Nobody has to force a smile for someone they resent. Continue reading Resentment Up, Gratitude Down
Common sense dictates, then, that sainthood wouldn’t be a good thing. This suggests, for Wolf, that a constraint on morality is not that one be a moral saint. If the point of morality is to live an excellent life, and being a moral saint would make such a life impossible, then morality doesn’t dictate that one be a saint. There is just more to life than being moral, and Wolf’s essay reminds us that we would all be better off to ourselves remember that fact. Continue reading Moral Saints
The virtue theorists holds that what matters for an individual, morally speaking, is manifesting a virtuous character, not maximizing consequences or acting from duty. A character trait is some disposition a person has to act in one way or another, independent of the situation they are involved in. For example, a courageous person will act in the face of fear in all situations where it is called for. If someone only acted in the face of fear in their class but never in sports games, it might be hard to call that person courageous — though you might say they are trying to be. Continue reading Virtue Ethics
Here I will offer a defense of the right to privacy in terms of a check on power. Mass surveillance, I contend, erodes the citizenry’s ability to maintain what I’ll call a citizen image with respect to the state, and that this is problematic even if the state is operating benevolently. When there is an asymmetry between how much the state knows about the citizenry and the citizenry about the state — such that the asymmetry is in the state’s favor — the citizenry loses the capacity to bluff the government. This allows for easier state-intervention in the citizen’s lives, which everyone ought to be concerned about. Continue reading Mass Surveillance and the Citizen Image
In the Preamble to the Declaration of Human Rights it says, Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world…” After the World Wars, the United Nations wrote this first line with the intent of preventing the sort of horrors that were endured during the global wars. But where did the idea of rights originate? What is their philosophical grounding? Continue reading Deontology
There is a strain of thought that is common to many: the right thing to do in any circumstance is to maximize utility for the greatest number of people. Of course, not many people use the umbrella term utility, but rather they tend to say “happiness” or “pleasures.” Utility is a placeholder for some good that one wants to maximize. The theory that the moral, or right, thing to do in any situation is to maximize utility for the greatest number of people is known as utilitarianism. Continue reading Utilitarianism
What I submit is that to be inauthentic is to say you care about those normatively closest to you but to act for the approval of those normatively distant. In this sense, it is to care about those furthest from you, instead of those closest. What results, I submit, is an individual who has a mismatch between his public and private images. The individual appears great to those furthest from him, but in his private image — e.g with his family — he appears poorly. Harold Langston had an excellent image with his customers, but not with Jamie. Continue reading Authenticity, Fame, and Credentials
After taking a few puffs, a short yet gangly woman in her early fifties appeared, walking in my direction. As she approached, she glared at me and slowed her pace, squinting her eyes and furrowing her brow. Continue reading See Something? Don’t Say Anything.