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Author Archive: Charles Foster

About Charles Foster

By Charles Foster It has been a terrible few months for moral philosophers – and for utilitarians in particular. Their relevance to public discourse has never been greater, but never have their analyses been so humiliatingly sidelined by policy makers across the world. The world’s governments are all, it seems, ruled by a rather crude […]

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By Charles Foster Cross posted from The Conversation To be clear, and in the hope of heading off some trolls, two observations. First: of course I don’t welcome the epidemic. It will cause death, worry, inconvenience and great physical and economic suffering. Lives and livelihoods will be destroyed. The burden will fall disproportionately on the […]

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By Charles Foster There are lots of big and clever books about epistemology. It’s a complex business. Although one can do some epistemology (some icy thinkers say all) without making any empirical claims about what the senses show (and hence how the senses work), such empirical claims are essential for the discipline to get any […]

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By Charles Foster Not everything matters equally. If academic ethics is to be useful – if, indeed, it is to be ethical – it should address itself more to the things that matter most than to things that matter less. It is hard to imagine a pair of sentences more uncontroversial – no, downright trite […]

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By Charles Foster Informed consent, in practice, is a bad joke. It’s a notion created by lawyers, and like many such notions it bears little relationship to the concerns that real humans have when they’re left to themselves, but it creates many artificial, lucrative, and expensive concerns. Of course there are a few clinical situations […]

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In a recent blog post on this site Dom Wilkinson, writing about the case of Vincent Lambert, said this: ‘If, as is claimed by Vincent’s wife, Vincent would not have wished to remain alive, then the wishes of his parents, of other doctors or of the Pope, are irrelevant. My views or your views on the […]

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By Charles Foster Statistically there is a good chance that I will ultimately develop dementia. It is one of the most feared conditions, but bring it on, I say. It will strip me of some of my precious memories and some of my cognitive function, but it will also strip me of many of the […]

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By Charles Foster Some odd alliances are being forged in this strange new world, I well remember, a few years ago, the open hostility shown by dreadlocked, shamanic, eco-warriors towards the Abrahamic monotheisms. They’d spit when they passed a church. The rhetoric of their distaste was predictable. The very notion of a creed was anathema […]

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By   Charles Foster Wrongful life cases (typically where a birth has resulted from a failed sterilisation procedure), used to be big business. The parents would sue the negligent steriliser for the costs of bringing up the unwanted child. There was always something distasteful about parents unwishing their child, and this distaste found legal expression […]

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By   Charles Foster Wrongful life cases (typically where a birth has resulted from a failed sterilisation procedure), used to be big business. The parents would sue the negligent steriliser for the costs of bringing up the unwanted child. There was always something distasteful about parents unwishing their child, and this distaste found legal expression […]

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