Me place poder anunciar que la Rivista Italiana di Filosofia Analitica Junior ha publicado un artículo mío sobre la responsabilidad colectiva.

Os dejo aquí el link,


Joseph Roberts


I am pleased to announce that the Rivista Italiana di Filosofia Analitica Junior has recently published an article of mine on Collective Responsibility.

The link to the page is the following,

Best wishes,

Joseph Roberts


En éste breve trabajo divulgativo analizo argumentos a favor y en contra de la eutanasia. No está totalmente pulido pero, aun así, creo que es informativo.


Eutanasia Voluntaria

En éste breve escrito considero algunas posturas sobre la investigación médica sobre seres humanos. No es un texto argumentativo perfecto pero creo que, aun así, es informativo.




Investigación Médica

Me es grato anunciar que este ensayo ha sido premiado en el concurso de ensayo filosófico Premi Pensa Edición de 2013.  Aquí les adjunto el PDF y les animo a participar en la siguiente edición.


Tortura i Terror-Els TBS

Edward O. Wilson, in the concluding chapter of his seminal book On Human Nature, argues for the ethical implications of sociobiology. He argues certain primary values can be derived from our biological constitution generated through evolution. The third of his primary values are universal human rights. Whilst acceding that many of our evolutionary traits may be irrelevant, due to the fact they are “genetic adaptations to an environment largely vanished, the world of the ice-age hunter-gatherer.” (Wilson, 1978, p. 196), Wilson believes universal human rights to be in tune with our current social needs.

What is the biological explanation for universal human rights? Wilson believes it is due to our mammalian instincts: “Our societies are based in the mammalian plan: the individual strives for personal reproductive success foremost and that of his immediate kin secondarily; further grudging cooperation represents a compromise struck in order to enjoy the benefits of group membership.” (Wilson, 1978, p. 199) 

So far this would seem to explain how human rights might be defended in a european or western civilization. Membership of this group is contingent on the respect for human rights due to the fact these civilizations seem to have reached a ‘critical mass’ of pro-human rights individuals which make the freeloader who enjoys the benefits of them but does not respect them pay comply.

Peter Singer gives a similar example in The Expanding Circle when considering the possibility of group altruism:

“Let us say that one monkey grooms another monkey, searching for disease-carrying parasites; when it has finished it presents its own back to be groomed. If the genes that make this behavior probable are rare mutations, in most cases the altruistic monkey would find its kindness unrewarded.” (Singer, 2011, p. 19) 

In this case the ‘critical mass’ hasn’t been reached. The monkey who reaches out for group altruism is hard done by. However, if a greater number of monkeys have these ‘altruistic’ the outcome changes. Consider Singer’s second example:

“Now suppose that in one of these isolated groups it just happens that a lot of monkeys have genes leading them to initiate grooming exchanges. (In a small, closely related group, kin altruism might bring it about.) Then, as we have seen, those who reciprocate could be better off than those who do not. They will groom and be groomed, remaining healthy while other members of the group succumb to parasites.” (Singer, 2011, p.19)

Singer’s examples seem to explain how a system of group altruism could get started in small groups. However, how does this extend to universal human rights? Isn’t the group ‘all humans’ far to big to develop these group-altruistic tendencies? Wilson provides a compelling solution to this problem:

“We will accede to universal rights because power is too fluid in modern technological societies to circumvent this mammalian imperative; the long-term consequences of inequality will always be visibly dangerous to its temporary beneficiaries.” (Wilson, 1978, p. 199) 

Universal Human Rights will thus be accepted grudgingly by an ever expanding group as group altruism is accepted in the end. Wilson’s final chapter goes on to defend and pray for a new and heightened scientific culture, leaving aside the topic of human rights.

Peter Singer, however, gives Wilson’s proposal considerably more space by analyzing and interpreting the brief claims made in the final chapter of On Human Nature. Among other points Singer points out that Wilson’s claim does not prove we ought to uphold universal rights as this would involve a naturalistic fallacy. Singer’s point is fundamentally right.

