Philosophy & Critical Thinking

Philosophy & Critical Thinking


Government Is Good, Professor Amy Believes

government December 10th, 2017

Professor Douglas J. Amy is a Professor of Politics at Mount Holyoke College. On this page, he writes a long and complete blog entitled “Government is Good: Capitalism Requires Government.” Based on my understanding of economics, politics, and the like, I would agree. He has allowed me to hit the highlights here in this blog (his words in blue). Herein you will find some good stuff, such as this quote about government from Professor Amy: “Americans need to realize that our economy has thrived not in spite of government, but in many ways because of government.” Along very similar lines, this time by a noted conservative, David Brooks: “The biggest threat to a healthy economy is not the socialists of campaign lore. It’s C.E.O.’s. It’s politically powerful crony capitalists who use their influence to create a stagnant corporate welfare state.” I for one am interested in a government more like European welfare states and social democracies. We need grassroots change so that government responds to the peoples’ needs, not moneyed interests. This is the progressive hope. Read further to hear plenty from Douglas J. Amy, Ph.D. and also from individuals such as Robert Reich, Joseph Stiglitz, Jared Bernstein, Ralph Nader, and Gar Alperovitz. Let us see if we can convince you.

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Christian Capitalism and American Ignorance

Christian December 5th, 2017

Did you know that 55% of Americans believe that Christianity was written into the Constitution and that the founding fathers wanted One Nation Under Jesus (which includes 75% of Republicans and Evangelicals) (USA Today)? It is true that Puritan pilgrims came here seeking religious freedom, and that today we are one of the most religious of industrialized nations. But the fact that the vast majority of Americans think we are and are supposed to be “a Christian nation” is disconcerting, for two reasons. One, we certainly are not; America has slowly come to accept that religious pluralism and toleration and separation of church and state are ideals worth striving for. Some of the founding fathers were deistic and not particularly religious. But perhaps even more so, how can we be considered a Christian nation when we have this level of political chicanery, poverty, militarism, materialism, and greed? Those counter-ideals are literally antithetical to the message we believe Jesus was trying to convey during his brief time on Earth. This is a blog about the ignorance many Americans have, and even court.

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American Dreamer: Henry A. Wallace Quotes

Henry A. Wallace quotes December 2nd, 2017

Henry A. Wallace, though little-known today, was a significant American progressive statesman, scientist, and vice-president of the United States. He was Franklin D. Roosevelt’s VP, and would have probably been elected president  if there wasn’t so much establishment Democratic political junk, McCarthyism, Cold War mentality, and red-baiting gripping the country in the post-war era. A book was written about him, and it is like 2.5″ thick. It’s called American Dreamer, by John C. Culver and John Hyde. It is full of details about his early life, his love of and major success with agricultural improvements in the early 20th century, and his political beliefs. He really was a kind of dreamer – he would often put principles over politics, and try above all to look out for average Americans. He wasn’t a “beltway” guy and didn’t play games. Wallace was one of America’s full-throated progressivea. This blog presents some of the best Henry A. Wallace quotes about values in the book American Dreamer.

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“Parallels”

December 1st, 2017

As this stanza shows, this poem is an attempt to discover the true nature of my existence, my being, my self.

Is there one constant, a part always the same?
Something I would take from one reality to another?
Who shall I thank, or conversely, who to blame?
Do I owe God, chance, society, freewill, or my mother?

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Siddhartha Gautama, Founder of Buddhism

Buddhism November 28th, 2017

Siddhartha in the ancient language of Magadhi means “one who has accomplished a goal.” This is a very fitting name for a very influential historical figure that is still shrouded in myth and legend — Siddhartha Gautama, also known as The Buddha. While we do know he existed, there is still a lot that we don’t know about him (and will never know). It has been over 2,500 years since The Buddha’s death, and to this day his insightful and inspirational message influences and motivates hundreds of millions of people every day. This is what living a life of value is all about: pursuing a path for oneself that is functional and fulfilling, while at the same time helping, loving, and guiding others the be the best possible versions of themselves. Let me share a bit more about Siddhartha Gautama, and then I will present some very interesting quotes by the man who literally invented Buddhism.

