Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 in review

(Past annual reviews: 20132012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, and 2004.)

On the blog:

Metaethics

* Normative Concepts -- what makes a concept a normative concept?
* Non-Normative Epistemology -- does it make sense, or are we unavoidably committed to (at least epistemic) normativity?
* Fittingness and Normativity -- can fittingness views adequately capture the "oomph" of practical normativity (the sheer badness of the really bad)?

Ethics

Objections to Consequentialism - what are the best ones?
* A series of posts on Caspar Hare's The Limits of Kindness, leading up to my NDPR review:
 - Rationality and the Rooted Amnesiac: can we reasonably favour worlds where our loved ones exist?

Politics

* Allocating Asylum explores the cosmopolitan case for prioritizing English-speaking asylum seekers.
* The Cosmopolitan Civilian Test for Proportionality in War: Would a given number of civilian casualties be considered "proportionate" if the civilians in question were of a different nationality?
* Force-feeding and Selective Paternalism argues that force-feeding captives is morally indefensible.
* Is there a Moral Duty to Cut Taxes? explains why the British Prime Minister's recent claims to this effect are not well supported.
Questioning Political Dogmas argues that some -- even popular -- moral/political views really are beyond the pale, and then invites discussion of how / where we should draw the line.
* Implicit Bias in Academic Service Expectations draws attention to a comparatively neglected (but all-too-familiar) form of gender bias in academia.

Applied ethics

* A short series of posts on allocating medical resources according to Quality-Adjusted Life Years gained: 
Regulatory Bias and Unseen Harms argues against the assumption, implicit in our medical institutions, that erroneously allowing a harmful treatment is worse than erroneously banning a beneficial treatment.
* An Obligation to Abort? Moral Guidance vs Reaction argues that the latter distinction shows the former proposal to be less outlandish than it may initially sound.
* Good Lives and Procreative Duties argues that we needn't deny that it's good to bring additional excellent lives into existence in order to deny the demanding deontic claim that (appropriately situated) people are morally obligated to reproduce.
* Review of Bostrom's Superintelligence.  Does AI constitute an existential risk to the future of humanity? The idea may not be as crazy as it sounds.
* Kidney-Equivalent Donations points out that around $700 to GiveWell-recommended charities achieves as much good as donating a kidney, while being a whole lot easier!  (I was comfortably able to donate eight times that this year, on a junior academic salary.)

Off the blog: 

It's been a busy year for me and Helen, settling in to new jobs -- in a new country -- at the wonderful University of York. Well worth the upheaval.  We've been absolutely blown away by the friendliness and supportiveness of our new colleagues, and the sheer level of philosophical activity (talks, reading groups, works in progress meetings, etc.) surpasses all but the ANU in our experience!

Happy New Year!

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