Articles by: Rachel Haliburton

The Ethicist: Would You Eat Your Cat?

The Ethicist: Would You Eat Your Cat?

December 6, 2017 at 12:04 pm

I recently explored an intriguing thought experiment with my students. As we saw several columns ago, thought experiments are employed by philosophers because they offer us a way of making difficult philosophical concepts both accessible and concrete, changing them, in the process, from abstract ideas into ones that we canRead More

The Ethicist: Our Animal Companions

The Ethicist: Our Animal Companions

November 15, 2017 at 11:34 am

My cat recently died. Although his life was relatively long (for a cat, anyway) and, I would like to believe, very happy, his death was sudden and unexpected and has left me feeling deeply bereft. I keep expecting to hear his meow at the door or see his intelligent faceRead More

Friendship. (Photo by Rufino, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

The Ethicist: Ally, Role Model, Indifferent or Dementor?

October 11, 2017 at 11:49 am

I recently attended an ethics conference which addressed the question of how healthcare organizations and other social institutions should respond to cultural, religious, and sexual diversity in their patients, students and staff. One of the speakers was particularly interesting for me, because her talk was focused on ways in whichRead More

Nick, learning to ride a bike. (Photo by By Nick Richards from London, UK  [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

The Ethicist: Just Like Riding a Bike?

September 20, 2017 at 12:06 pm

It often feels hard to do the right thing, easy to do the wrong one. But what if there were a way in which we could learn to be ethical in just the same way that we learn other practical skills, like driving and reading? Happily, there may be. InRead More

The Ethicist: Thinking and Feeling

The Ethicist: Thinking and Feeling

August 2, 2017 at 11:45 am

I recently read an article that fascinated me. It was about a conversation between President Donald Trump and the mayor of a small island off the coast of Virginia that is quickly disappearing beneath the water as sea levels rise. The article is accompanied by a short video that demonstratesRead More

The Ethicist: Rawls, Hobbes & the Zombie Apocalypse

The Ethicist: Rawls, Hobbes & the Zombie Apocalypse

July 12, 2017 at 12:10 pm

Have you ever asked yourself why the world is the way it is? When I ask this question, I don’t mean to refer to what we consider to be scientific truths, such as the law of gravity or the existence of neutrinos; I mean questions like: Why are some peopleRead More

Source: Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PpOehMLtT4

The Ethicist: Would You Kill the Fat Man?

May 31, 2017 at 12:10 pm

Over the last few columns, I have been making the case that ethics is as much a work of the imagination as it is of the intellect — we need to be able to imagine what a better world might look like before we can identify ways that might allowRead More

Occupy Wall Street, corporate zombies (By David Shankbone (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

The Ethicist: Zombie as Allegory

April 26, 2017 at 12:15 pm

I have spent the last two weeks binge watching The Walking Dead, a strangely gripping series set in a decimated United States after the zombie apocalypse. All the things that make life in 21st century North America comfortable and safe are lost: abandoned cars clog highways, making travel difficult forRead More

New Mystery section, Barnes & Noble via Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/328129522828199985/)

The Ethicist: Murder Mysteries & Moral Imagination

March 29, 2017 at 12:10 pm

In last month’s column, I argued, first, that ethics is concerned not with the world that we actually live in, but with the world that we ought to construct together–with, that is to say, the imaginary world that does not yet exist, but which we might yet create if weRead More

The Ethicist: Detectives, Spies, Zombies & Ethics

The Ethicist: Detectives, Spies, Zombies & Ethics

March 1, 2017 at 12:50 pm

The world we find ourselves in today is often difficult, sometimes frightening and frequently disturbing. It’s hard to watch the evening news and then sleep well at night or even follow our Facebook newsfeeds without realizing that our friends have sharply divergent and incompatible political views which mirror the disagreementsRead More