Ethics


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Beauty and aesthetics Bioethics Comparative philosophy Cosmopolitanism Death Ethics History of ideas Knowledge Logic and probability Meaning and the good life Metaphysics Philosophy of language Philosophy of mind Philosophy of religion Philosophy of science Political philosophy Thinkers and theories Values and beliefs Virtues and vices

An Ashokan pillar at Vaishali, India. Photo by Rajeez Kumar/Wikipedia

Essay/
The ancient world
Ashoka’s moral empire

Being good is hard. How an ancient Indian emperor, horrified by the cruelty of war, created an infrastructure of goodness

Sonam Kachru

From Le Petit Journal, 18 February 1912. Photo by Getty

Essay/
Ethics
The trolley problem problem

Are thoughts experiments experiments at all? Or something else? And do they help us think clearly about ethics or not?

James Wilson

The Inquisition Scene (1808-1812), by Francisco Goya. Courtesy the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, Madrid

Essay/
Virtues and vices
Vice dressed as virtue

Cruelty and morality seem like polar opposites – until they join forces. Beware those who persecute in the name of principle

Paul Russell

American Civil Rights activist Malcolm X (left) pictured in New York in 1963. His radicalism helped shape public discourse. Photo by Robert L Haggins/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty

Essay/
Mood and emotion
The fruits of anger

To those who say anger is destructive or pointless: Not so! Getting angry spurs and sustains us to take action for justice

Brian Wong

Photo bt Emin Ozmen/Magnum Photos

Essay/
Knowledge
Nihilism

The risk of nihilism is that it alienates us from anything good or true. Yet believing in nothing has positive potential

Nolen Gertz

Couple in the kitchen, USA, 1952. From the series ‘Love Story’. Photo by Dennis Stock/Magnum

Essay/
Love and friendship
Love is a joint project

For Simone de Beauvoir, authentic love is an ethical undertaking: it can be spoilt by devotion as much as by selfishness

Kate Kirkpatrick

A screen demonstrates facial-recognition technology at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai, China, on Thursday 29 August 2019. Photo by Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Idea/
Technology and the self
How Confucius loses face in China’s new surveillance regime

Philip Ivanhoe

A ranger strokes a young Rhino orphaned by poachers at the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya, in May 2015. He was named ‘Hope’. Photo Tom Pilston/Panos

Essay/
Animals and humans
All we owe to animals

It is not enough to conserve species and ecosystems. We have an ethical duty to care for each individual animal on earth

Jeff Sebo

Isaiah Berlin in 1985. Photo by Gemma Levine/Getty Images

Essay/
Thinkers and theories
Philosopher of the human

One can only imagine how much nobler and more decent the world might be if it took more notice of Isaiah Berlin

Johnny Lyons

United States, 1965. Photo by Wayne Miller/Magnum

Essay/
Teaching and learning
The value of shame

Immanuel Kant held that moral education is hydraulic: shame squashes down our vices, making space for virtue to rise up

Louise Chapman

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

Essay/
Virtues and vices
Righteous incivility

The temptation to be uncivil grows as public discourse gets nastier and more aggressive. Can rudeness ever be righteous?

Amy Olberding

Detail from Nelkenstrauss (1910), by Adolf Hitler. Photo by Christof Stache/AFP/Getty

Essay/
Ethics
Tainted by association

Would you carve a roast with a knife that had been used in a murder? Why not? And what does this tell us about ethics?

Paul Sagar

Destitute family; five children, aged two to 17 years. American River camp in Sacramento, California, in 1936. Photograph by Dorothea Lange/Library of Congress

Essay/
Beauty and aesthetics
More than skin deep

Beauty is a deeply moral matter that makes kindness, empathy and honesty attractive, while vice warps into ugliness

Panos Paris