Consider the following case. Sikes, walking home late one evening, comes across an envelope containing a thousand pounds outside a neighbour’s house. He’s pretty sure it belongs to the neighbour, as she’d told him she would be withdrawing the money from the bank to buy a new wheelchair for her disabled mother. It is clear to Sikes that no one is looking, so he scoops up the envelope and enters his own house. To most of us, this seems appalling behaviour. Sykes has selfishly put his own interests before those of his neighbour and her mother. Continue reading
The furore over Syria at the G20 meeting has distracted attention from the potentially highly significant agreement by the leaders of the world’s largest economies to support an ‘ambitious and comprehensive’ plan to address the massive global problem of multinational corporations’ failure to pay tax where they earn it, using transfer pricing and other methods to pay lower tax elsewhere or none at all. Continue reading
Ed Vaizey, the culture minister, recently put an export ban on a ring once owned by Jane Austen, bought legitimately by the US singer Kelly Clarkson at auction last year.
Why? Because, apparently, the ring is too important a part of our literary history to go abroad. Continue reading
Michael Gove, the UK Education Secretary, recently proposed that 5-7-year-olds in British primary schools should be taught about the ‘concept of a nation’. This proposal, along with several others, it seems, is to be dropped. So unfortunately I will not be able to send the following story to Mr Gove for possible inclusion in his new syllabus. But here is an updated version of it anyway.
Many years ago, a sailing ship carrying two-hundred people sank in a storm. Fortunately, no one drowned. The people managed to swim to two different islands, one hundred on one, one hundred on the other. Continue reading
On 9 May 2013, Salla Sariola, from ETHOX, gave a fascinating talk at the St Cross Ethics Seminar, based on work done collaboratively with Bob Simpson (Durham). The presentation focused on the large number of self-poisonings which have been taking place in Sri Lanka, often using lethal agricultural pesticides and herbicides unavailable in many developed countries. This presentation is now available as a podcast at the bottom right of the Oxford Uehiro Centre main webpage. Continue reading
On the evening of Thursday 7 February, Jeff McMahan, Honorary Fellow of the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics and Professor Philosophy at Rutgers University, delivered an insightful and fascinating Astor Lecture at the University of Oxford.
McMahan’s topic was the relatively underdiscussed question of the extent to which states are morally entitled to resist what he called ‘lesser aggressors’, who are seeking not to take over the state in question or to inflict major harm or damage, but some lesser goal, such as control over some relatively insignificant piece of territory. McMahan mentioned the Argentinian invasion of the Falklands Islands as a possible example. Continue reading