Benjamin Studebaker

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

Tag: Egoism

Dialogue with an Egoist

I want to try something a little bit different today and present some philosophical ideas in the form of a dialogue. Our characters are:

  • Chris the Christian
  • Steve the Skeptic
  • Annie the Egoist
  • Randy the Reciprocity Utilitarian

The four characters are housemates who have lived together for a short time.

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A New Critique of Peter Singer

A while back, I wrote a piece called “A Critique of Peter Singer“, one of my more popular pieces on moral theory. Since I wrote that piece, I’ve spent more time reading and thinking about Singer, and I am now prepared to offer an additional critique that in some places supersedes and in other places adds to that one. Read the rest of this entry »

A Morality for Sociopaths

Most moral theories attempt to determine how people ought to behave without considering whether or not people are capable of behaving in the ways they describe. Those that do consider whether or not their moral theories are too demanding do so only in minor ways. They consider perhaps whether or not the average person is capable of acting in the way they describe, or whether or not the average person could one day be capable, but they do not commit themselves to designing a moral theory that is universally feasible. What about morally abnormal individuals, who do not have the altruistic and social impulses many moral theories assume? Can they be incorporated into a moral theory? I not only think we can incorporate these individuals, but that we must do so, because if we do not, these individuals will act in harmful ways that our moral theories fail to anticipate. Our popular morality allows these individuals to gain by being immoral, to take advantage of those who do subscribe to the common morality. Only moral theories that expect the worst can be prepared to deal with the worst. Today I’d like to discuss how we ought to assimilate these people into a common moral theory, one that anticipates their inclinations and adjusts itself accordingly.

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My Tesco Trolley Adventure

Today was a beautiful spring day, so I went out for a walk around Warwick. The university has some great scenic paths, and I like going for walks in nice weather. I was in such a splendid mood, I found myself humming Frank Sinatra. I’m not an ear buds guy, I like to listen to the world around me and hum my tunes.  As I was wandering about, enjoying myself, I stumbled upon a Tesco trolley. “Trolley” is the British word for “cart”. Tesco is a British supermarket chain. I’ve been at Warwick for three years, and in that time I have seen many Tesco trolleys in places they do not belong. People go to Tesco, they buy things, they take the trolleys back to the residence halls to carry the things home with them. But then, they do a curious thing. Instead of taking the time to bring the trolleys back to Tesco, they dump them in the wilderness. In the three years I’ve been at Warwick, I have many times noticed this, but I have never once done anything about it. Today was different.

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Teacher Ethics

An interesting ethical question was put to me recently–what interest are teachers ethically obliged to serve or defend? I was given several options:

  1. The teacher’s own interest.
  2. The interest of the students.
  3. The interest of the department or one’s fellow teachers.
  4. The interest of the school as a whole.

It’s an interesting opportunity to apply philosophy, so I’d like to explore it further.

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