Tag Archives: utilitarianism

Axiology, Morality, Law

I. Philosopher Amanda Askell questions the practice of moral offsetting. Offsetting is where you compensate for a bad thing by doing a good thing, then consider yourself even. For example, an environmentalist takes a carbon-belching plane flight, then pays to … Continue reading

The Lizard People Of Alpha Draconis 1 Decided To Build An Ansible

I. The lizard people of Alpha Draconis 1 decided to build an ansible. The transmitter was a colossal tower of silksteel, doorless and windowless. Inside were millions of modular silksteel cubes, each filled with beetles, a different species in every … Continue reading

Survey Results: Suffering Vs. Oblivion

[Content warning: suffering, oblivion] Every so often, someone on Reddit realizes that about half of people wipe themselves with toilet paper sitting down, and the other half do it standing up. This discovery is followed by horror on both sides … Continue reading

Nefarious Nefazodone And Flashy Rare Side Effects

[Epistemic status: I am still in training. I am not an expert on drugs. This is poorly-informed speculation about drugs and it should not be taken seriously without further research. Nothing in this post is medical advice.] I. Which is … Continue reading

Marijuana: Much More Than You Wanted To Know

This month I work on my hospital’s Substance Abuse Team, which means we treat people who have been hospitalized for alcohol or drug-related problems and then gingerly suggest that maybe they should use drugs a little less. The two doctors … Continue reading

Military Strikes Are An Extremely Cheap Way To Help Foreigners

…at least potentially. Lately a bunch of my Facebook friends have been sharing the Slate article Military Strikes Are An Extremely Expensive Way To Help Foreigners, which is too bad because it’s super super wrong. It is wrong both in … Continue reading

Newtonian Ethics

We often refer to morality as being a force; for example, some charity is “a force for good” or some argument “has great moral force”. But which force is it? Consider the possibility that it is gravity. In statements like … Continue reading

If It’s Worth Doing, It’s Worth Doing With Made-Up Statistics

I do not believe that the utility weights I worked on last week – the ones that say living in North Korea is 37% as good as living in the First World – are objectively correct or correspond to any … Continue reading

Utility Weight Results

[Warning: The following post contains statistics done at 4 AM and not double-checked.] By far the most interesting result from my utility and QALY survey earlier was the striking last name imbalance in readers of this blog. 93 people took … Continue reading