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

Bessie. Holstein cow, aged 20, from the Allowed to Grow Old project and book by the photographer Isa Leshko. All photos © Isa Leshko

Essay/
Ethics
Philosophers and other animals

Christine Korsgaard argues that we can extend a Kantian moral framework to include other animals. But her argument fails

Peter Godfrey-Smith

An American soldier with British war orphans adopted by his unit; London, early 1943. Photo by Robert Capa, International Centre for Photography/Magnum

Essay/
Ethics
The right right thing to do

The ethical life means being good to ourselves, to others, and to the world. But how do you choose if these demands compete?

Irene McMullin

Reading on a park bench, London, July 1941. Photo by William Vandivert/Life/Getty

Essay/
Thinkers and theories
Pause. Reflect. Think

Susan Stebbing’s little Pelican book on philosophy had a big aim: giving everybody tools to think clearly for themselves

Peter West

Inside the United Nations Human Rights Council building in Geneva. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty

Essay/
Political philosophy
The inflation of concepts

Human rights, health, the rule of law – why are these concepts inflated to the status of totalising, secular religions?

John Tasioulas

Districts like the largely Latino Mission District in San Francisco have experienced the effects of gentrification with fast-rising housing costs and the eviction of longtime tenants. 9 May 2015. Photo by Preston Gannaway/New York Times

Essay/
Cities
The harms of gentrification

The exclusion of poorer people from their own neighbourhoods is not just a social problem but a philosophical one

Daniel Putnam

Photo by Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters

Essay/
Ethics
When to break a rule

A virtuous person respects the rules. So when should the same person make a judgment call and break or bend them instead?

Steven Nadler

Photo by Richard Kalvar/Magnum

Essay/
Thinkers and theories
The semi-satisfied life

Renowned for his pessimism, Arthur Schopenhauer was nonetheless a conoisseur of very distinctive kinds of happiness

David Bather Woods

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