The Morality of Spreading Germs
Webcast Q&A: 15 May 2011, Question 1
I answered a question on the morality of spreading germs on 15 May 2011. You can listen to or download the podcast of just this question below – or check out the whole episode of Philosophy in Action Radio.
If you have a mild to moderate contagious disease, is it immoral to go about your ordinary business knowing that this will expose other people to the disease? I'm not talking about life-threatening illness here, nor am I talking about intentionally trying to get someone sick (like spitting in their food). I'm just talking about going to work, school, entertainment events, or scheduled appointments while you have an ordinary disease like a cold, flu, or strep throat. Is that moral?
My Answer, In Brief: Minor illnesses are a part of life; they're an ordinary and inherent risk of social interaction. People often have good reason to be out in society, even though sick, but the rationally selfish person doesn't want family, friends, co-workers, or even strangers sick, and so will take reasonable measures to prevent the spread of disease.
- Duration: 8:03
- Download: MP3 Segment (2.8 MB)
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About Philosophy in Action
I'm Dr. Diana Brickell. I'm a philosopher specializing in the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. I received my Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009. My book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame, is available for purchase in paperback and Kindle. The book defends the justice of moral praise and blame of persons using an Aristotelian theory of moral responsibility, thereby refuting Thomas Nagel's "problem of moral luck."
My radio show, Philosophy in Action Radio, broadcasts live over the internet on most Sunday mornings and some Thursday evenings. On Sunday mornings, I answer questions applying rational principles to the challenges of real life in a live hour-long show. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers co-hosts the show. On Thursday evenings, I interview an expert guest or discuss a topic of interest.
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I can be reached via e-mail to [email protected].