Friday, May 17, 2013

Special Issue on After-Birth Abortion

A Journal of Medical Ethics paper on 'after-birth abortion' caused quite a stir around a year (?) ago. While looking for something else, I just saw that the whole May 2013 issue seems to be devoted to a discussion of it and the issues that it raises (including not only abortion but also free speech). Sadly, I don't think my University library has an up to date subscription to JME, but a few pieces at least are Open Access. Worth a look I think.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Are Playoffs Lotteries?

Not content with penalty shootouts often, misleadingly, described as lotteries, the BBC now asks whether promotion playoffs - in which the teams finishing 3rd-6th compete in a mini knockout tournament for a third promotion spot - are also lotteries. The outcome, however, is decided by playing football, rather than drawing straws, so the obvious answer is no, not unless all football is a lottery. I wonder if this (lottery) is how BBC journalists decide what to write about...

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Nudge, Nudge

I discovered a 'new' (as in, new to me) weblog about nudging here, run by a group of geographers (mostly) from Aberystwyth. I've not thoroughly explored yet, but it looks interesting. Apparently, the term 'nudge' was suggested by the publisher. Perhaps this explains why Thaler and Sunstein (infamously) don't clearly define it...

This all came to my attention because one of the blog authors, Jessica Pykett, is speaking at Stirling next week.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Expatriate Voting

The UK disenfranchises expatriates who have lived abroad for 15 years or more. This policy has just been upheld by the ECHR. It seems reasonable to me.

To pick on some features cited in the story, as evidence of a close relationship with the UK, I don't see that having family in the UK or a UK bank account entitles one to a vote, or else many foreigners (who don't get to vote and probably shouldn't) would qualify for the franchise. Nor do I see why receipt of a British state pension should bring further entitlements, such as the franchise. Presumably the point is that this entitlement was accrued through years of contributions to Britain, but the veteran in question had the vote during those years of contribution. If he now no longer contributes to Britain, then still receiving a pension would seem more than enough - why should he get the vote as well?

Territory seems a pretty good basis for the franchise, since it is those within a territory who are primarily addressed and bound by the laws (though there are problems here with migration). If this is so, perhaps expatriates ought to be disenfranchised sooner. After all, if they're that close to the UK, why have they been living abroad for 15 years?

Friday, May 03, 2013

BSET 2013

Last year's British Society for Ethical Theory conference took place in Stirling and was very enjoyable. I don't expect to make this year's, since I'll have enough on my plate organising the Association for Legal and Social Philosophy conference (again in Stirling), but the BSET 2013 line-up has now been announced. It looks great!