Monday, February 8, 2010

Social Evils

Philosophy of religion is on the brain after spending this weekend in San Antonio at Kvanvig's philosophy of religion conference. Met some wonderful people, spent some time with some people I already knew, saw some really fun talks, and didn't get the shiv during my talk. I'm a bit drained at the moment. I'll be using most of my brainpower to get ready for this weekend's conference at UT, but before switching gears I thought I'd note that Ted Poston has an interesting post on social evils over at Prosblogion. It seems to me that tragedy of the commons cases are nasty little cases to deal with in dealing with arguments from evil. There's something really disturbing to the idea that someone would set up a situation knowing that it will be populated with free individuals who, if they pursue their own self-interest within what seem to be the bounds of morality, will engage in collectively self-defeating behaviors. It worries me because there's really nothing to say to any of the individuals to help them improve their lots apart from telling them to jump off of a cliff or violate the rules of morality to save their families. I can see there being some good that comes of putting people in challenging situations where the virtuous person needs to develop their virtues to flourish, but that's not the sort of situation we face in these cases.

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