What Humans Need: Designing Ethical Systems

A wooden hammer is poised to smash a brown egg sitting in a white egg cup. The objects are against a plain black background.

Philosophy at its base cannot emerge from nothing, nor can ethics. Every ethical system is based on some particular understanding of what is most important about the world, and in particular, about humans. They all implicitly have some underlying value that guides the theory as it is built up. For example, Utilitarianism takes its basic important… Continue reading What Humans Need: Designing Ethical Systems

The Ethics of Hating Boomers

A young blonde girl wearing glasses, jeans, and a striped t-shirt, holds a sign in a protest saying "We don't have time", with the planet represented on her sign as a clock.

This post is inspired by a question I got a while back, and it goes like this: "What is the ethics of wanting a whole generation to leave so we can fix the planet?" Obviously, it calls into question generational tensions around consumption and desert, as well as acknowledging the real and pervasive anxiety that… Continue reading The Ethics of Hating Boomers

The Ethics of Naming Diseases

Six vials filled with blue liquid are in a stand holding them up.

Amongst all the news that is swirling around the coronavirus, a clear trend of racism has emerged, despite best efforts to halt it. Unfortunately, despite best efforts to stick to simply the name "coronavirus" or 2019-nCov, and despite the fact that it is less deadly than the common flu,  it has been irrevocably associated with… Continue reading The Ethics of Naming Diseases

Nudging and Social Media

A white hand holds a phone with icons illuminated for the following social media networks: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Pintrest, Tumblr, LinkedIN, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger.

In the past, I've talked about "Nudging" and how it relates to paternalism. As a brief rundown, "nudging" (or libertarian paternalism)  is the idea that we can change people's behaviors using "choice architecture" and other psychological tricks to do what we want them to do. In public health, this might look like making healthier choices… Continue reading Nudging and Social Media

Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID): A Primer

A human skeleton from the skull down to the shoulders.

Given the current conversation around physician-assisted-suicide, aka. Medical Assistance in Dying, aka. MAID, in light of this survey promoted by the federal government, I though that as my first Moral Guillotines of 2020 that I would give a little overview on MAID in the Canadian context, and some of the upcoming issues. What is MAID?… Continue reading Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID): A Primer

On Equality and Equity

Two pictures are side by side, in one, a tall person, a person of medium height, and a short person all stand on one box each to watch a baseball game. In the second, the tall person has no box, the person of medium height has one box and the short person has two boxes, enabling all of them to see over the fence.

Welcome to the final Moral Guillotine of the decade! I will be taking some time off in December and the beginning of January to rest & refresh (but I'll still be taking blog post suggestions during this time if you come across some especially sticky moral debate during the holiday season). Today, I want to… Continue reading On Equality and Equity

Good Things for Bad People

A question that has been coming up a lot in Moral Guillotines requests in various forms these days can boiled down to: when do we have to do good things for bad people? If we ourselves are good people, what are the limits we are allowed to place on our goodness, especially when others take… Continue reading Good Things for Bad People

Sanctions, Social Media, and the Workplace

A person holds a cellphone with many small images on it in front of a computer

As a person who grew up in the burgeoning age of the internet (no, I do not remember AOL, yes, I do remember dial-up and MSN Messenger), I can't remember a point in my life when I wasn't told that the internet was forever. I knew from the moment I got Facebook at 12 (of… Continue reading Sanctions, Social Media, and the Workplace

AI Bias in Healthcare

A man in a doctor's coat and a man in a business suit stand in front of a window. Both are looking at a third party who is off screen.

I've talked about AI Ethics in the past- about how AI is not unbaised, but rather takes our biases and amplifies them, because AI and ML (Machine Learning) algorithms must be programmed in the first place. They centralize decision making, and create "black boxes" that are often unparseable to their users. Even proliferation of bias in… Continue reading AI Bias in Healthcare

Microaggressions by the Marginalized

A man and woman argue in a park. The man is angry, the woman seems incredulous. Both are using their hands to express their conflict.

I've written in the past about microaggressions and the types of collective responsibilities they entail. These last few semesters, I've been able to take what I did in that previous blog post and really dig into the philosophy of these things and understand how social epistemologists and ethicists think about microaggressions. One of the really… Continue reading Microaggressions by the Marginalized