she presents the thought experiment of the unconscious violinist. (more...)
The Ethics of Organ Transplants
Can you kill one to save many?
Are we ever allowed to kill one in order to save many lives? Utilitarianism would look at the overall benefit and conclude that sometimes this might be permissible. Kantian ethics would consider every human life as infinitely valuable, so that we wouldn’t be allowed to “add up” the values of lives. (more...)
Peter Singer's Drowning Child
Are we required to save lives if we can?
Peter Singer’s Drowning Child thought experiment: If, on the way to the office, we saw a child drowning in a pond, would we think that we have to save it? Would it change anything if we were wearing a new suit and if we came late to our business conference because of saving the child? (more...)
The Ethics of Eating Meat
Four moral theories and their views
Eating small quantities of meat that was grown organically in a sustainable way might be morally justifiable. Utilitarianism would consider both animal suffering in the process of meat production and the environmental impact of animal farming. Most ethics theories would agree that large-scale animal farming as it is practiced today is morally wrong. (more...)
October 2: Happy Birthday, Mahatma Gandhi!
Last Friday was the birthday of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, whom they called the Mahatma, the Great Soul. (more...)