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AuthorShakked Noy

Author Archive: Shakked Noy

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October 16, 2017

Few ideas are as divisive as “moral relativism” — the belief that morality, rather than being a universal constant, varies from context to context. Moral relativism has never enjoyed widespread support in academic philosophy, but it has had a few very prominent defenders — among them Gilbert Harman, and Bernard Williams, widely considered one of […]

October 2, 2017

Can an act be morally wrong even though it leaves no one worse off? Imagine that there is a large quantity of radioactive waste that we have to deal with. We have two options: spend some money to contain it permanently, or build a cheaper, temporary shelter which will deteriorate over the next couple of […]

September 18, 2017

The knowledge of philosophy that exists in Western societies tends to be tragically Eurocentric, and not many people are aware of the rich philosophical traditions that exist in other cultures. For example, most people associate the concept of the “state of nature” with Thomas Hobbes, an English philosopher from the 17th century (even if you […]

August 21, 2017

It’s not often that a large majority of philosophers come to agree on controversial topics. And when it does happen, it’s usually a case of “negative progress” — agreement that a particular philosophical position is bad, and should be rejected. This sort of progress typically creates a great deal more disagreement, rather than solving anything. […]

August 7, 2017

Let’s imagine for a moment that God is creating the universe. In an instant, God determines all of the physical facts about the universe, down to the exact position of every single atom. The question now is — is God done? That is to say, has God created everything that exists? “Physicalists” would say yes. […]

July 24, 2017

In what will come as a surprise to no one, it turns out that the concept of evil is pretty problematic — in more ways than one. The aptly-named “Problem of Evil”, originally formulated by the Ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus, remains one of the most famous objections to the existence of a benevolent God. The […]

June 14, 2017

What is morality? Is it objective or subjective? Does it vary between cultures or is it universal? Does it even exist? According to a 2009 PhilPapers Survey, 56% of the world’s professional philosophers favour “moral realism” — the position that objective moral facts exist and govern our everyday lives. Some readers may find this number […]

May 22, 2017

What does it mean to possess true freedom? Although we traditionally believe that freedom consists in protection from direct restrictions on our actions, some philosophers believe that this conception does not adequately capture what we mean by “freedom.” Elizabeth Anderson provides an illuminating example: consider two alternative societies, one that lacks traffic lights and traffic […]

May 8, 2017

If I asked you to list people who really hate sand, you might start with Anakin Skywalker. But you should certainly also include Eubulides of Miletus, the Greek logician who invented the Sorites Paradox, or, more charmingly, the “Paradox of the Heap.” Eubulides asks you to agree with the following three intuitive statements: One grain […]