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Archive for the ‘Ethics’ Category

rlclrose22

When discussing contemporary theories of global socioeconomic justice we should begin with John Rawls, if only for the fact that the two other philosophers whose views I shall be examining, Martha Nussbaum and Thomas Pogge, refer to Rawls frequently in their own arguments.  Rawls concept of “Justice as Fairness” is found in the first chapter of his book, A Theory of Justice where Rawls say that it “corresponds to the state of nature in the traditional theory of the social contract.” [1]   In this hypothetical state behind Rawls’ “veil of ignorance” no one knows in advance what their social, political, or economic position in life will be, which serves as a strong motivation to agree that everyone should have equal opportunities, resources and rights.   In order for this to play out realistically in a society, in addition to everyone having equal access to opportunities, any inequalities that do exist should benefit the economically and socially disadvantaged.

In a later book, The Law of Peoples,[2] Rawls seems to take a more pragmatic view of the situation describing a society of “well ordered” peoples made up of “liberal” societies constructed as constitutional democracies and “decent” hierarchical states that allow for political input from their citizens while acknowledging basic human rights.  “Outlaw” societies are those which are totalitarian in nature or severely “burdened” by economic or cultural failings preventing them from operating in democratic manner.

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Morality is a collective illusion foisted upon us by our genes”—Michael Ruse

[The following was presented to the UNF Philosophy Club on December 9, 2011. By no means is it complete and it is my intention to develop a more coherent paper arguing against the Moral Error Theory. I am open to any comments and criticisms]

As we approach the 35th year anniversary of John Mackie’s, Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong, it has become an appropriate time to commemorate the arguments put forth along with more recent ones, as well as some criticisms of his argument. Though, to begin outright with the arguments discussed may create some confusion. Therefore, in an attempt to avoid this confusion, it is essential that a brief account of the origins of the Moral Error Theory be given.

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Must an omnipotent and omniscient supernatural agency also be morally perfect?

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Amongst many, though certainly not all, political theorists and economists there is a tendency to believe that in the absence of government, mutually beneficial voluntary economic interactions- and hence property rights- cannot exist, or, if they can, do so only infrequently (see, for instance, Murphy and Nagel (2002); Buchanan (1975); Glaeser et al. (2001); Rand (1967) pp. 329 – 337; Friedman (2002); Epstein (1985) chapter 1; Macpherson (1962)). This view has as its philosophical progenitor Thomas Hobbes, who famously concludes in his masterpiece, Leviathan, that in order to allow for mutually beneficial economic interactions- and thus property rights- a civil authority with the power to create and enforce laws is first necessary. What Hobbes (and by implication most modern political theorists and economists) fails to address adequately is that agents can establish property holdings and facilitate economic transactions in the absence of a government via self-enforcing contracts, particularly given his starting assumptions.

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Jon Stewart on the unabashed Republican and Fox News bias against Ron Paul. Congressman Paul’s conspicuous treatment (or lack thereof) at the hands of conservative pundits and the conservative media is especially curious considering the popularity of the so-called Tea Party. Ron Paul, perhaps more than any other politician, has indefatigably and consistently argued for the well-established merits of the free market and the implementation of greater fiscal discipline in government operations & a revision of the Federal tax codes, causes to which Tea partiers have paid much lip service. As Stewart says, Ron Paul is Tea Party ‘patient zero’ who ‘planted the seed of the grass root movement.’ (I would argue that the Tea Party is no more libertarian than George W. Bush, but whatever.) It is only after the (what I consider) empty popular uprising termed the ‘Tea Party’ have politicians like Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, and Mitt Romney, to name only three, jumped on the limited government bandwagon.

Media bias is to be expected; in fact, I think, given the varied sources of information available, media bias is beneficial; but the mistreatment of Ron Paul by the conservative media is pernicious. Paul is by far the most- indeed, the only- ideologically consistent politician of the two primary parties, yet he is a man without a home, so to speak. As a libertarian (I would wager I am probably more militant in my libertarian political philosophy than Paul- at the end of the day, I self-identify as an anarcho-capitalist), I can empathize with Paul here. Libertarian social policy is, if consistent with its starting principles, far more ‘liberal’ than its progressive counterpart’s, while libertarian economic policies are far more consistent with free markets than the economic policies of social conservatives, and thus libertarians are often erroneously identified as ‘conservaitve’. Hence, social conservatives are apt to view libertarians as too liberal and liberals are apt to view libertarians as too conservative. Nevertheless, insofar as the media do not present Paul, despite his obvious popularity, on an even platform, they are snuffing out what ought to bloom into a fruitful philosophical discussion: broadly, the nature and proper role of government. Representative Paul does not equivocate, alter his views per the whim of his audience, and does not shy from poignant discourse. His counterparts, however, run the standard politician line and provide one empty slogan and ambiguous catchphrase after another. What the media are doing is unethical and really ought to be denounced.

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Hello Fellow Philosophers!

The inspiration for this post comes from a very weird source: a Russian serial. Unlike here in the US, most Russian movies that are made (and popularly watched) have multiple parts to them, usually running between 40 – 50 minutes per part, and consisting of anywhere from 4 to 24 parts. These are referred to as “serials” (or, at least, that is the translation from Russian), and are shown on TV.

In one of the ones that I finished just recently, there was an interesting moral dilemma that came up that I thought would be nice to post up here.

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I can’t believe that I am writing another post on Googlism (to see the first one, click here), but I just had to put this up when I found about this addition to this religion’s (if you could call it such) website.

Yes, they have the “10 Commandments of Google” posted on the site. And now, so does this blog.

Interestingly, while some of them are just plain laughable, other are actually . . . . . . . . . punctually appropriate. Really — just check them out for yourself (or continue reading — they’ll be at the end of this post).

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