Debates: Philosophy

24 Nov 2015

In many countries around the world individuals are free to choose to vote or not to vote, while in other countries (Australia, a couple cantons in Switzerland, Belgium and Singapore , for example) it is compulsory for citizens to vote.  Punishment for non-voting can vary from a...

23 Sep 2015

Labour, together with the Conservatives one of the two parties that dominate UK politics, is traditionally a left of centre party but has, since the mid 1990s been a centrist party rebranded as ‘New Labour’. The Labour party has however lost the last two elections; in 2010 under...

23 Sep 2015

Anarchism is an ideology that believes that the state is an undesirable and unnecessary. Whilst a 'descent into anarchy' can be used in modern language to describe a decline towards a state of chaos, anarchists believe that a stateless society would be a much better place to live; they...

23 Sep 2015

“Libertarianism, in the strict sense, is the moral view that agents initially fully own themselves and have certain moral powers to acquire property rights in external things. In a looser sense, libertarianism is any view that approximates the strict view.”...

23 Sep 2015

The issue of big versus small government is a significant in the election campaigns of many countries – and has recently been the subject of many hysterical pronouncements in the US. In reality no incoming government does that much to change the overall size of government as there are, in...

23 Sep 2015

This article will focus on some of the disagreements between capitalists and socialists, the debate will be located in a loose general framework between these two viewpoints and illustrate a couple of the most common propositional and counterarguments in the discourse. The core of the capitalist...

23 Sep 2015

Tactical note: One of the difficulties with any debate relating to ideology is that, to put it mildly, they raise definitional problems. Capitalism is relatively easy although certainly Smith would be unlikely to recognise the actions of the red in tooth and claw Capitalists of modern banking....

7 Sep 2015

In the wake of the shocking events of 11 September 2001, terrorism and the “war on terror” became the number one issue for the US government. But terrorism has a far longer, more global history.

Political, religious and national/ethnic groups have resorted to violence to pursue their...

2 Sep 2015

Assisted suicide is “Suicide accomplished with the aid of another person, especially a physician.”[1] It is sometimes used interchangeably with euthanasia “The act or practice of ending the life of an individual suffering from a terminal illness or...

26 Aug 2015

The issue of abortion is one of the most contentious, and emotive dilemmas faced by modern societies. The question is whether one should allow the termination of a pregnancy. For some, the question is even more fundamental: at what stage is the embryo or fetus in the uterus to be regarded as a...

26 Aug 2015

In this debate "testing" should be defined as all testing on animals including, medical research, cosmetics, toxicology testing, and psychological research involving animal subjects. Most existing bans on animal research, when they have been implemented, have involved some form of disciplinary...

28 Mar 2014

This issue is about late-term abortions, in the second and third trimesters. At least 90% of abortions are performed in the first trimester, when other procedures are more appropriate. In partial-birth abortion (PBA), also known as Dilation and Extraction (D&X), the woman's cervix is dilated...

26 Mar 2014

Capital punishment is always controversial: for that reason, it is commonly used as a training debate. However, on the international level, its use in Africa is not a matter of debate as much as it is in the USA (the last Western highly developed democracy to maintain capital punishment), or...

11 Mar 2014

Affirmative action (or positive discrimination) is the use of different standards for assessing different groups of people, so as to help a group that has historically been at a disadvantage.[1][2] In an...

6 Mar 2014

This debate is not about states limiting or banning people from having children. Nor is it about individuals who, for medical reasons, are unable to have babies. Instead, the house may be understood as people, couples or just women. The debate will therefore focus on pros and cons of individuals...

23 Jan 2014

Imagine a train track with five people tied to it. To the side there is another track with one person tied to it. A train is heading straight down the line towards the five people and is going too fast to stop. There is a lever next to you which would change the course of the train and divert it...

7 Jan 2014

There have been very few human societies in which no meat or fish are eaten, although in some parts of the world the normal diet is made up largely of staple foods such as rice, with meat and fish being relatively rare additions; this has often been due to poverty rather than choice. In modern...

17 Sep 2013

The events of September 11th 2001 resulted in governments all over the world taking extraordinary measures to enhance the security of their citizens. Whether this was justified or not is yet another flashpoint in the age old battle of liberty versus security.

In the US, new security...

12 Sep 2013

War is always evil, but some thinkers have maintained that under limited circumstances it may be the lesser evil. From Cicero to St Augustine, Thomas Aquinas to Hugo Grotius, philosophers and theologians have proposed numerous criteria for determining if a war is just. According to contemporary...

12 Sep 2013

Torture involves the use of intimidation, humiliation, discomfort and pain to extract information and confessions from prisoners and suspects held by the state. Debates on torture usually focus on its use by state actors – groups or individuals who have been given the right to use force and...

12 Sep 2013

Assassination can be defined as the targeted killing of an individual for political reasons in peacetime. It can be undertaken by individual citizens, or by the agents of another state, but in either case it takes place without any legal process. Assassinating a dictator is often considered in...

4 Sep 2013

Organ donations are one of the most vital steps of progress made in the field of medicine. Where the failure of a vital organ previously would lead to a person’s imminent death, there is a chance today of saving lives by transplanting hearts, kidneys, livers etc. However, in the case of...

28 Jun 2013

There are two relatively new technological methods of achieving the goal of embryonic gender selection, which has for so long been the stuff of science fiction. These are genetic diagnosis, in which embryos created in a test-tube are analysed before being implanted in the womb, and the MicroSort...

28 Jun 2013

The question of the best way to raise children is one which is widely debated in all liberal democracies. It is also commonly believed that decisions regarding childcare should be left to parents in the private sphere of the home. Typically, states become involved in questions concerning...

26 Apr 2013

Capital punishment is the sentence of death, or practice of execution, handed down as punishment for a criminal offence. It can only be used by a state, after a proper legal trial. The United Nations in 2008 adopted a resolution (62/149) calling for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty,...

22 Apr 2013

Imagine that one day you come across five people in immediate and mortal peril.  You and you alone can save them, but doing so will kill one other person.  For instance, five people may be in path of an out-of-control trolley that could be diverted onto a track where there is only one...

20 Mar 2013

The issue of when a child is mature enough to consent to various decisions is a complicated one and this debate focusses on just one part; those decisions that relate to their medical well-being. There are a number of areas where the consent of parents is required – surgery, transplants,...

6 Mar 2013

The ideal of participatory democracy is to give ordinary citizens the possibility of participating in the public decision-making. The very idea of democracy has changed significantly from the ancient Greek direct democracies to the dominant form of liberal representative democracy existing today...

4 Mar 2013

Limiting the term in office served by elected politicians has been a controversial issue in a many countries since the early 1990s, although not for the same reason. In a number of countries, for example most of Latin America, politicians can only serve one term at a time in an elected office....

7 Dec 2012

Freedom of speech is often considered to be one of the most basic tenets of democracy. As a fundamental right it is enshrined in documents such as the Bill of Rights in the United States, the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, and the European Convention on Human Rights: Congress shall...