Ethics & Morality

Ethics & Morality


Aristotle’s View of Humanity’s Highest Aspirations

humanity's highest aspirations September 15th, 2018

Aristotle is the grandfather of ethics and human flourishing; his book The Nicomachean Ethics has been a classic read in philosophy and ethics courses at universities since about 340 B.C.E. He studied with Plato and is largely credited with inventing logic and natural science. In this blog, I will share a brief outline of Aristotle’s first section entitled “The Human Good”, including a few quotations about humanity’s highest virtues.

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The Nature of Values According to Socrates

the nature of values according to Socrates September 8th, 2018

In 399 B.C.E., the year Socrates was put on trial in ancient Athens, he met a prosecutor (for lack of a better word) on the steps of the Court of Archon. His name was Euthyphro, and, astonishingly, he was prosecuting his very own father for murder. He felt it would be “pollution” to allow his father to go unpunished; a stain upon his good name. They get to talking, and soon Socrates has the arrogant man in his grasp. This blog is about the nature of values according to Socrates, which is essentially Socratic dialogue. The question being explored, specifically, is whether goodness is goodness because the Ancient Greek gods want it to be so, or do they see goodness when they look upward, just like we humans do?

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What is Wisdom? A Diverse Group of Skills

what is wisdom? September 1st, 2018

Second in a series called What is Wisdom?, this blog seeks to provide some more definition to the concept. Wisdom is one of those skills/values that is difficult to understand and to define. In the first segment of this series, I approached the question what is wisdom? by noting it is an ability to correctly predict outcomes. This second segment takes a cue from the noted philosopher Robert Nozick’s book The Examined Life; specifically, his twenty-third chapter entitled “What is Wisdom? Why Do Philosophers Love It So?”

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OF COURSE Healthcare is a Right!

health care is a right August 24th, 2018

There is a question about whether or not a citizen having health insurance adequate to cover most any operation or medical procedure that is needed or certainly affects the quality of life. You can hear it when a liberal and a libertarian discuss political philosophy and economics. One will say, “No one has a right to receive any good costing thousands of dollars from ‘society’ because they need to work for what they want and need. Everyone is responsible for themselves.” The other will retort “Every other industrialized nation in the world provides medical care to its citizens; it’s up there with a 40-hour work week (or less), maternity leave, and the right to unionize in the workplace.” I mostly side with the latter; I do believe that healthcare is a right. That is, I believe that everyone in the United States should have some form of health insurance, the least of which being some kind of single-payer system (e.g., Medicare). Here are my reasons, and I have some quotes indicating healthcare is a right to back me up.

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Podcasts on Values and Ethics Available Here

podcasts on values and ethics August 20th, 2018

Values of the Wise features 85 podcasts on values and ethics, such as interviews with experts on politics, sustainability, morality, personal growth, etc. If you want to hear conversations that philosophical thinker and adept interviewer Jason Merchey conducts with experts, thought leaders, authors, and wise individuals (in 45 minutes), look no further. 

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Acting Morally is About Deliberation & Practice

acting morally August 15th, 2018

As of this writing, what must be the most significant, most horrific, most appalling case of child molestation and cover-up by the Catholic Church just hit the papers. Grand jurors in Pennsylvania found that over seven decades 300 priests molested over 1,000 children. This is just beyond the pale. This is not a blog about the ineptitude or depravity of the Church of Rome, though, this is about making moral decisions, dealing with moral dilemmas, and acting morally when one faces a choice of two or more alternatives in the moral realm. In a word, What is the right thing to do?

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Cultivating Virtue & Living Wisely

virtue August 2nd, 2018

Cultivating virtue helps us to live well, and within reason. But how are we to understand the kind of guardrails reason provides? Why suppose that reason can govern action and emotion in the way that modern Aristotelian theorists of virtue seem to suggest that it can? After all, there is an impressive body of empirical research suggesting that people frequently fail to live up to their own ideals. In this blog, Professor Candace Vogler writes about reason, virtue, and living wisely.

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Eight Myths That Undergird American Society

society July 30th, 2018

Our society should’ve collapsed by now; none should be able to function with this level of inequality (with the possible exception of one of those prison planets in a Star Wars movie). Sixty-three percent of Americans can’t afford a $500 emergency. Yet Amazon head Jeff Bezos is now worth a record $141 billion. He could literally end world hunger for multiple years and still have more money left over than he could ever spend on himself. This is a blog about the myths that undergird American society, written by Lee Camp.

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Intention and Innocence Are What Make a Good Person

what makes a good person? July 28th, 2018

When we think of what makes a good person, we usually recall someone who is kind, selfless, and empathetic. But why is it that we often feel that some people who have those characteristics do not actually seem like good people? Is it the deed’s outcome and results that confers moral goodness, or is it the intentions of the person? I believe it is the latter, and moral theories indicate why.

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Examples of “Might Makes Right” & Other Moral Theories

July 27th, 2018

It took me a while to watch the movie Sicario, and I was impressed. It’s suspenseful and such, but it also highlights ways that the characters (and people in general) make decisions about right and wrong, moral conduct, and ethical behavior: what are called moral theories. They are also known as ethical theories. In this blog, I look at various moral theories vis-a-vis characters in movies and literature, as well as politics, religion, and so on. The goal is to shed a little light on how we make moral decisions and what folks do when faced with ethical dilemmas and other challenges to their moral values.

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