Saturday, January 07, 2017

2016 in review

(Past annual reviews: 20152014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, and 2004.)

Applied Ethics

* The Instrumental value of one vote -- can be much higher than many philosophers seem to assume.

* Pets and Slavery -- explains why domesticated animals are not inherently wronged by their guardians, or morally akin to "slaves".

* Philanthropic focus vs abandonment -- diagnoses some bad reasoning from the CEO of Oxfam, who mistakenly thinks there are reasons of fairness to help people inefficiently.
* Effective Altruism, Radical Politics, and Radical Philanthropy -- Is EA insufficiently 'radical'?  Or excessively so?

* How bad? -- a rough first step towards moral prioritization.

* Opposite Day: "Charity begins at home" edition -- Don't let my evil twin Ricardo convince you!

Normative Ethics

Illustrating the Paradox of Deontology -- may you murder once to save five loved ones from being murdered? (If not, why not?)

Is Consequentialism More Demanding? -- not if you take the interests of the poor into account...

* Irrational Increments for the Self-Torturer -- argues, contra Tenenbaum and Raffman, that some individual increments of the self-torturing device are not worth taking.

* Related: Self-Torturers Without Diminishing Marginal Value -- provides a slightly neater version of the case to consider.

* Do we have Vague Projects? -- putative candidates may be best explained in a way that suggests not, actually.

* Attitudinal Pleasure and Normative Stance-Independence -- is the value of pleasure "subjective" in the relevant sense?  I express some doubts, contra Sobel.

* Possibly Wrong Moral Theories -- and why we should think they're actually wrong.

Metaethics and Consciousness

* The basic reason to reject naturalism: Substantive Boundary Disputes -- argues that naturalism (about normativity and consciousness alike) cannot account for the substantive nature of questions about the domain's extent.

* The 2-D Argument Against Metaethical Naturalism -- building upon the Open Question Argument.

* Carroll on Zombies -- a physicist talks about something other than phenomenal consciousness.

* Final Value and Fitting Attitudes -- explains how to analyse the former in terms of the latter, whilst avoiding the objections raised in a recently published paper.


* Student Spotlight: Intrinsically Irrational Instrumental Desires -- an under-explored area of logical space.

Teaching Effective Altruism -- discusses the syllabus used for my EA class (see also discussion of the Giving Game I ran in class).

Expected Value without Expecting Value -- I was surprised to find that most students do not accept expected value reasoning: they would prefer to save 1000 lives for sure, than to have a 10% chance of saving a million lives.


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