In the early 1970s, the American philosopher John Rawls (1921 – 2002), a Harvard professor, published the book “A Theory of Justice,” which presented a plausible theory for promoting justice in a democratic society. Rawls’ proposal was based on a “social contract” to be concluded by the “founding fathers” of society and materialized into principles […]
THE THREE – OR FOUR – LAWS OF ROBOTICS
Isaac Asimov (1920 – 1992) is considered one of the greatest science fiction writers of the 20th century. Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Asimov wrote more than 400 books, including short stories, novels, fiction novels, and works of popular science on themes of Astronomy, Physics, and History, among others. Especially influential is his fiction about robotics, which […]
What defines a moral act?
Although there is no universal consensus regarding what is moral and what is not, one that is valid for all cultures at all times, there seems to be a common interpretation of what it is to act morally. This reflection on what this act is was motivated by a brief conversation at halftime of a […]
Nobody’s fault but mine?
This brief reflection deals with the theme of guilt, a feeling that assaults us when we know we have done something wrong – or even when we suspect that we have made that mistake. In Ethics, guilt appears relatively little in the works of moral philosophers (for those interested, Chappell’s chapter in Cokelet and Maley’s […]
Prima Facie Duties: A deontology in context?
Sir William David Ross (1877–1941), better known as W. D. Ross, was a Scottish philosopher from Oxford University, where he taught Moral Philosophy for several years, having excelled in this area for the publication of a book, The Right And The Good (1930), as well as for having translated and organized an edition of Aristotle’s […]
Virtues and utilitarianism: an impossible dialogue?
At first sight, utilitarianism and virtue ethics are absolutely incompatible currents of thought: utilitarianism calls for a principle of maximization, to an instrumental calculation of consequences as a criterion for the classification of moral acts, while virtue ethics requires careful analysis of the situation and the context in which the agent finds himself to determine […]
Honor: a forgotten virtue?
Aristotle, in his two books on ethics and his treatise on politics, deals less with honor than with other virtues; Mesquita (2014) points out that although the Greek philosopher recognizes the social importance of honor and shame, these are not themes of his predilection. The framework of virtues presented in Eudemian Ethics, Book II, does […]
The utility of staying at home
For much of 2020, we have stayed at home, even if we do not wish. The pandemic that hit the world showed the government’s inability in dealing with serious public health problems, and individual behavior has become the main way to prevent the situation from worsening. When it comes to individual behaviors, then, ethical issues […]
Ethics and the rise of sentiments
In 1759, Adam Smith published his book “Theory of Moral Sentiments”. In this book, the Scottish thinker considered that moral actions were guided by sympathy, that is, in the inate human capacity of putting oneself in the place of other people, in choosing to act morally not having in mind what the action can bring […]
The P and N theories in ethical thought
More than 50 years ago, Alberto Guerreiro Ramos wrote an article in which he discussed two forms of thinking about the problem of the modernization of societies, to which he titled Theory N and Theory P. Basically, by “theory N” he wanted to say a form of thought in which every society, by a law […]