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"Trumpian" Ethics - Bigotry

People object to many of Donald Trump's policies, but seldom offer more than grunts of disapproval. This is an ethics blog, and I want to look at the reasons why Trump deserves these grunts of disapproval. Imagine that you are walking...Show More Summary

Conservatives, Libertarians, and Bigoted Values in the Market

Is "conservatism" compatible with civil rights? This question arises from an article I read that argued that, in 1964, a branch of the Republican party began to oppose civil rights legislation - not because they were racist, but because it was incompatible with their ideology. Show More Summary

Third Parties and Voting on Principle

Some people make the false claim that those who reject voting for third parties in a winner-take-all political system such as the United States are against voting on principle - or favor abandoning principle in order to obtain some non-moral...Show More Summary

Does "Every event has a cause" entail determinism?

Does "every event has a cause" entail determinism? This article by Anscombe suggests that this is not so.

But is it Art?

Is computer art the same as human art? This piece argues that there is no real distinction; I don’t agree about that, but I sort of agree that in some respects the difference may not matter as much as it seems to. Oliver Roeder seems to end up by arguing that since humans write the […]

The Instrumental Value of One Vote

Over in this Leiter thread, some philosophers seem to be dismissing the instrumental value of voting (for Clinton over Trump) for misguided reasons:(1) That a marginal vote is "astronomically unlikely to change the outcome."This is not true, at least for those who are able to vote in a swing state. Show More Summary

Could I have done otherwise if determinism is true?

If any kind of determinism is true, soft or hard, you could not have done otherwise given the actual past. It is possible that you could have done otherwise if antecedent conditions had been different, given the actual past, you could not have done otherwise from what you did.

Aristotle: Challenges in Interpretation

Aristotle's theory of well-being, as Richard Kraut presented it, is a tangled mess. I am reading through the Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Well-Bing, trying to prepare for graduate school. The second article in this anthology,...Show More Summary

Lucretius in the Evolution/Creation Debate

From ancient Greece and Rome to the present, one of the fundamental debates in human history has been over a deep question: Is our universe mindful and purposive or mindless and material? Do we live in a cosmos that was intentionally...Show More Summary

States' Rights

I agree with Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tx) on something. The issue I agree with him on is the issue of states' rights. This is the idea that certain policies should be decided on a state level rather than a federal level. Take, for example,...Show More Summary


What are imaginings? This blog posting is actually a description of my thinking as I came across what I found to be an interesting philosophical question. The story began yesterday, when I wrote on the difference between beliefs and desires. Beliefs, I said, had truth-makers but failed to motivate. Show More Summary

Enhanced privacy: a solution to the bathroom debate?

I have seen bathrooms at a Starbucks in Seattle which had all toilets with doors all the way to the ground from top to bottom. There were no male urinals, The restroom was coeducational, but all the stalls had enhanced privacy. This might be the answer to the bathroom issue.

Is punishment a criminal's right?

Notice that the punishment is the criminal’s right. He deserves it. And, we might add, he deserves it and no more. He cannot merely be a means to someone else’s end, as Lewis put it, nor can he be the test-case for societal progress. Punishment must be just. Here.

Motivational Beliefs

I got into a discussion recently that included the topic of beliefs that can motivate. I deny that such things exist. Or, if they do exist, it us because "beliefs that can motivate" is simply an alternative way of saying "desires", and desires do exist. Show More Summary

The Historical Significance and Practical Irrelevance of Plato

For the past week, I have been focusing on Plato – and, in particular, The Republic. Why? This is actually a question I ask myself. Plato’s Republic is of great historical significance. It is the first lengthy treatise on moral and political...Show More Summary

Digital Afterlife

A digital afterlife is likely to be available one day, according to Michael Graziano, albeit not for some time; his piece re-examines the possibility of uploading consciousness, and your own personality, into a computer. I think he does a good job of briefly sketching the formidable difficulties involved in scanning your brain, and scanning so […]

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