Utilitarianism.net (version 2.0)




Utilitarianism.net (previously introduced here) has undergone a major tech upgrade, thanks to our brilliant volunteer webmaster, Boris Yakubchik. Features include:

New textbook overview page

PDF download button for each article

Faster loading, with much improved mobile version

More consistent and user-friendly design style across website (including, e.g., between the guest essays and thinkers pages, and between the textbook overview and objections overview)

Lots of under-the-hood changes that will make it easier for us to update with new content in future

Newly published content includes four fantastic guest contributions:

John Broome discusses Climate Change, and utilitarianism’s implications for how both individuals and governments ought to respond.

Krister Bykvist discusses Moral Uncertainty, and how it might temper utilitarian verdicts.

Nir Eyal reconceptualizes the relationship between Utilitarianism and Research Ethics (see excerpt below).

James Goodrich introduces a neglected early utilitarian (and socialist) thinker: William Thompson.

To help whet your appetite, here’s an excerpt from Eyal’s guest essay:

Following public outrage at multiple research ethics abuses exposed in the 1960s and 1970s, some ethicists condemned these and earlier abuses as “unashamedly utilitarian” for their alleged “obnoxious politics” of prioritizing collective well-being over individual participants’ health.

This picture remains common in research ethics teaching. Canonical introductions to research ethics regularly present elements of research ethics as contrasting with imagined utilitarian recommendations.

This article questions this common picture of research ethics’ philosophical foundations. It argues that:

(I) utilitarianism can account for many core research ethics norms,
(II) Kantian ethics may conflict with many core research ethics norms, and
(III) a more utilitarian outlook would improve contemporary research ethics in concrete ways.

Highly recommended! (I hope it ends up widely assigned in bioethics and research ethics classes, as it does a great job of clearing up common misconceptions.)

Finally, for anyone who prefers video, I just shot a rough 5-minute video introduction to the website, and some of the things I most like about it:

More new content coming soon!

Originally appeared on Good Thoughts Read More