Ethics and the Expected Consequences of Voting

An "I Voted" sticker.

Author: Thomas Metcalf Categories: Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy Word count: 995 Your vote normally only has a very small chance of changing the outcome of any election for a public office.[1] For your vote to make that difference, thousands or millions of other votes would need to end up in a tie, which is … Continue reading Ethics and the Expected Consequences of Voting

Removing Confederate Monuments

Monument to Robert E. Lee, commander of the Confederate States Army.

Categories: Social and Political Philosophy, Philosophy of Race, Ethics Author: Travis Timmerman Word Count: 992 The Confederacy (1861-1865) consisted of eleven secessionist states that fought against the United States in the American Civil War in order to try to preserve slavery. Since the Civil War, Confederate monuments have been erected across America.[1] Confederate monuments were … Continue reading Removing Confederate Monuments

Sexual Orientation, Sex, and Gender

Image representing different sexual orientations.

Author: Raja Halwani Categories: Philosophy of Sex and Gender, Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy Word count: 998 Nearly all, if not all, people have sexual orientations,[1] commonly understood to refer to one’s sexual attraction to members of their same or opposite sex.[2] What we can call the “Orthodox Account”[3] is that there are three sexual … Continue reading Sexual Orientation, Sex, and Gender

Defining Capitalism and Socialism

Image of a finger pointing at an entry in a dictionary.

Author: Thomas Metcalf Category: Social and Political Philosophy Wordcount: 999 Editor’s Note: This essay is the first in a two-part series authored by Tom on the topic of capitalism and socialism. The second essay, on evaluating capitalism and socialism, can be viewed here. Should our society be capitalist, socialist, or something in between? To adjudicate … Continue reading Defining Capitalism and Socialism

Aristotle’s Defense of Slavery

Enslaved people working in a mine in Laurium, Greece.

Author: Dan Lowe Categories: Historical Philosophy, Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy, Philosophy of Race Word Count: 999 Aristotle (384-322 BC) is one of the greatest philosophers, and his moral and political philosophy remains especially influential. But he also believed that, for some people, being enslaved was just and even beneficial for them. How could Aristotle … Continue reading Aristotle’s Defense of Slavery

The African Ethic of Ubuntu

Nelson Mandela on the concept of ubuntu.

Author: Thaddeus Metz Categories: Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy, African Philosophy Word Count: 998 The word “ubuntu” is from some southern African languages and it literally means “humanness.” To have ubuntu is to be a person who is living a genuinely human way of life, whereas to lack ubuntu is to be missing human excellence. … Continue reading The African Ethic of Ubuntu

The Death Penalty

The “death chamber” at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Huntsville Unit.

Author: Benjamin S. Yost Category: Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy Word Count: 1000 The death penalty—executing criminals, usually murderers—is more controversial than imprisonment because it inflicts a more significant injury, perhaps the most serious injury, and its effects are irreversible.[1] Some advocates of the death penalty, or capital punishment, argue that it is justified because murder … Continue reading The Death Penalty

Wu-Wei: Acting without Desire

Cook Ding Cuts Up an Ox

Author: Henrique Schneider Categories: Chinese Philosophy, Historical Philosophy Word Count: 997 Wu-wei (無爲, wúwéi) is a central concept in early Chinese philosophy. However, different schools of thought conceptualized the notion differently, so it is difficult to briefly capture its multiple senses and uses. Our focus here will be on one sense of wu-wei in the … Continue reading Wu-Wei: Acting without Desire

Reparations for Historic Injustice

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, Montgomery, Alabama.

Author: Joseph Frigault Category: Philosophy of Race, Social and Political Philosophy, Ethics Word Count: 996 History is marked by large-scale injustice. In the United States alone, Native Americans were violently displaced, Africans were enslaved and their descendants subject to lynchings and Jim Crow laws, and Japanese Americans were interned during World War II, among other … Continue reading Reparations for Historic Injustice

Theories of Punishment

Sisyphus rolling a boulder, as punishment.

Author: Travis Joseph Rodgers Category: Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy Word Count: 995 Criminals are punished with fines, public scorn, imprisonment, death and more. Philosophical theories of punishment ask what justifies punishment, both in general and what justifies particular punishments. Most theories appeal to punishment’s effects on the future or facts about the past. This essay … Continue reading Theories of Punishment