Monthly Archives: May 2013

In a lighter vein…

Philosophy pick up lines: 
“Let’s put the ‘sin’ back in ‘sinn und bedeutung.'”
“I’d like to make like G.E. Moore and use my two hands to prove to you that the external world exists.”
“How do you feel about the use/mention distinction? Because if you mention it, I’ll use it.”
“I’d like to modus your ponens.”
“I’m a mereologist. I’d like to discuss the relation between your part and my hole.”
“I’m a *very* hard determinist.”

Two thought experiments on the right to choose

Suppose you are admitted to a hospital with stomach pains. The doctors tell you they have found a tumor in your abdomen, and that they can remove it quickly and with almost no risk. However, the tumor produces an enzyme that can cure a very rare form of blindness. About five people are currently afflicted with this disorder. The tumor must remain in your body, growing, for about a year before the enzyme is ready for harvest. At the point when the tumor is ready, it will weigh close to twenty pounds and produce a number of side effects: fatigue, back pain, swelling, nausea, as well as a large protuberance in your abdomen. Does the government have a right to force you to keep the tumor in your body until it is ready for harvest so as to provide treatment for the five blind people? What if the five blind people will die within two years if they do not receive this treatment?

Suppose that one of the most popular ways for people to bond is to play tennis by an open waterway. When young people are friendly, they often do this, married couples do it regularly, and it is considered an important meaning-bestowing aspect of interpersonal interaction and a sign of emotional closeness, though it is also tremendously fun, and can be done with even casual acquaintances, if so desired. However, a minority of the population can be afflicted with a growth on the shoulder from playing this game. Over half of the population is immune to this disorder, and has no worries when playing tennis by an open waterway. Those who are susceptible can take some precautions to prevent it, but none of them are foolproof. The growth can be quickly and easily removed if it is caught early enough, however, if left unchecked, it grows, inhibiting movement. Further, if left untreated for a year, a human infant will emerge from the growth. Is it ethically reasonable to remove the growth upon first detecting it?