Follow-Up to a Footnote On Philippa Foot and the Fat Man

Our previous post cited Philippa Foot‘s discussion of “the story, well known to philosophers, of the fat man stuck in the mouth of the cave”: A party of potholers has imprudently allowed the fat man to lead them as they make their way out of the cave, and he gets stuck, trapping the others behind […]

Foot and the Fat Man, Terrible Trolleys, and Threatening Tyrants

According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Thomas Aquinas is credited with introducing the principle of double effect in his discussion of the permissibility of self-defense in the Summa Theologica (II-II, Qu. 64, Art.7). Aquinas was struggling to reconcile the law of בא במחתרת with various Christian teachings that seem to forbid homicidal self-defense, as […]

Sin and Its Consequences

We have seen the midrashic criticism of Jacob’s insensitivity in his harsh response to Rachel’s desperate demand for him to provide her with children, and its declaration of the consequences for his descendants. This is quite reminiscent of Ramban’s celebrated, provocative indictment of Sarah’s oppression of Hagar, and Abraham’s tacit complicity therein, and his assertion […]