Fifty Shades of Grey Related to the Ethics of Romanticizing Abusiveness for the Sake of Fantasy

According to Laci Green, the book Fifty Shades of Grey celebrates an abusive relationship rather than healthy BDSM practices. This raises many questions for me about the ethics of art that eroticizes literal abusiveness. Is it bad in itself to enjoy the idea of abusiveness? Is it bad only if it creates, contributes to, or reinforces unhealthy attitudes, whether in oneself or in one’s broader culture? Can we indulge our dark sides at all morally through roleplaying? Can we indulge them even more in art than even through roleplaying? I have lots of questions. I need Your Thoughts. [Read more...]

Is Religious Circumcision of Male Infants Morally Defensible?

Last month a court in Cologne, Germany ruled against allowing the circumcision of children too young to give consent. CBS News summarized the facts: a German court ruled that circumcision infringes on a child’s right to be protected from bodily harm. The regional court in Cologne said that circumcision went against the “fundamental right of [Read More...]

Dying Responsibly

Yesterday the New York Times published a must-read op-ed by Susan Jacoby about the costly disconnect between Americans’ values and their practices when it comes to end-of-life health care. Just a few key statistical takeaways: A third of the Medicare budget is now spent in the last year of life, and a third of that goes for care in [Read More...]

Should We Love Abortion?

Jessica DelBalzo argues yes and goes so far as to say women should “venerate it wholeheartedly”: Suggesting that abortion be “safe, legal, and rare,” and crowing that “no one likes abortion,” accomplishes nothing for women’s rights. Pandering to the anti-choice movement by implying that we allfind termination distasteful only fuels the fire against it. What good is [Read More...]

Why Misogynistic Language Matters

In response to the vileness of Rush Limbaugh giving Physicalist pause about whether to consume any right wing media (even out of concern for rational fairness), Bret asks: I’m curious: do you see how conservatives verbally address women as more offensive than their stance on pretty much anything else, from their treatment of the poor [Read More...]

"What Are The Limits of Church Authority In the Public Sphere?"

This is part 2 of a debate with Roman Catholic theology graduate student named Mary. In part 1, we introduced and began to debate the topic of whether or not universities, hospitals, and social agencies run by the Catholic Church should be exempted from laws requiring employers to provide their employees health insurance that covers [Read More...]

Emma Goldman's "The Victims of Morality"

In reply to my dialogue which I posted this morning examining what I perceive to be immoralism’s important contributions to moral thinking and its inevitable limits, a reader sent me to investigate Max Stirner and Emma Goldman. I may have something to say about Stirner in the future if time permits. But for now I [Read More...]

Immoralism?

Taylor: I’ve been reading a lot of Nietzsche of late, like you recommended. Pat: Oh? And what do you think? What are you taking away from it? Taylor: I really like what he has to say about immoralism. I realized I am an immoralist. Pat: How so? How are you interpreting that word? Taylor: Well, he makes this really fascinating [Read More...]

Force and Reason

In previous posts (like Rational Passional Persuasion and On Zealously, Tentatively, and Perspectivally Holding Viewpoints) I have argued that there is a proper place for emotional appeals as part of a rational argument. In the last couple of weeks, though, I have also argued firmly against certain kinds of emotional appeals that I consider abusive, counter-productive, and hypocritical [Read More...]


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