Ignorance and Blame: Can Ignorance Excuse?

Author: Daniel Miller Categories: Ethics, Metaphysics Word Count: 1000 Sometimes ignorance is a legitimate excuse for morally wrong behavior, and sometimes it isn’t. If someone has secretly replaced my sugar with arsenic, then I’m blameless for putting arsenic in your tea.[1] But if I put arsenic in your tea because I keep arsenic and sugar … Continue reading Ignorance and Blame: Can Ignorance Excuse?

Manipulation and Moral Responsibility

Image of string puppets, to illustrate manipulation.

Author: Taylor W. Cyr Category: Ethics, Metaphysics Word Count: 1000 Consider a case of manipulation:[1] Beth is a talented student with a well-rounded life. Her professor wants her to focus all her energies on school, at the expense of Beth’s hobbies and relationships. After failing to convince Beth to spend all of her time studying, … Continue reading Manipulation and Moral Responsibility

Possibility and Necessity: An Introduction to Modality

"Imagine The Possibilities" by Carol Groenen

Author: Andre Leo Rusavuk Category: Metaphysics Word count: 990 We frequently say things like, ‘This seems possible,’ ‘That can’t be done,’ ‘This must happen,’ ‘She might be able to . . ,’ ‘This is necessary for . .’ and so on.[1] Claims like these are modal claims. They involve the modal concepts of actuality, possibility, … Continue reading Possibility and Necessity: An Introduction to Modality

The Ontology of Race

A 1891 map from the philosopher Alfred Caldecott, which shows only three races.

Author: Abiral Chitrakar Phnuyal Category: Philosophy of Race, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Science, Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy Word Count: 998 Various racial concepts have been employed at different times in human history – most prominently since the 17th century[1] – to classify humans into groups, often to great social, political, ethical, medical, and scientific significance. … Continue reading The Ontology of Race

Time Travel

Author: Taylor W. Cyr Category: Metaphysics Word Count: 1000 Time travel is familiar from science fiction and is interesting to philosophers because of the metaphysical issues it raises: the nature of time, causation, personal identity, and freedom, among others.[1] It’s widely accepted that time travel to the future is possible, but the possibility of backward … Continue reading Time Travel

Leibniz’s Principle of Sufficient Reason

Author: Marc Bobro Category: Historical Philosophy, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Religion Word count: 999 Imagine that your bicycle keeps dropping its chain. Annoyed, you take it to a bike shop to determine the cause in order to fix the problem. The mechanic informs you that the problem cannot be fixed because there is no reason why … Continue reading Leibniz’s Principle of Sufficient Reason

Modal Epistemology: Knowledge of Possibility & Necessity

"Imagine The Possibilities" by Carol Groenen

Author: Bob Fischer Categories: Epistemology, Metaphysics Word Count: 998 Alice hits Betty, and Betty gets mad. Is her anger justified? Betty thinks so. After all, Alice didn’t need to hit her; Alice could have controlled her temper. This justification for Betty’s anger seems reasonable. However, it isn’t reasonable unless we know that Alice could have behaved differently, and we don’t know that … Continue reading Modal Epistemology: Knowledge of Possibility & Necessity

Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility

Harry Frankfurt

Author: Rachel Bourbaki Category: Ethics, Metaphysics Word Count: 1000 Intuitively, a person is morally responsible for what she has done only if she could have done otherwise. This is the Principle of Alternate Possibilities (PAP): for any person and any action, that person is morally responsible for performing or failing to perform that action only … Continue reading Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility