Benjamin Studebaker

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

Tag: Reciprocity

Who Matters?

Lately I’ve been thinking again about a question of moral philosophy that has long interested me. This is the question of who matters. Most of the time, when we talk about moral philosophy, we talk about what matters. Answers to that question vary–some propose that happiness is what matters, or suffering, or virtue, or equality, or liberty, or some other value or set of values. But whose happiness matters? Whose suffering? Whose virtue, equality, or liberty? This is something we don’t talk about as often, but different views about these matters have profound consequences for our politics and have serious consequences for ordinary people.

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Should People Have a Right to Have Children?

Many of my blog posts make some pretense of having something to do with a current event or news item. But sometimes I find myself thinking about larger issues of general principle that do not easily map onto any of the day’s controversies. This is that sort of post. I’ve recently found myself thinking about whether or not human beings should have an inalienable right to have children. It seems to me that we commonly assume that people do or should have this right, but it is not at all obvious to me that this is really the case. Here’s why.

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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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What Does it Mean to be a Hero?

A few months back, I watched a show on Netflix called BoJack Horseman. There’s a bit in the show where BoJack, the protagonist, gets into an argument with a veteran about the nature of heroism:

In particular, BoJack says:

Maybe some of the troops are heroes, but not automatically. I’m sure a lot of the troops are jerks. Most people are jerks already and it’s not like giving a jerk a gun and telling him it’s okay to kill people suddenly turns that jerk into a hero.

This has got me thinking–what does it mean to be a hero?

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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 »