Ethics & Morality

Ethics & Morality


Supply-Side Economics: Unwise and Unkind

Economics for the rich May 22nd, 2017

Supply-side economics is on display in the latest budgetary proposals by the Trump Administration. The approach to governance he is showing is highly questionable, both from a wisdom perspective, and from an economic justice point of view. As Erik Wasson writes in his Bloomberg article, “Trump to Pitch Deep Cuts to Anti-Poverty Programs and Medicaid:” “President Donald Trump plans to propose $1.7 trillion in cuts to a category of spending that includes major social and entitlement programs for lower-income Americans, as part of an effort to balance the budget within a decade.” He also notes that ‘This budget continues to reveal President Trump’s true colors: His populist campaign rhetoric was just a Trojan horse to execute long-held, hard-right policies that benefit the ultra-wealthy at the expense of the middle class,’ Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schemer said.” What could the populist-sounding candidate-turned-president have in mind? What is the justification? Is it wise, and is it just?

Read More

Social Justice: The Case of African Americans

Social justice May 17th, 2017

Social justice is a very significant matter for America. Today I had a friend I disagreed with about whether it is even real, and then happened to watch an innovative and compelling show called American Race, hosted by provocateur and thinker, Charles Barkley. There are many considerations when it comes to the interesting and significant topic of social justice: what is it? Is it real? How does it relate to race, institutionalized racism, class, capitalism, poverty, and class issues? What are America’s racial problems now, what are the true facts about our history, and can we make greater social progress going forward?

Read More

Making Moral Decisions: Ethical Theories

woman making moral decisions May 13th, 2017

What is moral philosophy? How does one go about making moral decisions? How do you handle ethical dilemmas? What can philosophy do to help us live better? Morality (and its parent, moral philosophy) is one of the most interesting and least-known subjects. I read an informative and worthy textbook, Analyzing Moral Issues, a while back, and its fruits are as sweet today as ever. In this blog, I wanted to answer the above questions, and to summarize ethical theories (a.k.a. moral theories). What’s in it for you? The more you know about moral philosophy and theory, the better able you will be to think critically, deal with moral dilemmas, and live a life that would be considered “good.” This is really what making moral decisions is all about. Consider this a primer on deciding what is right and wrong.

Read More

Einstein Quotes: Words of Wisdom Indeed!

Einstein quotes are remarkable words of wisdom May 5th, 2017

Albert Einstein not only has one of the most recognizable mugs of any person alive or dead, he worked extremely hard and intelligently throughout his long life. A genius in physics, he also was a committed peace activist and socialist. Almost everyone remembers him fondly, and though that is perhaps a bit unwarranted, in general he was an affable, productive, dedicated, ingenious, creative, kind, magnanimous individual. He was also very quotable! Many of his quotes were about values.

Read More

Media Ethics & and Role in Society (V&E 15)

media ethics is critical April 26th, 2017

The media play[s] an extremely important role in our society, and in this blog, Jason interviews two experts on media ethics. The overall goal is determining what the function of the media is and what ethical standards the media ought to be upholding. As the critical “Fourth Estate,” it has been remiss in prior decades (centuries?) in its duty, due in no small part to political influences and the awesome power of money. Interviewees are Dan Hallin, Ph.D., Professor of Communication at UC-San Diego. Fred Brown also joins Jason; he is the co-chairperson of the ethics committee of the Society for Professional Journalists (www.spj.org) and before that, he was at The Denver Post. It’s an engaging discussion.

Read More

Values & Ethics: From Living Room to Boardroom

Values & Ethics: From Living Room to Boardroom April 20th, 2017

It seems like daily we are inundated by superficial social media, “fake news,” political demagogues, intolerant youth, and oppressive societal institutions. How can one find concentrate on what is real, wholesome, and reliable? Can we reach back into the past and access classical wisdom, traditional values, and a greater sense of fulfillment, meaning, and optimism? Values & Ethics: From Living Room to Boardroom (2017; Palmetto Publishing Group; $17.95 softcover) aims to address big-picture topics such as values, virtues, ethics, and wisdom. The following is a pitch for the book, including endorsements, reviews, an excerpt, description, and author bio.

Read More

Animal Rights: Zoos, Hunting, Circuses, & Meat

a question of animal rights April 19th, 2017

Animal rights is an issue that sometimes comes to the fore based on some significant event that the media picks up. Often it is People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals doing something dubious (e.g., in regard to wearing fur or vivisection or something). Today is a momentous day, though, because the Ringling Brothers Circus, after nearly 150 years, is calling it quits. I for one am a tad bit sad to see that unique piece of Americana go, but mostly relieved that finally those animals who are – let’s face it – slaves, will get to retire. So, almost everyone feels something about animal rights – experimentation, circuses, zoos, shelters euthanizing unwanted dogs and cats, or eating animals, but what are the moral issues involved? How should we probably be deciding about this thorny ethical issue? What rights do animals have that ought to be respected?

Read More

Progressive: Promoting Social and Economic Change

Was America Ever Progressive? April 14th, 2017

Considering the relative powerlessness of political progressives (i.e., those on “the Left”), it’s obvious that such individuals are in it for the love of principle. As compared to the lure of power and money, the struggle for rights, social welfare, true democracy, true freedom, humaneness, and other ideals/values is a noble sentiment. The goals of social activism are also usually superior to conserving the status quo and bolstering institutional power. It has never been easy; from securing a fair wage to voting rights to being free of conscription to breaking the shackles that enslaved, progressives have not had much power on their side. Power concedes nothing without a demand…. Frederick Douglass wrote. A comparison and contrast of progressivism (“liberalism”) and conservatism follows.

Read More

Is Atlas Still “With Us?”

Dog March 17th, 2017

I was speaking with my wife yesterday about our dog, as it was the 1-year anniversary of his death. I noted that I was having trouble feeling acceptance, finding meaning, and being “okay” with his passing. It feels to me to be a loss — and very little consolation comes with that. It hurts. I feel like I used to have a great dog, but no more. She feels quite differently…

Read More

Aristotle Quotes: World’s Greatest Philosopher?

Aristotle quotes March 10th, 2017

Aristotle has discovered and formulated every canon of theoretical consistency, and every artifice of dialectical debate, with an industry and acuteness which cannot be too highly extolled; and his labors in this direction have perhaps contributed more than any other single writer to the intellectual stimulation of after ages ~ Alfred William Benn. The rigorous Macedonian thought leader was a remarkable man. Not perfect, but he was simply called “The Philosopher” by Aquinas and others for centuries for a reason. A pioneer in the area where philosophy meets science, he achieved much in politics, ethics, natural science, and the like. Few come close to his curiosity, intellectual power, or high-minded intent.

Read More