Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Has Technology Changed the Moral Rules Regarding Sex and Marriage?

Did the invention of the pill change the social moral rules about premarital sex?We all face decision problems in our daily lives. We have preferences and we have options. These options come with different ratios of costs and benefits, measured relative to our preferences. If we are broadly rational, we will tend to pick the options in which the benefits outweigh the costs — if not in the short term then at least in the long-term. These preferred options will become our personal norms. But we don’t make decisions in a vacuum. Our choices affect others and others face similar problems to us. If we all face similar decision problems, and we all pick the same options in those problems (or put in place mechanisms to enforce the same options) then those options may end up forming the basis for our social moral norms. This is, in fact, a popular theory for understanding how humans developed social moral norms. Technologies alter our decision problems. When a new technology comes along, it can change our options and the ratio of benefits to costs associated with those options. This can give rise to new preferred choices and hence to new social moral norms. Is it possible to think about the relationship between decision dynamics and social moral change in a more systematic way? That’s the question I try to answer in the remainder of this article. I do so by examining some economic models of human decision problems associated with sex and marriage and some claims made by economists [More]

Assistant Professor - Applied Philosophy. Limited Term

Job List:  Americas Name of institution:  Dalhousie University Town:  Halifax Country:  Canada Job Description:  DEPARTMENT OF PHILOSOPHY DALHOUSIE UNIVERSITY The Department of Philosophy at Dalhousie University invites applications from junior academics for an early-career, 10-month Limited Term Appointment, effective August 1, 2021. This position is subject to budgetary approval. Areas of specialization/competence: Applied [More]

Economic Models of Technology-Induced Social Moral Change

Did the invention of the pill change the social moral rules about premarital sex?We all face decision problems in our daily lives. We have preferences and we have options. These options come with different ratios of costs and benefits, measured relative to our preferences. If we are broadly rational, we will tend to pick the options in which the benefits outweigh the costs — if not in the short term then at least in the long-term. These preferred options will become our personal norms. But we don’t make decisions in a vacuum. Our choices affect others and others face similar problems to us. If we all face similar decision problems, and we all pick the same options in those problems (or put in place mechanisms to enforce the same options) then those options may end up forming the basis for our social moral norms. This is, in fact, a popular theory for understanding how humans developed social moral norms. Technologies alter our decision problems. When a new technology comes along, it can change our options and the ratio of benefits to costs associated with those options. This can give rise to new preferred choices and hence to new social moral norms. Is it possible to think about the relationship between decision dynamics and social moral change in a more systematic way? That’s the question I try to answer in the remainder of this article. I do so by examining some economic models of human decision problems associated with sex and marriage and some claims made by economists [More]

PhD scholarship on the Ethics of Carbon Pricing

Job List:  Europe Name of institution:  Dublin City University Town:  Dublin Country:  Ireland Job Description:  The Institute of Ethics at Dublin City University is offering a four year fully funded (stipends & fees) scholarship in the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences at Dublin City University. The project will be supervised by Professor Bert Gordijn and Dr. Goran [More]

James Beattie Scholarship -- Project: The Problem of Epistemic value

Job List:  Europe Name of institution:  Department of Philosophy, University of Aberdeen Town:  Aberdeen Country:  United Kingdom Job Description:  This PhD fee waiver is available only for overseas students, full-time and resident, with a start date of September 2021. This scholarship will cover the difference between home fees and overseas fees. The home fees for 2021/22 are £4,500 and overseas fees are £17,000. Thus, the value of the fee waiver will be £12,500. The successful candidate will be liable for the home portion of fees, £4,500, which will be fixed for the duration of their programme, as well as receive a stipend of £6,000 per academic [More]

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