Crowdsourcing: I’m teaching a graduate seminar on Moral Indeterminacy in the Fall. I’d be interested in learning about ‘must reads’ and ‘must cover’ topics. Here is a draft description of the course:
It seems impermissible to kill one innocent person to save five other innocent people from being killed. At the same time, many people have the intuition that it may be permissible to kill one innocent person to save, e.g., one million people. Suppose that there is something to these intuitions. Is there a precise threshold when the act of killing an innocent person changes from impermissibility to permissibility, or is the boundary fuzzy? Is the source of this indeterminacy due to semantic vagueness in the term ‘permissibility’ or lack of adequate knowledge about what counts as permissible? Or does the indeterminacy stem from vagueness in the world? What is the difference between vagueness and indeterminacy? How should we go about deciding what to do when faced with a case of moral indeterminacy? In this seminar, we shall, among other things, critically review some of the most popular philosophical approaches to vagueness including semantic, epistemological, and ontological approaches; consider whether the source of moral indeterminacy may be different from non-moral indeterminacy; and apply these insights to normative issues such as the defensibility of threshold deontology and the problem of incommensurability in population ethics.
Many thanks in advance!