Consent, exploitation, fairness, and permissibility—a jumble

Many things that A can do that affect B, even if they benefit B, it would not be permissible for A to do, unless B consents to it. On the other hand, some things that A might do for B, even if they harm B, it would be permissible for A to do, if B consents to it. Clearly, in many cases where one person does something for or to another, the presence or absence of consent of the latter is a significant factor in determining the permissibility of the action.

Continue reading “Consent, exploitation, fairness, and permissibility—a jumble”

Is making airstrikes on Syria murder?

British MPs have voted in favour of making airstrikes against ISIL in Syria, and the RAF carried out the first set of strikes promptly after the vote. I have not been following the political debate on this. But I am interested in the moral issues that are, or ought to be, involved.

Continue reading “Is making airstrikes on Syria murder?”


ウィリアムズとブラックバーンの倫理観の根本的相違について考えていたらいつのまにか(というかやはり)ヒュームについて考えなければならなくなった。というのも、思うにウィリアムズとブラックバーンの対立はニーチェとヒュームの対立のようなもので、ここには自然主義、人間本性、文化、系譜学などが複雑に入り組んだ問題がたくさんある。 Continue reading “悪意はいかにして繁茂するか”


「功利主義(utilitarianism)」というのは高校の倫理で聞いたことがある人も多いだろう。最も単純で一般的なヴァージョンでは、道徳的に正しい行為は最大の幸福をもたらす(見込みがある)ものであるという見方だ。道徳哲学に興味がある人なら、「帰結主義(consequentialism)」という言葉も聞いたことがあるかもしれない。大学で哲学を専攻している人なら、二つの違いを説明できるはずだ。 Continue reading “「帰結主義」の忘れられた出自”

A passion betrayed

Quartz is re-featuring an article written by my friend and colleague Will MacAskill, a rising star in career choice and “effective altruism.” It’s very well written: it challenges the conventionally but pre-reflectively accepted ideas, its message is clear, its tone confident, its style concise, and its claims backed by a series of empirical scientific studies. It’s his most popular piece to date, he says. Unsurprisingly so; it’s all very effective.

It’s also a curious piece, though, it seems to me. Continue reading “A passion betrayed”

What was Strawson's concern?

(Moral Philosophy Seminar, 21 Jan. 2013.)

Martin O’Neill says that P. F. Strawson’s “Freedom and Resentment” (hereafter FR) presents a view that is strongly anti-sceptical and anti-revisionary with respect to our standard practice of holding each other morally responsible. O’Neill argues that this anti-revisionary stance is unwarranted: Strawson fails to make two important distinctions, by properly acknowledging which one sees that there is room for some selective revisions to the practice in question, should there be independently good reasons for making them. Continue reading “What was Strawson's concern?”