How To Live Happily: Have No Expectations

This is the first of what I am thinking will be a series of occasional “How To Live Happily” posts on what I have learned, through studying, living, introspecting, and contemplating, about how to live a joyful and happy life. [Read more...]

Justice, Order, and Chaos: The Dialectical Tensions In Batman Begins and The Dark Knight

In this post I am going to explore the moral themes from the first two films of the Dark Knight trilogy. This post gives away nothing about The Dark Knight Rises but assumes knowledge of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. In a subsequent post I will explore how The Dark Knight Rises picks up, advances, augments, and culminates these folllowing themes from the first two films of the Dark Knight trilogy. [Read more...]

Michael Sandel On “The Lost Art Of Democratic Debate”

A good video from Harvard philosopher Michael Sandel, who recently wrote a book on justice for a popular audience, Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?, and who last year released on YouTube high production value videos encapsulating his lectures for his standard introductory level ethics class at Harvard. You can start watching those videos here. [Read More...]

Some More Thoughts On Rawls’s Maximin Principle And Fairness

A week ago, I wrote a brief primer post explaining John Rawls’s maximin principle. In that post I explained that Rawls conceives of justice as being quintessentially concerned with fairness.  In order to determine what is maximally fair politically we must imagine ourselves behind a veil of ignorance behind which we do not know what [Read More...]

Philosophical Ethics: Rawls’s Maximin Principle

In a series of posts this semester, I am going to blog all (or almost all) the lecture topics for the two Philosophical Ethics classes I am teaching this semester. Each of these posts will primarily explicate the reading or a theme that dominated class discussion in a way that should be accessible to novices [Read More...]

Philosophical Ethics: Whether It’s Worth It To Be Just With No Incentives Or With Disincentives

Before we get to the philosophy this time, let’s enjoy my favorite Flaming Lips song: In a series of posts this semester, I am going to blog all (or almost all) the lecture topics for the two Philosophical Ethics classes I am teaching this semester. Each of these posts will primarily explicate the reading or [Read More...]

Defending Hate Crime Laws

publius gives the reasons I am personally in favor of hate crimes as a category of crime and see them as consistent with my rabbid commitment to free speech: Cohen says that hate crimes aren’t really different from any other crime — so there’s no need for extra penalties.  That’s not true.  Hate crimes are [Read More...]

Can You Have A Heart Without Having “The Heart of God”?

In reply to my post on whether we need God to care about the poor around the world, Marianne offers this challenge: I have observed that atheists discuss and analyze poverty, but do very little about it. Most of the charities in the world are christian in foundation. You will find very few atheist charities [Read More...]

Further Towards A “Non-Moral” Standard Of Ethical Evaluation

In reply to a recent post, Tyler writes: Your definition of ethics and morality is well taken and allows for further interesting debate on culture and moral systems but it still requires assumption of benefit. Defining phrases like “fully flourishing life” and “most excellent characters we can develop” require a standard of evaluation which I [Read More...]


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