13 found
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  1. A Review and Systematization of the Trolley Problem.Stijn Bruers & Johan Braeckman - 2014 - Philosophia 42 (2):251-269.
    The trolley problem, first described by Foot (1967) and Thomson (The Monist, 59, 204–217, 1976), is one of the most famous and influential thought experiments in deontological ethics. The general story is that a runaway trolley is threatening the lives of five people. Doing nothing will result in the death of those persons, but acting in order to save those persons would unavoidably result in the death of another, sixth person. It appears that, depending on the situation, we have different (...)
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  2. In Defense of Eating Vegan.Stijn Bruers - 2015 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 28 (4):705-717.
    In his article ‘In Defense of Eating Meat’, Timothy Hsiao argued that sentience is not sufficient for moral status, that the pain experienced by an animal is bad but not morally bad, that the nutritional interests of humans trump the interests of animals and that eating meat is permissible. In this article I explore the strengths and weaknesses of Hsiao’s argument, clarify some issues and argue that eating meat is likely in conflict with some of our strongest moral intuitions.
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  3. On a Failed Defense of Factory Farming.Stephen Puryear, Stijn Bruers & László Erdős - 2017 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 30 (2):311-323.
    Timothy Hsiao attempts to defend industrial animal farming by arguing that it is not inherently cruel. We raise three main objections to his defense. First, his argument rests on a misunderstanding of the nature of cruelty. Second, his conclusion, though technically true, is so weak as to be of virtually no moral significance or interest. Third, his contention that animals lack moral standing, and thus that mistreating them is wrong only insofar as it makes one more disposed to mistreat other (...)
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  4. The Core Argument for Veganism.Stijn Bruers - 2015 - Philosophia 43 (2):271-290.
    This article presents an argument for veganism, using a formal-axiomatic approach: a list of twenty axioms are explicitly stated. These axioms are all necessary conditions to derive the conclusion that veganism is a moral duty. The presented argument is a minimalist or core argument for veganism, because it is as parsimonious as possible, using the weakest conditions, the narrowest definitions, the most reliable empirical facts and the minimal assumptions necessary to reach the conclusion. If someone does not accept the conclusion, (...)
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  5. Speciesism as a Moral Heuristic.Stijn Bruers - 2013 - Philosophia 41 (2):489-501.
    In the last decade, the study of moral heuristics has gained in importance. I argue that we can consider speciesism as a moral heuristic: an intuitive rule of thumb that substitutes a target attribute (that is difficult to detect, e.g. “having rationality”) for a heuristic attribute (that is easier to detect, e.g. “looking like a human being”). This speciesism heuristic misfires when applied to some atypical humans such as the mentally disabled, giving them rights although they lack rationality. But I (...)
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  6.  36
    In Search of Moral Illusions.Stijn Bruers - 2016 - Journal of Value Inquiry 50 (2):283-303.
  7.  48
    Can Deontological Principles Be Unified? Reflections on the Mere Means Principle.Stijn Bruers - 2016 - Philosophia 44 (2):407-422.
    The mere means principle says it is impermissible to treat someone as merely a means to someone else’s ends. I specify this principle with two conditions: a victim is used as merely a means if the victim does not want the treatment by the agent and the agent wants the presence of the victim’s body. This principle is a specification of the doctrine of double effect which is compatible with moral intuitions and with a restricted kind of libertarianism. An extension (...)
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  8.  7
    Discounting Utility Without Complaints: Avoiding the Demandingness of Classical Utilitarianism.Stijn Bruers - 2023 - International Journal of Philosophy 11 (3):87-95.
    Classical utilitarianism is very demanding and entails some counter-intuitive implications in moral dilemmas such as the trolley problem in deontological ethics and the repugnant conclusion in population ethics. This article presents how one specific modification of utilitarianism can avoid these counter-intuitive implications. In this modified utilitarian theory, called ‘discounted’ or ‘mild’ utilitarianism, people have a right to discount the utilities of others, under the condition that people whose utility is discounted cannot validly complain against such discounting. A complaint made by (...)
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  9.  8
    Unwanted Arbitrariness.Stijn Bruers - 2023 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 23 (68):199-219.
    I propose a new fundamental principle in ethics: everyone who makes a choice has to avoid unwanted arbitrariness as much as possible. Unwanted arbitrariness is defi ned as making a choice without following a rule, whereby the consequences of that choice cannot be consistently wanted by at least one person. Other formulations of this anti-arbitrariness principle are given and compared with very similar contractualist principles formulated by Kant, Rawls, Scanlon and Parfit. The structure of arbitrariness allows us to fi nd (...)
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  10.  39
    Population Ethics and Animal Farming.Stijn Bruers - 2022 - Environmental Ethics 44 (4):291-311.
    Is animal farming permissible when animals would have a positive welfare? The happy animal farming problem represent the paradigmatic problem in population ethics, because its simple structure introduces the most important complications of population ethics. Three new population ethical theories that avoid the counter-intuitive repugnant and sadistic conclusions are discussed and applied to the animal farming problem. Breeding farm animals would not be permissible according to these theories, except under some rather unrealistic conditions, such as those farm animals being so (...)
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  11.  83
    An Argument for Veganism.Stijn Bruers - 2016 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 78 (3):525-555.
    This article discusses the assumptions that are necessary to derive the conclusion that veganism - avoiding the use of animal products from conventional agriculture, hunting and fishing - is a moral duty. Using a formal-axiomatic framework, it is shown that twenty assumptions or axioms are sufficient to come to the conclusion. The argument is made as parsimonious as possible, using the weakest conditions, the most restrictive definitions and most reliable empirical facts. The argument assumes an antidiscrimination principle and a weak (...)
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  12.  32
    Speciesism, Arbitrariness and Moral Illusions.Stijn Bruers - 2020 - Philosophia 49 (3):957-975.
    Just as one line appears to be longer than another in an optical illusion, we can have a spontaneous moral judgment that one individual is more important than another. Sometimes such judgments can lead to moral illusions like speciesism and other kinds of discrimination. Moral illusions are persistent spontaneous judgments that violate our deepest moral values and distract us away from a rational, authentic ethic. They generate pseudo-ethics, similar to pseudoscience. The antidote against moral illusions is the ethical principle to (...)
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  13.  56
    Towards a coherent theory of animal equality.Stijn Bruers - 2014 - Between the Species 17 (1).
    In this article I want to construct in a simple and systematic way an ethical theory of animal equality. The goal is a consistent theory, containing a set of clear and coherent universalized ethical principles that best fits our strongest moral intuitions in all possible morally relevant situations that we can think of, without too many arbitrary elements. I demonstrate that impartiality with a level of risk aversion and empathy with a need for efficiency are two different approaches that both (...)
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