Warped Western Intentions

A child with blond hair and blue eyes wears a blue facemask.

Normally, I'm not a philosopher who cares a whole ton about intentions. Yes, they can be important, but by themselves I don't think they are enough to make a good action bad, or a bad action good. This is largely because I believe that we have certain duties that are both moral AND epistemological, to… Continue reading Warped Western Intentions

Ethical Plans, Ethical Choices: Thinking through COVID-19

Dear friends. As you might imagine, today's post is about COVID-19, but I want to assure you that it is also very much not a post about COVID-19. Today's post is about how I think it is largely a mistake to think about ethics as a series of individual actions. The further I go into… Continue reading Ethical Plans, Ethical Choices: Thinking through COVID-19

Without a Basic Income is All Work Exploitative?

Three men in shadow work upon what appears to be a roof. The sky is pink.

In the midst of a myriad of protests, strikes, and political action across Ontario (and Canada more broadly), the provincial Conservative government has been quietly moving to contract out employment services to for-profit companies. This move has been criticized by the NDP as potentially leading companies to place job-seekers, including those on ODSP (disability) into… Continue reading Without a Basic Income is All Work Exploitative?

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