Open for Debate


Sharing bullshit on social media

Posted on 2 May 2022 by Neri Marsili

It’s another dull day of commuting to work, and you are waiting for the bus. Bored, you open your phone and start scrolling the all-too-familiar, endless cascade of mildly uninteresting content posted by your friends on social media. And there it is, next to pictures of happy babies and pixelated dogs. A tik-tok video revealing
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The Hidden Problem in Moral Imagination

Posted on 18 April 2022 by Yujia Song

Be more imaginative? When we fail to treat someone in a morally appropriate way – say, being generous to the stranger in need, fair to the candidate who speaks with an accent, or patient with the friend struggling with anxiety — it is often thought that our lack of imagination is to blame: if only
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How Dehumanization Works

Posted on 4 April 2022 by David Livingstone-Smith

On February 1, 1893, an intellectually disabled Black man was burned to death in Paris, Texas.  His death was not accidental. It was the culmination of several hours of torture, witnessed by a crowd of more than ten thousand people—men, women, and even children—many of whom had travelled from surrounding areas on special excursion trains
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On White Privilege and Anesthesia

Posted on 21 March 2022 by Alison Bailey

America has, once again, entered a period of public racial reckoning. No single event has brought us to this place. A malignant presidency and the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol have tested the resilience of our republic. A global pandemic coupled with an economic recession and accelerating climate change have pushed us into
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On “Choosing Reality”: How Public Discussions of Gender Recognition Go Wrong, and What We Can Do About It Part 3. Beyond the Ontology-First Approach

Posted on 7 March 2022 by Katharine Jenkins

Content advice: transphobia. In the previous post, I argued that we should reject the Ontology-First Approach, which is the view that questions about gender recognition should be settled by first establishing what gender really is. This raises the question of how we should approach discussions of gender recognition. In this post I will suggest that
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On “Choosing Reality”: How Public Discussions of Gender Recognition Go Wrong, and What We Can Do About It: Part 2 Rejecting the Ontology-First Approach

Posted on 21 February 2022 by Katharine Jenkins

Content advice: transphobia. In the last blog post, I identified what I call the ‘Ontology-First Approach’ to gender recognition. This approach says that disagreements about gender recognition should be settled by establishing how gender really exists – its ontology – as this determines how people should be able to navigate gendered social spaces and take
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On “Choosing Reality”: How Public Discussions of Gender Recognition Go Wrong, and What We Can Do About It: Part 1 Arguing About What Gender Really Is

Posted on 7 February 2022 by Katharine Jenkins

Content advice: transphobia. On 10th October 2018, a full page-advert ran in the Metro, London’s free commuter newspaper. The topic of the advert was an imminently closing government consultation on the Gender Recognition Act 2004, the legislation governing changes of legal gender for trans people in England and Wales. The government was considering adopting a
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The Value of Thinking for Yourself

Posted on 10 January 2022 by Jonathan Matheson

Why think for yourself? Sometimes thinking for yourself is necessary. Sometimes you are the expert, sometimes the experts (or their beliefs) are too hard to identify, and sometimes there’s not enough time to consult the relevant experts. However, at other times you can identify the experts as well as what they believe. In situations like
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The Myth of Intellectual Individualism

Posted on 27 December 2021 by Jonathan Matheson

Have courage to use your own understanding. This, Kant declared, as the motto of the Enlightenment. This same sentiment is echoed in the more contemporary call to think for yourself. Thinking for yourself is incredibly important. A central goal of educators is to equip their students to think for themselves – to prepare them to
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The Case for Epistemic Reparations

Posted on 13 December 2021 by Jennifer Lackey

In 1976, 15-year-old Deann Katherine Long was raped and murdered near her home in Indiana County, Pennsylvania. Five years later, Lewis “Jim” Fogle was arrested for his purported involvement in these crimes, and in 1982 he was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison based largely on the testimony of jailhouse informants.
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Nudging for Changing Selves

Posted on 1 November 2021 by Richard Pettigrew

When we go into a car showroom and we’re greeted by a series of sales assistants, one after the other, we tend to end up buying from the first person we met when we came in the door. And when we don’t have a strong preference between a range of political candidates on a ballot,
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Choosing for Changing Selves

Posted on 18 October 2021 by Richard Pettigrew

Our values change. What we want, value, prefer, desire, and how much; for nearly everyone, these will be different at different times in their lives. Perhaps when you were younger, you valued a life of action more than the life of the mind, but now you value intellectual pursuits above practical ones. Perhaps now you
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Mill and Ideal Theory

Posted on 4 October 2021 by Robin McKenna

John thinks that facemasks, social distancing and other public health measures are necessary to deal with the Covid 19 pandemic. He is aware that some disagree with him about this. But he hasn’t spent any time looking at their reasons for disagreeing. Should he spend time engaging with them and their arguments? Or should he
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On Anonymity

Posted on 6 September 2021 by Josh Habgood-Coote

After the England men’s football team lost to Italy on penalties on the 11th of July, the three England players who missed penalties—Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka, and Jadon Sancho—were targeted with racist abuse on their social media accounts.
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COVID-19 exceptionalism

Posted on 23 August 2021 by Lisa Bortolotti

By Lisa Bortolotti and Kathleen Murphy-Hollies Exceptionalism Exceptionalism is the idea that a country is superior to other countries and in virtue of this superiority it is not subject to the same constraints. Some political leaders assumed that their countries were invulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, leading to a slow response, delegitimization
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