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

Illustration by Paul Blow

Essay/
Ethics
A theory of jerks

Are you surrounded by fools? Are you the only reasonable person around? Then maybe you’re the one with the jerkitude

Eric Schwitzgebel

Photo by Julian Calverley/Getty

Essay/
Ethics
Kids? Just say no

You don’t have to dislike children to see the harms done by having them. There is a moral case against procreation

David Benatar

Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf in the Forest by Carl Larsson, 1881. Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Essay/
Stories and literature
The good guy/bad guy myth

Pop culture today is obsessed with the battle between good and evil. Traditional folktales never were. What changed?

Catherine Nichols

Photo by Roland Gerth/Corbis

Essay/
Ethics
Devouring the world

A former vegan who now hunts deer is troubled by what it takes to put food on our plates

Tovar Cerulli

Former South African president Nelson Mandela revisits his prison cell on Robben Island, in 1994. Photo by Jurgen Schadeberg/Getty Images

Essay/
Values and beliefs
Beyond anger

Anger is the emotion that has come to saturate our politics and culture. Philosophy can help us out of this dark vortex

Martha C Nussbaum

Illustration by Petra Eriksson at Handsome Frank

Essay/
Thinkers and theories
Hume the humane

Hume believed we were nothing more or less than human: that’s why he’s the amiable, modest, generous philosopher we need now

Julian Baggini

Photo by Brian Rueb Photography/Getty

Essay/
Ethics
The case against pets

A morally just world would have no pets, no aquaria, no zoos. No fields of sheep, no barns of cows. That’s true animal rights

Gary L Francione & Anna E Charlton

Serpent Labret with Articulated Tongue, 1300–1521 CE. Labrets were the visual markers of the eloquent, truthful speech expected of royalty and the nobility in Aztec culture. Courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Essay/
Ethics
Life on the slippery Earth

Aztec moral philosophy has profound differences from the Greek tradition, not least its acceptance that nobody is perfect

Sebastian Purcell

Hellenic values; a volunteer helps a refugee girl after arriving on an inflatable boat at Lesbos, Greece, March 2016. Photo by Alexander Koerner/Getty

Essay/
Meaning and the good life
Why read Aristotle today?

Modern self-help draws heavily on Stoic philosophy. But Aristotle was better at understanding real human happiness

Edith Hall

The work-weathered hands of Henry Brooks, a former slave from Greene County, Georgia, May 1941. Photo by Corbis

Essay/
Ethics
History and guilt

Can America face up to the terrible reality of slavery in the way that Germany has faced up to the Holocaust?

Susan Neiman

Illustration by Paul Blow

Essay/
Ethics
Cheeseburger ethics

Are professional ethicists good people? According to our research, not especially. So what is the point of learning ethics?

Eric Schwitzgebel

‘Moral features are the chief dimension by which we judge’; detail from The Conversion of Saint Paul by Caravaggio 1600-1601. Photo courtesy Wikimedia

Essay/
Ethics
The self is moral

We tend to think that our memories determine our identity, but it’s moral character that really makes us who we are

Nina Strohminger

Lion cubs in the Maasai Mara. Photo by Paul Souders/Corbis

Essay/
Biology
The kindness of beasts

Dogs rescue their friends and elephants care for injured kin – humans have no monopoly on moral behaviour

Mark Rowlands

Riot police battle students in the Latin Quarter, Paris, May 1968. Photo by Bruno Barbey/Magnum

Essay/
Ethics
How could they?

Some people are ruthless. Some lose control. Yet most violence remains unfathomable. A new theory lights up the darkness

Tage Rai

Photo by Rafael Marchante?reuters

Essay/
Ethics
Once and future sins

In 2115, when our descendants look back at our society, what will they condemn as our greatest moral failing?

Stephen Cave & Stefan Klein

‘Scenes from the Life of St Matthew’ 1390-1399, by Niccolo’ di Pietro Gerini, Church of San Francesco, Prato, Italy. St Matthew is the patron saint of bankers. Photo by Getty Images

Essay/
Economic history
Of money and morals

Moneylending has been taboo for most of human history. So how did usury stop being a sin and become respectable finance?

Alex Mayyasi

Photo by Terry Vine/Getty

Essay/
Philosophy of language
Sex talks

The language of sexual negotiation must go far beyond ‘consent’ and ‘refusal’ if we are to foster ethical, autonomous sex

Rebecca Kukla

Essay/
Meaning and the good life
Is it OK to have kids?

Your decision about whether to procreate is serious. That makes it philosophy’s business, alarming as that might sound

Richard Chappell