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By In Applied Ethics, The Profession, Uncategorized Comments Off on Thoughts on Divesting from For-Profit Prisons

Thoughts on Divesting from For-Profit Prisons

Considerations in favor of supporting such divestment and advice about how to get started here.

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By In Applied Ethics, Experimental Philosophy, Ideas, Moral Psychology Comments (20)

What Does it Mean to ‘Normalize’ Trump?

With Donald Trump now president-elect, many people are concerned that something truly precious and fundamental is under threat. Though Americans disagree about many things, we traditionally had a shared national sense of the bounds of normal behavior and a seemingly entrenched understanding that certain kinds of behavior fell completely outside those bounds. There is now a widespread fear that Trump’s recent actions will be ‘normalized’ and that our shared understanding of the normal will then be lost.

I think that this fear is getting at something of deep importance, and it is therefore worth taking a moment to think philosophically about what is at stake here. What exactly does it mean to see certain behavior as normal?

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By In Applied Ethics, Character, Ideas, Virtue Comments (6)

The Morality of Library Fines

My local library fines its patrons ten cents per overdue book per day. They will let you continue to borrow books as long as your fine balance is less than $10. As an academic, I sort of think of library fines as a cost of doing business, and I frequently carry a balance in library fines of a few dollars. (To be clear: I mostly incur these fines on books taken out for pleasure reading. What I mean is that I don’t have a moralistic attitude about my library fines.) Since there are no interest charges or time limits, I can carry such a balance for months on end. I’m following the rules, not cheating anyone, and I have never felt bad about my habit of being a few bucks in debt to the library.

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By In Applied Ethics, Ideas, Normative Ethics Comments (8)

Sex Work is Different

This post was inspired by a story in the WaPo, the relevant detail of which is that, due to the economic hardship in Greece, some young Greek women are selling sex for the price of a sandwich they cannot otherwise afford to buy. Also, the argument I want to make may be old news; this is not a topic where I have a lot of familiarity with the literature.

There are basically two moral views about sex work, which I will define for present purposes as the exchange of money for some form of sex in short-term, one-off transactions. (So, here, sex work is prostitution.) One view is that sex work is a lot like other kinds of work, except it is mostly performed by women and, due to various kinds of sexism and discrimination, has historically been stigmatized and exploited labor. The right course is to learn to treat sex work as normal work, and enact appropriate regulation that protects the sex workers, in the same spirit one would legally protect other kinds of workers.

The other moral view, which I take to be encoded in most state laws in the US (I can’t speak for elsewhere), is that sex work is morally problematic in some deeper way. The usual thought, I believe, is that it degrades the sex worker; sex work is intrinsically undignified. The proper way to handle sex work is to proscribe it entirely, where this is practical, and in any case discourage it.   What follows is an argument in favor of this general view.

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By In Applied Ethics, Call For Papers, News and Events Comments Off on CFA: Topics in Global Justice: Agency, Power and Policy

CFA: Topics in Global Justice: Agency, Power and Policy

The second annual conference of the Centre for the Study of Global Ethics in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Birmingham welcomes submissions on any topic related to global ethics, but will prioritize work focusing on the 2016 theme of agency, power, and policy. The conference itself will be on 26.-27. 5. 2016, and the deadline for abstracts 1 November, 2015. Full details below.

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By In Applied Ethics, Call For Papers, News and Events Comments Off on Call for Applications: Junior Faculty Manuscript Workshop

Call for Applications: Junior Faculty Manuscript Workshop

The Georgetown Institute for the Study of Markets and Ethics (GISME), located in Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, invites applications for the 2015 Junior Faculty Manuscript Workshop. The aim of the workshop is to provide critical feedback to junior scholars (i.e., junior faculty members, postdocs, or non-tenure-track professors) who are working on book-length manuscripts that address important normative issues related to the functioning of contemporary market societies.

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By In Academia, Applied Ethics, Call For Papers, News and Events Comments (4)

CFP: Policing and Prisons (November 1st Deadline)

Policing and Prisons: Ethical and Political Questions about Law Enforcement and Incarceration 

The Bowling Green Workshop in Applied Ethics and Public Policy will take place in Bowling Green, Ohio, March 11th-12th, 2015. Our keynote speaker is Douglas Husak (Rutgers). Those interested in presenting a paper are invited to submit a 2-3 page abstract (double-spaced) by November 1st2015

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