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The Multifaceted Self: Ethics, Politics & Psychology

the multifaceted self November 27th, 2017

I want to examine characteristics, demarcations, and aspects of the self vis-à-vis various groups and divisions within society. Hopefully doing so will shed some light on internal values and virtues, and the idea of a “values divide” between political ideologies, groups, states, philosophical orientations, religions, and so on. As well: wise as opposed to conventional (or, dare I say, wise as opposed to ignorant)! I have two guests I am eager to speak with about this intriguing topic. First, Alan Abramowitz, Ph.D., professor of political science at Emory University, and then Earle F. Zeigler, Ph.D. a very interesting polymath and wise old man who wrote many books, including A Way Out of Ethical Confusion: Untangling the Values Fiasco. I have many questions about the multifaceted self in society, but I want to be sure to take the opportunity to ask my guests questions about the philosophy of a good life I call “living a life of value.” 

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A Survey of Philosophy and Ethics

A Survey of Philosophy and Ethics November 27th, 2017

What is an “ethical theory”? What does it mean to have an ethical sense? How does a rational and responsible person go about making moral decisions? To help me understand such critical but esoteric questions, I am happy to speak with philosopher Jonathan Dolhenty, founder of The Radical Academy. Jon also favors a broad, or should I say liberal, education. He has been interested in philosophy since he was 14, but also studied political science and education, and has worked as a quantitative analyst, teacher, school administrator, editor, publisher, and corporate executive. As a person who studied social science rather than philosophy, I share a little bit of the intimidation and lack of interest that characterizes most people’s view of philosophy! Jon is here to clarify the topic a bit. Let’s get radical!

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Georges: Takei, Will, Orwell, Bush, & Santayana

George Takei Quotes November 24th, 2017

I happened to look up the commentator and author George Will to demonstrate to a friend that his use of the word “bathetic” was neat but counterproductive, because it is simply too esoteric. It apparently means “insincere, intense emotional display.” I indicated that it was of limited utility in communication because it was so rare that it was obscure, myopic. It reminded me of George Will. I began to look up Will quotes I imagine for the first time, and wow, he said some interesting things! Much was politically-right, but still, neat stuff. It led me to Star Trek pioneer and social activist, George Takei. I then added George Bush, deep thinker George Orwell, and philosopher extraordinaire George Santayana quotes. Voila! — a blog! I present to you quotes from the five George’s: George Will quotes, George W. Bush quotes, George Takei quotes, George Orwell quotes, and George Santayana quotes. They will make you laugh; they will make you sad. But they certainly will make you think.

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A Careful, Critical Look at America Since 9/11

America Since 9/11 November 20th, 2017

What were some of the effects of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States? Did it give cover for certain forces and cabals to alter America substantially? Have civil liberties been curtailed in subsequent years? Is it fair to call the U.S. “the land of the free”? Have we lost something by torturing, attacking, and jailing both citizens and non-citizens alike? If Lady Liberty had the ability to move, would she be covering her face or standing proud? What do we as citizens need to do to try to halt the slide into a surveillance state in which dissent is quelled and dissenters are dealt with unethically? To help me explore America since 9/11, I interviewed Christine Rose, a documentary filmmaker about her film Liberty Bound: The United States Since 9/11.

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Business Ethics: Doing the Right Thing (V&E-16)

business ethics November 17th, 2017

The goal today is to discuss business ethics, corporations, companies, non-profits, workplaces, and industry: what best practices are, which ethical principles are relevant, what can go wrong, what ought to happen, how corporations fit into the scheme of corporate social responsibility, how business ethics relates to sustainability, the “triple bottom line,” and the like. Ronald F. Duska, Ph.D. is my first partner in dialogue. He served as a past president and executive director of the Society of Business Ethics, and has published many books on this topic. Currently, he is an adjunct professor in the graduate business schools of St. Joseph’s and Villanova Universities. My second guest is Michael Boylan, Ph.D., the John J. McDonnell, Jr. Chair in Ethics as well as the philosophy department chair at Marymount University. In addition to books entitled Natural Rights and The Origins of Ancient Greek Science, he put one out last year named A Just Society – his manifesto on ethics and social-political philosophy.

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