Archive for the ‘Applied Ethics’ Category

Here’s an interesting thought experiment from TPM. It’s essentially a variation on Philipa Foot’s well-known ‘trolley experiment’. Give it a go and see how consistent your morals are… Should you kill the fat man? Advertisements

Prof. Emily Jackson of the London School of Economics offers a perspective on euthanasia legislation in the UK.

Hello All Many thanks to everyone who contributed to today’s class – I thinnk Tooley’s paper is a provocative piece and so makes for a good discussion.  Those of you who gave Tooly a rough ride in class had some interesting ideas that are well worth pursuing…you might be on to something… Next week is a reading […]

UK teenager Hannah Jones has been receiving intensive medical treatment since the age of 4, when she was diagnosed with lukemia.  After six operations in the last two years, her heart still only works at 10% of normal capacity. She had now taken the decision to end her treatment, which she recently went to court […]

The Open University has recently begun a series of podcasts on applied ethics, with discussion from leading philosophers including Peter Singer, Michael Sandel, Thomas Scanlon, Mary Warnock, and Roger Scruton. You can subscribe at

Peter Singer expands on his analogy of the drowning child in this article at New Internationalist (April, 1997).

According to this report from BBC News, there is some evidence that in the UK families of Indian origin are aborting unborn foetuses simply because they are female. In Indian culture, it is held preferable to have sons since they bring money into the family and do not require a dowry. An estimated seven million […]

Should abortions be freely available?

At the start of his trial in December 2003, Meiwes said his motive for killing and eating his victim, Bernd Juergen Brandes, was born from a desire for this younger brother he never had – “someone to be part of me”. Armin posted an advertisement on the Internet, looking for a willing victim. The post […]

Lawrence Hinman’s ‘Ethics Updates’ site at contains many useful resources on a wide range of different normative theories and their application in different areas. There are Powerpoint presentations, video discussions and links to other resources.

Terri Schiavo


One of the most high-profile cases of euthanasia in recent years was that of American woman Terri Schiavo. She collapsed after a heart attack in 1990 and spent the next fifteen years in a coma. Terri was in’persistent vegetative stat’ (PVS) which meant that she not in a coma, but was unable to react to […]

Applied Ethics


We will be spending most of this term considering a number of problems in applied ethics, including suicide, abortion, euthanasia and poverty. Applied ethics is a matter of employing ethical theories in the attempt to solve real life problems. It does this by applying normative principles to existing cases or problems. Some of the main […]