On the next Philosophy in Action Radio, I'll answer questions on blaming crime victims, the validity of concealed carry permits, hijacking Ayn Rand's ideas, and more. The live broadcast begins at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 21 September 2014. If you can't attend live, be sure to listen to the podcast later.


Negligence

  • Q&A: Compulsory Vaccination: 3 Aug 2014, Question 1
  • Question: Should the government mandate vaccination? Advocates of free markets often disagree about whether vaccines are safe, effective, and necessary – and whether they could be justly mandated by law. One problem is that the refusal to vaccinate oneself might put others at risk. Not everyone can be vaccinated, and some people who are vaccinated don't develop immunity. However, when the vast majority of people are vaccinated, that provides "herd immunity" to people who don't have immunity. People who choose not to be vaccinated degrade that herd immunity and thereby put others at risk. Moreover, parents have to choose whether to vaccinate their children or not, and the failure to vaccinate is regarded as neglect by many people – on par with Christian Science parents refusing to give a sick child antibiotics. Given that, should vaccinations be mandated by the government? If so, under what circumstances? Or might people be held civilly liable for transmitting diseases? Or should vaccination be considered a purely private matter between individuals (and institutions)?

    Tags: Communication, Ethics, Free Society, Government, Health, Medicine, Negligence, Quarantine, Rights

  • Q&A: Drunk Driving in a Free Society: 22 Jun 2014, Question 2
  • Question: Should driving drunk be illegal in a free society? Should the government of a free society forbid and punish people for activities potentially harmful to others when they've impaired their judgment via drugs or alcohol? Basically, should driving or shooting a firearm while drunk be illegal? Or should such decisions be left entirely to the discretion of private property owners? Also, given that the government owns the roads today, are laws against drunk driving unjust?

    Tags: Alcohol/Drugs, Crime, Ethics, Free Society, Government, Law, Negligence, Rights, Risk, Torts

  • Q&A: Antibiotic Resistance in a Free Society: 17 Feb 2013, Question 2
  • Question: How would antibiotic resistance be handled in a free society? Bacteria acquire resistance to antibiotics by exposure to low doses of antibiotics. Such low doses may come from misuse of antibiotics, for example when taken to combat a cold or flu (which are viral infection against which antibiotics do nothing) or by not completing the full course as prescribed by a doctor. Antibiotics are indeed awesome drugs which have saved millions of lives. But resistant bacteria pose a serious health problem, often causing serious and difficult-to-treat illness in third parties. What would be the proper way to address this problem in a free society?

    Tags: Business, Capitalism, Charity, Free Society, Government, Health, Law, Medicine, Negligence, Rights, Torts

  • Q&A: Passing Genetic Diseases to Kids: 23 Sep 2012, Question 2
  • Question: Should people with severe genetic diseases take active measures to prevent passing the disease to their children? Some people have severe hereditary diseases – such as Huntington's or Multiple Sclerosis – that might be passed on to their biological children. If that happens, the child will be burdened with the disease later in life, perhaps suffering for years and dying young. Is it wrong for such people to conceive and merely hope for the best – rather than screening for the disease (and aborting if necessary), using donor eggs or sperm, or adopting? Are the parents who just hope for the best harming their future child? Are they violating their child's rights by refusing to take advantage of available technology for preventing the disease?

    Tags: Adult Children, Character, Children, Ethics, Health, Law, Medicine, Negligence, Non-identity Problem, Parenting, Rights, Torts

  • Q&A: Compensating the Victims of Your Negligence: 26 Feb 2012, Question 3
  • Question: What should you do for a person that you injured in a car accident that was your fault? Does a person have moral obligations – over and above any legal obligations – to the victim, since the accident was due to your own carelessness or mistake?

    Tags: Ethics, Law, Negligence


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