Interpretations of The Republic have generally emphasised its role as either a political or an ethical text. Those who interpret it as chiefly a political text point to things like Plato's arrangement of different social classes in to different types of labour; the absence of private property for the guardians of the state; and the… Continue reading Is Plato’s Republic a mandate for totalitarianism?
Kant and Sartre - Actions and Intentions For the existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, whenever we act we are acting in a legislative way for the rest of humanity. This is because our actions are freely chosen, and so each time we choose to act in this or that way, we are accompanied by the weighty responsibility of forming… Continue reading What makes us good – our actions, or our intentions?
In Famine, Affluence, and Morality, utilitarian philosopher Peter Singer argues that all of us ought to act according to the following principle: If it is in our power to prevent something bad from happening, without thereby sacrificing anything of comparable moral importance, we ought, morally, to do it. The only assumption underpinning this principle is… Continue reading How much should we give to charity?
Jean-Paul Sartre's Existentialism is a Humanism sets out the main claims of existentialism, and defends these against some of the criticisms laid against it. He makes two fundamental claims - that God is dead; and that all claims about humanity and the world must begin with human experience. Given that these two claims are true,… Continue reading Existentialism: Jean-Paul Sartre’s Existentialism is a Humanism
I wanted to start off this blog with a excerpt from Crime and Punishment - a conversation between two characters on the moral justification of a murder. The conversation highlights the way in which our ethical beliefs often come in to conflict with one another. "...Hundreds, thousands perhaps, might be set on the right path; dozens… Continue reading Dostoevsky and ethical dilemmas