Applying Pascal’s Wager to Animal Ethics

Blaise Pascal (1623-62) was a French mathematician, physicist, philosopher, and Catholic theologian. One of his most influential contributions to the philosophy of religion is a philosophical argument known as Pascal’s wager. This idea was published posthumously in Pascal’s Pensées (“Thoughts”).  This post will describe how Pascal’s wager can be usefully applied to animal ethics, namely,…

View Post

The Complex Relationship Between Flying and Sustainable Tourism

Ecotourism, a term that emerged in the 1980s, refers to a niche segment of tourism in natural areas. According to David E. Fennell, “Ecotourism is a sustainable form of natural resource-based tourism that focuses primarily on experiencing and learning about nature, and which is ethically managed to be low-impact, non-consumptive, and locally-oriented (control, benefits, and…

View Post

Ethics in Psychedelic Therapy: The Promises and Pitfalls of Increased Suggestibility

Psychedelics are known to enhance suggestibility – in other words, the quality of being inclined to accept and act on the suggestions of others. (Interestingly, those who score high in trait conscientiousness – or being careful, diligent, efficient, and organised – are the most sensitive to this effect of psychedelics.) Psychedelic users are well aware…

View Post

Where Ecstasy Meets Power: The Unique Risks of MDMA Therapy

Several clinical trials have concluded that MDMA-assisted psychotherapy – utilised for the treatment of PTSD – is safe (as well as highly effective). But this doesn’t necessarily mean the treatment is risk-free.  MDMA therapy entails unique risks, and here I don’t mean concerns about possible neurotoxicity. The subject of MDMA’s neurotoxicity is complicated; while some…

View Post

Psychiatry’s Moral Dilemma: The Pros and Cons of a Mental Health Diagnosis

The decision to provide a mental health diagnosis to someone experiencing psychological distress – a range of troubling emotions, thoughts, and behaviours – often presents a moral dilemma. Of course, there may be an assumption among psychiatrists that diagnoses are, generally speaking, in a patient’s best interest, since they are intended to pinpoint what condition…

View Post