I love Bryan Caplan, but I think he’s is naïve if he thinks can be solved by “divide and conquer”. The “simple cases” he provides as examples of “microethics” are anything but.

“Start with simple cases where right and wrong are obvious. Is it wrong to punish an escaped murderer by torturing his infant child? Is it wrong to welsh on a $20 bet? Is it wrong to steal an alcoholic’s liquor? To refuse to give all your surplus income away to needy strangers? Then build from there.”

If only these were “obvious”!

Dilemmas in don’t necessarily become easier when the cardinality of the set of individuals involved shrinks!