Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Derek Parfit

Should You Kill Baby Hitler?

The Huffington Post asked Jeb Bush whether he would go back in time and kill a baby Adolf Hitler if given the opportunity. Bush said:

Hell yeah, I would! You gotta step up, man. It could have a dangerous effect on everything else, but I’d do it–I mean, Hitler.

If you get the chance to go back in time and kill baby Hitler, should you do it? Let’s think about this.

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How to be a Good Person Without God

In many western societies, religion seems to be losing influence, particularly among young people. Many religious people argue that this threatens society’s moral frameworks. Without God, on what basis do we distinguish the good from the bad? Secularists often scoff at this question, resenting the implication that only the religious can be moral. And yet, many secularists are also moral subjectivists, who claim not to believe in any absolute sense of right and wrong, arguing that morality is culturally relative or a matter of individual taste. This does seem to imply that as religion weakens, the intellectual foundation of many of our substantive moral beliefs is being eroded, and that to the extent that secularists remain good people, it is often due to socialization and intellectual inertia rather than some truly substantive alternative. But it doesn’t have to be this way–there are excellent secular moral theories that do offer compelling objective alternatives to religious morality.

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Why the Welfare State?

There’s a set of institutions that most western countries have that we collectively call “the welfare state” and, in the drive to shrink budget deficits, it has come under attack. But why do we have a welfare state in the first place? What is its function, and what are we putting at risk when we cut funding for it? That is today’s point of inquiry.

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