Articles by: Rachel Haliburton

The Ethicist: Five Reasons to Tax the Rich (#1)

The Ethicist: Five Reasons to Tax the Rich (#1)

October 17, 2018 at 1:49 pm

Last month. I wrote about taxation, and observed that determining what levels of taxation are fair – and deciding who should pay the most taxes and who should pay the least – will always be substantially ethical decisions, and can never be solely economic or practical ones. While voices onRead More

Ethical Assertions vs. Statements of Fact

Ethical Assertions vs. Statements of Fact

September 19, 2018 at 12:06 pm

Earlier this summer, those of us living in Ontario suffered through a provincial election campaign filled with attack ads, ad hominem critiques, anger, angst and fear. Underlying the anger, angst and fear felt by a large percentage of the electorate was a queasy feeling that public services, particularly in theRead More

Woman shopping for baby formula, Singapore. (By ProjectManhattan. CC0, from Wikimedia Commons)

Ethical Shopping: Spending Money, Making Change

July 25, 2018 at 11:34 am

My neighbor and I recently paid a visit to a new distillery that has just opened up in Sudbury. The distillery, called Crosscut, is located in a very industrial part of an already industrial city and has tried to capture this industrial element in its tasting room: the floor isRead More

In the Next Generation episode "Darmok," Picard became stranded on a planet with a Tamarian captain named Dathon, whose species only spoke in metaphors, and attempted to learn his language. "Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra" was the crux of their communication. (Source: CBS)

The Ethicist: Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra

June 20, 2018 at 12:06 pm

As I write this column, I am struggling to make ethical sense of current events. How can politicians like Donald Trump shamelessly tell lie after lie, and still have a significant number of people willing to support them? How can men who make or act in sensitive and enlightened filmsRead...

By U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt Araceli Alarcon [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Ethicist: Moral Superiority at the Gym

May 16, 2018 at 11:50 am

One of the most interesting features of philosophy is that it forces practitioners to notice the extraordinary in the ordinary. Part of its charm lies in its power to make what we might be tempted to take for granted look strange and intriguing. For the philosopher, everything and anything isRead More

Source: 2045 Initiative

The Ethicist: Should I Become Immortal?

April 11, 2018 at 11:54 am

In the last two columns, I have been exploring Cartesian dualism and some of its consequences. This month, I want to consider an intriguing technological development that may emerge out of the marriage of Cartesian thinking and advances in computer technology. This is the claim made by some so-called “immortalists”Read More

The Ethicist: Taking Cartesian Dualism Too Far?

The Ethicist: Taking Cartesian Dualism Too Far?

March 14, 2018 at 9:36 am

Last month, I discussed Descartes’ thought experiment and its sharp separation between mind and body. This month, I want to look at a bizarre and ethically troubling proposal that arises as a consequence of this way of understanding ourselves: the head transplant operation that Italian physician Dr. Sergio Canavero claims thatRead More

Ideas You Didn’t Know You Had: Who Are You?

Ideas You Didn’t Know You Had: Who Are You?

February 14, 2018 at 12:06 pm

There is a common type of case study presented in many bioethics textbooks. It concerns a person (usually a woman, for some reason) who is suffering from somewhat advanced dementia. She is often described as having been someone who was highly intelligent, who had a professional career in which sheRead More

Emoticons by Freepik

The Ethicist: Why a Feeling Is Not an Argument

January 10, 2018 at 12:46 pm

Last month, I asked readers to consider the case of carnivorous Cleo, and her beloved feline friend, Hector, who ended up as her supper. I concluded by asking why it seems so wrong to eat Hector, especially if we are willing to eat other kinds of meat? This month, IRead More

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