Open for Debate


CONSPIRACIES AND ‘COUNTERSPEECH’

Posted on 12 July 2021 by Maxime Lepoutre

‘The 2020 US election was stolen.’ ‘COVID-19 was intentionally developed as a biological weapon.’ ‘Climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese.’ The times have been good for conspiracy theories. This, in turn, is dangerous. As these examples illustrate, conspiracy theories often sow confusion or scepticism about crucially important matters—matters such as the democratic
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Our warped geometry of attention and trust: The mutually exploitative relationship between anti-vaxxers and the far right is undermining public health

Posted on 28 June 2021 by Mark Alfano

Over the last half decade, I’ve been monitoring the discourse on Twitter about vaccines and immunization. For a while, this was one of the few polarized debates that wasn’t politically polarized. The ranks of anti-vaxxers included lefties skeptical of Big Pharma, hippies distrustful of anything that isn’t “natural,” cultural conservatives who opposed the human papillomavirus
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“With the intent to defraud or mislead”: Opioids, corporate propaganda, and epistemic rights

Posted on 31 May 2021 by Lani Watson

In May 2007, Purdue Frederick Company Inc., an affiliate of Purdue Pharma, along with three of its top executives, were ordered to pay fines totalling $634 million after pleading guilty to criminal charges of misbranding in relation to the opioid-based painkiller, OxyContin. Among other things, the company falsely claimed that OxyContin was less addictive than
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Think Before You Push the “Share” Button

Posted on 8 March 2021 by Sarah Wright

You’ve just run across a hilarious satire on a comedic news site and can’t wait to re-post it so your friends can get a chuckle. Or you’ve found an over-the-top editorial arguing for an unethical policy and want to show others the dangers of bad thinking. But before you share, take a moment to consider
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Modeling Sex as a Joint Activity

Posted on 22 February 2021 by Laura Caponetto

There has been an ongoing philosophical discussion over the last three decades on consent and refusal of sex qua speech acts – that is, acts performed in the uttering of certain words (typically, ‘yes’/‘no’) in a sexual setting[1]. Both consent and refusal are ‘second-turn speech acts’. The thought is simple: for my ‘yes’/‘no’ utterance to
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Is JK Rowling transphobic?

Posted on 30 November 2020 by Julian Baggini

Is JK Rowling transphobic? According to many transgender activists and their supporters, including Harry Potter stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and Eddie Redmayne she is. The LGBTQ+ organisation GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) has said that the author “continues to align herself with an ideology which wilfully distorts facts about gender
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III: Be kind

Posted on 16 November 2020 by Sophie-Grace Chappell

I think there’s something rude and unkind, or can be depending on the pragmatics, in the assertion that you often hear, that “Trans women are men really.” It’s rude and unkind in the way that it’s rude and unkind to say “An adoptive parent isn’t a parent really”—or even more obviously in the second person:
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II: Bodily threats

Posted on 8 November 2020 by Sophie-Grace Chappell

It is the bodily difference between males and females that explains most of the other differences in the roles of men and women in any given society—both in Homeric society and in ours. The social and ceremonial differences in their roles are ritualisations and ’containments’ of the difference and the threat that that implies. (Note
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