By In The Real World Comments (21)

Michael McKenna: “Flake’s Mistaken Appeal to a Principle of Innocence”

This piece, written by Michael McKenna (Arizona), is intended as a kind of generally accessible op-ed in response to one aspects of the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings.

Here now is McKenna:

Arizona’s United States Senator Jeff Flake has made a mistake. He should correct it. Just this morning [when this was written], as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Flake voted along party lines to advance to a full vote in the U.S. Senate the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States. Flake cited the legal and ethical principle that a person should be treated as innocent until proven guilty. But Flake’s appeal to this principle to justify his vote is not ethically defensible. Let me explain.

As a general principle, Flake seems to assume, we should regard people as innocent until proven guilty. Whatever exactly that standard of proof involves, it requires stronger evidence than is required to justify believing something. Believing Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and not Judge Brett Kavanaugh is consistent with lacking proof that Kavanaugh was guilty. That’s Flake’s way out. Nevertheless, it does not stand up to scrutiny. (more…)

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By In Action Theory Comments Off on Interview Series on Philosophy of Action

Interview Series on Philosophy of Action

Istvan Zardai (Keio University) has been conducting and posting some very cool “mini-interviews” with leading philosophers of action over the past year, on the site Philosophy of Action. Check it out! It includes interviews with Michael Smith, Randy Clarke, Pamela Hieronymi, Manuel Vargas, Kieran Setiya, Christine Korsgaard, Al Mele, Eddy Nahmias, Santiago Amaya, and many, many more (22 more, in fact).

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By In Uncategorized Comments (5)

NDPR Forum: Neil Sinhababu’s Humean Nature: How Desire Explains Action, Thought, and Feeling

   Welcome to our NDPR review forum on Neil Sinhababu’s Humean Nature: How Desire Explains Action, Thought, and Feeling (OUP 2017), reviewed by Nomy Arpaly. Please feel free to comment on any aspect of the book, the review, or the discussion below!


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By In Academia, Uncategorized Comments (15)

The Unfortunate End-Game of Some Fraught Debates

It is a fraught topic of broad and not merely academic interest. Strong and hurt feelings abound. You have a view you work to hone and carefully articulate. Good and earnest people resist your view and argue against it. They may even suggest that it is a view unworthy of you. You remain unconvinced and argue back but manage to persuade few who did not start out on your side. You feel the polite condemnation of good and thoughtful people, yet you continue to think you are right. Perhaps you are even surprised people disagree with you on this topic. You try to be mindful of whose interests are primarily at stake and whose first-personal experience lends their views more authority in such contexts. You try to avoid defensively feeling like just because you have taken a public stand you cannot change your mind. You remind yourself you are not making a one-sided lawyerly case for a position but trying to reach a balanced overall assessment. You try to not let the mere professional status of those who argue with or against you unduly influence your thinking.  Others are joining your side but, or so it seems to you, less cautiously. The rhetoric and tone escalate around you. It seems the distinctions you were at pains to clarify are sometimes lost in some of the complaints about your view. You become agitated and start thinking “I can’t let this take over my day and this is getting unpleasant.”

Where do you go from there?


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By In Announcements, Virtue Comments Off on VIRTUE, an Ethics Consultancy

VIRTUE, an Ethics Consultancy

From Reid Blackman:

I recently founded VIRTUE, an ethics consultancy. VIRTUE helps businesses identify where they are at risk of ethical misconduct that threatens their brand and bottom line. Think, for instance, of #BoycottStarbucks, #MeToo, and #DeleteFacebook. We then work with those businesses to systematically mitigate that risk.

The issues VIRTUE addresses are wide-ranging and include, for instance, gender equity, artificial intelligence and autonomous systems, biotechnology, diversity, human rights, privacy, the environment, governance, and inequality.

Philosophers who are interested in working with VIRTUE on a per-project basis can find information here. We are looking for philosophers of all ranks and signing up to be notified about potential projects that match one’s interests and expertise takes about 5 minutes. Any questions can be directed to


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By In NDPR Discussion Forum, Normative Ethics, Value Theory Comments (11)

NDPR Forum: Cheshire Calhoun’s Doing Valuable Time

Welcome to our NDPR review forum on Cheshire Calhoun’s Doing Valuable Time: The Present, the Future, and Meaningful Living (OUP 2018), reviewed by Valerie Tiberius. Please feel free to comment on any aspect of the book, the review, or the discussion below!


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By In Agency and Responsibility, I Wish I Knew Then... Comments (4)

I wish I knew then what I know now about…moral responsibility

Let us know your special (perhaps hard-earned) insights into the field of moral responsibility. Think of it as a way to provide a shortcut to those just starting in the field. Could include articles/books, arguments, or views you wish you’d known about much earlier than you did.

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