Driverless Cars

Here are a couple resources sent my way from a current student (thanks Kolby!) who came across them while further researching a thought experiment we covered one day in class…


Driverless cars pose a quandary when it comes to safety. These autonomous vehicles are programmed with a set of safety rules, and it is not hard to construct a scenario in which those rules come into conflict with each other. Suppose a driverless car must either hit a pedestrian or swerve in such a way that it crashes and harms its passengers. What should it be instructed to do?


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Fallacy: Moving the goal post

A fallacy at stake

Special pleading / moving the goal post

Case study

See video above. Original video @ CNN.


Several issues are raised in this discussion. One by one:

  • What is the question at stake?
  • What position does each individual take in response to that question?
  • What standard or value does each position appeal to?
  • Is the standard being appealed to change?
  • If yes, when and how?


  • What words does Tapper put in Giuliani’s mouth?
  • Vice versa?
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Colin Powell’s Emails

This clip can be used to motivate a discussion about ethical decision making, and different standards at stake in a particular decision.

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Is Trump Being Asked the Right Questions?


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Necessary & Sufficient Conditions Example: “Tax Write Off”

What are the necessary conditions for qualifying an item of clothing as a tax write off? Or for qualifying a vacation trip as a tax write off? I.e., what three conditions are required in each case?

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The Illusion of Free Will in RoboCop

Posted in Metaphysics | Leave a comment

Conceptual Analysis: “Real Robbers”

Sent to me by a former student, Natali:

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Trolley Humor

Sent to me by Jennifer, a student in my Spring 2016 Ethics class at CSCC.


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Premises, Assumptions, Conclusions

This brought to my attention by Madison, a student in one of my Ethics classes…

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Cultural Relativism & Female Genital Mutilation

Is Cultural Relativism a good standard for ethical decision making? See what you think after listening to this story.



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