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What Determines the Boundary of Civil Society?

Hume, Smith and the Justification of European Exploitation of Non-Europeans

Elias L. Khalil

Civil society consists of members obligated to respect each other's rights and, hence, trade with each other as equals. What determines the boundary, rather than the nature, of civil society? For Adam Smith, the boundary consists of humanity itself because it is determined by identification: humans identify with other humans because of common humanness. While Smith's theory can explain the emotions associated with justice (jubilance) and injustice (resentment), it provides a mushy ground for the boundary question: Why not extend the common identity to nonhuman animals? Or why not restrict the boundary to one's own dialect, ethnicity or race? For David Hume, the boundary need not consist of humanity itself because it is determined by self-interest: a European need not respect the property of outsiders such as Native Americans, if the European benefits more by exploiting them than including them in the European society. While Hume's theory can provide a solid ground for the boundary question, it cannot explain the emotions associated with justice. This paper suggests a framework that combines the strengths, and avoids the shortcomings, of Smith's and Hume's theories.

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More Than Trolleys

Plausible, Ethically Ambiguous Scenarios Likely to Be Encountered by Automated Vehicles

Noah Goodall

As the act of driving becomes increasingly automated, vehicles will encounter situations where different objectives of safety, mobility, and legality will come into conflict. These situations require a vehicle to compare relative values of different entities and objectives, where the action of the vehicle has a moral component. While discussion of these scenarios often focuses on the “trolley problem” thought experiment, these types of life-or-death moral dilemmas may be rare in practice. This article identifies four far more common examples of routine driving that require decisions with some level of ethical reasoning about how to distribute risk. These scenarios may be useful for automated vehicle developers in assessing vehicle safety and responding to potential future regulations, as well as for regulators in developing performance requirements.

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Jane Stadler

rhetorical and aesthetic techniques used by television to make emotive and ethical appeals to spectators differ in some important ways from those used by film. Iterative Ethics, Affect, and the Trolley Problem Plantinga likens stories to the trolley

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Carl Plantinga

way, screen stories differ from the philosopher's trolley problems, which are thought experiments designed to test our moral intuitions. The fact that screen stories are more fully narrated than trolley problems does not necessarily imply that screen

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Malcolm Turvey

. Greene supports his version of the dual-process theory with neuroscientific data about responses to ethical dilemmas known as trolley problems. In the first, so-called “footbridge dilemma,” people are asked whether they would push a heavy person off a

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Carl Plantinga

screen stories— The Hunger Games (Gary Ross, 2012) is the example I turn to in the book—are something like a philosopher's thought experiment or trolley problem, although there are key differences, as I detail in the chapter. A key feature here is an

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Sarah Richmond

? (Today, of course, the adjective is mildly offensive, but we are engaging with the language of 1943. Note that Thomson invented her ‘fat man’ variant of the trolley problem as recently as 1985!) The synonyms offered in a French thesaurus seemed to take me