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Showing posts from April, 2019

Agonizing over Ethics

Mind you, calling ethics ‘agonizing’ maybe puts the thing on the wrong footing. Because this book, the follow-up to 101 Philosophy Problems, is great fun. It surprised my very shrewd Routledge editor, Tony, who hesitated over the idea saying that hardly any one read ethics and we didn’t want to tie 101 Philosophy Problems to a lead balloon.

But as anyone who has read both books will know, there’s plenty of overlap between a philosophy problem and an ethical dilemma. The thinking is the same and if presented as riddles, they can appeal to the same audience. Ethics is about choices which matter, and choices which matter are dilemmas. the Greek word means 'two horns'. ... But ethics is a deep well, and once you start to lower the bucket, there comes no obvious jolt to tell you that at last it has reached the bottom. Actually, despite Tony's initial doubts, 101 Ethical Dilemmas went on to be one of my most successful titles, selling I think about 150 000 copies and going agai…

Arguing about Nuclear Power

2012 was the year my book on nuclear power, or to be precise energy economics, came out. Put that way, it sounds technical, and quite different from philosophy ‘as it is normally known’ - but I think the book fits quite well within that broad sweep of social science which has philosophy at its heart.

Anyway, here is a book that looks a hot issues in energy politics, quite a lot at economics, a bit at climate science, and definitely includes plenty of bad arguments. Not mine! All those rotten arguments produced by the nuclear lobby, and their many supporters. We call them the seven nuclear myths.

The book followed the infamous Fukushima disaster, coming out just one year later, and naive readers might imagine I was 'inspired' (if that's the right word) to write it by the events in Japan. But not at all, books like this take years of research and I had started working on the project long before. In addition, I worked closely with my co-author, the brilliant but enigmatic An…