I am ambivalent about publicising the fact that the chief research tool of us philosophers, the thought experiment, is little more than a game of ‘would you rather’ (you know, like Peter Griffin’s friends play on Family Guy), but I must register my dissent from this supposed new principle. I would definitely rather kill a little girl’s puppy because it would teach her a valuable lesson about mortality, and she can get many more puppies. While killing and old lady’s cat might be killing her only source of happiness in life, as well as her oldest and last remaining friend.
A previously unrecognized moral principle was discovered last week after ethicists at the University of Mesa realized that they would rather kill an old lady’s cat than a young girl’s puppy. The principle of moral naivete, as it is being called, justifies this preference by holding that the wrongness of inflicting a given harm can depend in part on the degree to which the victim has previously been exposed to such a harm.
The breakthrough came late Thursday as several members of the Moral Philosophy Research Group analyzed the results of a thought experiment they had run earlier in the night. “We were messing around, getting pretty sloshed,” explains Anthony Vega, the group’s principal investigator. “Basically it was just another night at The Lab,” a local bar and the group’s favorite venue for conducting research. Vega and several graduate students were playing Would You Rather, a party game and the standard research tool in…
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