Treating Pets as Persons in Citizen Canine

David Grimm, journalist and editor at Science, has published a book about our increasingly personal connection to our pets. This worthwhile read is called Citizen Canine: Our Evolving Relationship with Cats and Dogs. A central theme is cats and dogs’ path to legal personhood. The book explores answers to two questions. Do cats and dogs …

Stop Saying Money Isn’t Speech

In McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down limits on the total amount an individual can contribute to political candidates, parties, and action committees. The 5–4 decision said that “aggregate limits” violate the First Amendment’s protection of political speech and political association. In contrast, “base limits” lawfully restrict how much an …

The Worst Possible Misery for Everyone is Bad (Reasoning)? – Part 1

Sam Harris’s “worst possible misery for everyone” argument (WPME, for short) attempts to defend this conclusion: Increases/decreases in the well-being of conscious creatures fully determine which states of the world are morally better/worse. The argument is named for its key premise: “The worst possible misery for everyone is bad.” In this post, I’ll lay out …

4 Ways to Win the Moral Landscape Challenge

Let me first say that this post’s title is a little misleading. The Moral Landscape Challenge refers to Sam Harris’s public invitation to refute, in no more than 1,000 words, the central thesis of his book, The Moral Landscape, in which he argues that science can answer moral questions. The prize for the best essay: $2,000 …