Wilson correctly points out that thanks to our culture we are able to shed those beliefs which are evolutionary products yet are no longer useful due to the change of environment (Wilson, 1978, p. 208). Singer interprets this claim as meaning our natural preference toward those close to us is one such belief. That is it could be rejected through reasoning, substituting this belief for a more universal conception.

This substitution, due to the naturalistic fallacy, isn’t binding either. It is merely a morally arbitrary change in behavior responding to evolutionary criteria. Singer points out Darwin had no intention of his theory being interpreted morally, the progress described in darwinian evolution is not moral progress, just the progress of survival abilities.

What, then, could the Biological Evidence for human rights be? It isn’t a morally binding change, merely a change. How would that compel anyone to accept human rights who doesn’t currently accept them? What new argument has Wilson uncovered?

Wilson seems to suggest accepting human rights is an evolutionary stable strategy which, if true, would be a fairly compelling pragmatical argument for them. This argument, however, presupposes the perpetration of a common human gene pool is a desirable end in itself which is something some people would be willing to deny. The only prescriptive phrase which could be derived from this idea would be something along the lines of:

If you desire the continued existence of a common and large human gene pool expanding in to the future, embrace human rights.

Not everyone wants their DNA to be passed on, it is one of the ‘instincts’ which has been left behind. Perpetrating one’s genetic heritage is (thankfully) no longer the only reason why humans exist.

Wilson’s point, however, is useful in some way. It may be seen as countering cultural relativistic claims concerning the nature of human rights and morality in general. From Herodotus forward many thinkers have been inclined to argue that moral codes are no more than cultural impositions which vary from one society to another. They, thus, believe (rightly so I believe) in the plurality of moral codes. The diverse moral codes found in the world makes the plurality of moral codes a fact, a descriptive fact. The cultural relativist, however, takes one step further and holds that, due to the fact cultural codes are relative, they cannot be judged from outside that culture as to do so would be a cultural imposition.

This idea, present for centuries, has been updated and now centers much of it’s criticism on the notion of human rights. Human Rights are seen to be cultural impositions from the West and a new form of colonialism by some (more radical) cultural relativists.

However, if Wilson is right, human rights may have originated in the West but can hardly be considered a cultural imposition. They have a biological reason for existing.

En éste escrito se analiza la visión de Foucault sobre los autores y se aportan comentarios críticos a su formulación de la función autor.

¿Qué es un Autor?

Joseph Roberts

Aquí se cuelga un breve repaso de la obra ‘El Utilitarismo’. Es una pincelada de la filosofía moral de John Stuart Mill y algunas de las críticas que le han sido realizadas.

John Stuart Mill


Me es grato anunciar que este ensayo ha sido premiado en la edición número XXXII  del premio Arnau de Vilanova convocado por el Col·legi Oficial de Doctors i Llicenciats en Filosofia i Lletres i en Ciències de Catalunya.

Debido a su extensión cuelgo tanto el Abstract como el Ensayo completo.

Abstract Aborto

La Moralidad del Aborto y La legislación Española

Joseph Roberts

En este texto se analizan las afirmaciones que Nietzsche realiza en su famoso texto «La verdad y mentira en sentido extramoral», la interpretación que hace de ellas Foucault y los argumentos a favor del Realismo Científico. Las afirmaciones de Nietzsche, tan metafóricas y sugerentes, son tomadas como una propuesta seria sobre la naturaleza del conocimiento. Al adoptar ésta postura vemos que el análisis de Nietzsche no  es correcto, por sugerente e interesante que sea.

Sobre Verdad y Mentira en Sentido Extramoral y El “No Miracles Argument”

En este post se comenta el principio expuesto en la famosa obra Sobre la Libertad de John Stuart Mill. Este principio pretende limitar la intervención social y estatal sobre la libertad del individuo, garantizándole así una esfera de acción propia.

Mill-Sobre la Libertad