Humans and Bonobos: Violence and a Thyroid Hormone

Following on something I mentioned in my last post, that the American people (all societies, really) are growing in morality, there is a new study supporting this presupposition that is worth examining. There I pointed back to a 2012 post featuring the work of Steven Pinker, who has influenced me greatly in this matter. In the recent study, published in the journal Nature and reported by the AP: As a group, mammals average a lethal violence rate against their own of about three killings of t … [Read more...]

Greed and Delusion in Wells Fargo. Or “In Praise of the Ethical Man”

In this current political season, in which both major candidates have given rise to unprecedented levels of distrust - much deserved though some certainly not - it is all the more important to call to mind the fundamental goodness and growing morality of the American populous. Both of those - fundamental goodness and growing morality - are subject to debate, I know. But I am an optimist, and a fan of evidence. I know that my own situation is far from perfect (as an adjunct professor at a liberal … [Read more...]

The philosopher Kant might have been skeptical of modern Mindfulness

One of the great joys of doing philosophy is drawing the great minds of the past into contemporary conversations. As we do this we attempt to step outside ourselves, in a sense, to broaden our perspective. As a student of the great German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), I have also been amazed by the ways in which his ideas have been brought into contemporary conversations over the past 200 years. Kant Scholarship Scholarship on Kant has taken an exciting turn over the last decade or … [Read more...]

All Good Intentions: But does Sam Harris have what it takes to be Buddhist?

A guest post by Marek Sullivan:The recent email scuffle between linguistics professor and political commentator Noam Chomsky, and atheist neuroscientist Sam Harris has brought to light the severity of Harris’s emphasis on intention as the ultimate moral parameter in questions of military ethics. According to Harris, “Ethically speaking, intention is (nearly) the whole story.” This is how he can claim that Bill Clinton and Osama Bin Laden live “in a different moral universe entirely,” or elsew … [Read more...]

Bhikkhu Bodhi on mindfulness, ethics, responsibility and justice with angel Kyodo williams

Mindfulness is the "pop-tune of the 21st Century." So suggests Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi with a smile in an interview published today with Ven. angel Kyodo williams. He continues by praising mindfulness teaching insofar as it is helping people but he worries that mindfulness is perhaps being taught only to make workers more productive or soldiers better combatants.williams responds, suggesting that he means that a Buddhist ethical framework is missing and is really needed for mindfulness to reach … [Read more...]

Does the “arc of the moral universe” bend toward justice?

As we pause on this day to reflect on the life and vision of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. it's easy to throw our hands up and admit defeat. Black men and boys are being killed by their neighbors and police with impunity, Muslims in the West face increasing scrutiny and bigotry, governments continue to ignore the wrongs of their nations past - and present - toward indigenous peoples, the latest boom in the economy seems to be just numbers on a screen for most Americans as 95% of recent income … [Read more...]

Mary Midgely, a Philosopher you should know

She studied philosophy at Oxford and rubbed shoulders with greats like Philippa Foot, Iris Murdoch, Elizabeth Anscombe and Mary Warnock, writes books on a wide variety of contemporary moral issues, has as good a wit and charm as any, a penchant for gratitude, and at least at one time, a Buddhist practice. But you probably have never heard of Mary Midgely.That should change.Thanks to the Guardian, you can learn a great deal from a recent interview covering her life and recent work, … [Read more...]