Ethics

  • A Buddhist View of Addiction

    In this essay, I refer to drugs – meaning drugs of all kinds, anything we might become habituated to and that we enjoy to the degree of dependency. It seems that drugs are widely misunderstood. They have a very long history. People of all kinds, and in all times, need something to make their lives ...

  • African Art in Western Museums: It’s Patrimony not Heritage

    Museums with colonial-era collections have always known about the brutal parts of their biographies. But, through acts of purification via historical distance, they have chosen to ignore them. Museum directors now have to re-think their position as defenders of their collections in light of a different political agenda that locates people and their patrimony in ...

  • American Hegemony

    Author of Blowback, The Sorrows Of Empire, and Nemesis: The Last Days Of The American Empire, Chalmers Johnson has literally written the book on the concept of American Hegemony. A former naval officer and consultant of the C.I.A., he now serves as professor Emeritus at UC San Diego. As co-founder and President of the Japan ...

  • Civil Disobedience

    I heartily accept the motto, “That government is best which governs least”; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe–“That government is best which governs not at all”; and when men are prepared for it, that will be ...

  • Climate Strikes: Researcher explains how Young People can Keep up the Momentum

    As part of one of the largest environmental protests ever seen, over a million young people went on strike on Friday March 15 2019, calling for more ambitious action on climate change. Inspired by Greta Thunberg, a Swedish school girl who protested outside the Swedish parliament every Friday throughout 2018, young people in over 100 ...

  • Cryonics – Toward an Immortality of the Body

    Unlike the miraculous rebirth of one’s soul at the hands of Osiris, the practice of cryonics promises the rebirth of a younger, fitter, and not-dead you—all through the miracle of future scientific progress.

  • Distributive Justice

    Principles of distributive justice are normative principles designed to guide the allocation of the benefits and burdens of economic activity.

    After outlining the scope of this entry and the role of distributive principles, the first relatively simple principle of distributive justice examined is strict egalitarianism, which advocates the allocation of equal material goods to all members ...

  • Dread & Freedom

    Innocence is ignorance. In his innocence man is not determined as spirit but is soulishly determined in immediate unity with his natural condition. Spirit is dreaming in man. This view is in perfect accord with that of the Bible, and by refusing to ascribe to man in the state of innocence a knowledge of the ...

  • Emptiness, form, and Dzogchen ethics

    For a hundred years, the West has wrestled with the problem of ethical nihilism. God’s commands once provided a firm foundation for morality; but then he died. All attempts to find an alternative foundation have failed. Why, then, should we be moral? How can we be sure what is moral? No one has satisfactory answers, despite many ingenious ...

  • Ethos

    This documentary examines the flaws in our systems, and the mechanisms that work against democracy and the environment. From conflicts of interests in politics and unregulated corporate power, to a news media that serves the interests of powerful elites; ETHOS explores the systems that lead us into over consumption and warfare. Too often the media ...

  • Existential Escapism

    Video game addiction is a known issue around the world, with the advent of broadband technology in the 2000s it has evolved into a different level of addiction which involves the creation of an avatar and living a ‘second life’ through MMORPGs massive multiplayer online role playing games. World of Warcraft has the largest MMO ...

  • How do we Pry Apart the True and Compelling from the False and Toxic?

    When false and malicious speech roils the body politic, when racism and violence surge, the right and role of freedom of speech in society comes into crisis. People rightly begin to wonder what are the limits, what should be the rules. It is a complicated issue, and resolving it requires care about the exact problems ...

  • Human Rights Watch – World Report

    Human Rights Watch – World Report (2017)

  • Introduction to Deontology: Kantian Ethics

    One popular moral theory that denies that morality is solely about the consequences of our actions is known as Deontology. The most influential and widely adhered to version of Deontology was extensively laid out by Immanuel Kant (1724–1804). Kant’s ethics, as well as the overall philosophical system in which it is embedded, is vast and incredibly difficult. However, one ...

  • Lost Tribes

    A few nights ago, I watched The Lost City of Z, which is about British explorer Percy Fawcett who was sent to Bolivia and later made several attempts to find an ancient lost city in the Amazon. He disappeared in 1925 along with his son on an expedition. It got me thinking about people today who are still uncontacted ...

  • Man’s Search for Meaning

    “A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth—that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire.”

  • Meta-ethics

    Is what is morally good commanded by God because it is morally good, or is it morally good because it is commanded by God? When you think about morality, what comes to mind? Is it a list of sins to avoid in order to make it into heaven and avoid hellfire? Or perhaps a duty to ...

  • New York State Celebrates First Same-sex Marriages

    NEW YORK/NIAGARA FALLS, New York (Reuters) – Wedding fever hit New York on Sunday, as hundreds of gay and lesbian couples lined up to be married on the first day that same-sex marriage was legal in the state.

    In western New York, two grandmothers became the state’s first legally wed same-sex couple, one month after Governor ...

  • Nothing is True, Everything is Permitted

    What I relate is the history of the next two centuries. I describe what is coming, what can no longer come differently: the advent of nihilism. Our whole European culture is moving for some time now, with a tortured tension that is growing from decade to decade, as toward a catastrophe: restlessly, violently, headlong, like a ...

  • On Liberty

    One day, I came upon a man urinating in a bus station. When I confronted him about his action, he turned to me, without stopping, and said:

    “Keep in mind that since the universe is in constant flux, nothing that occurs one moment has any relevance to anything else. Everything you believe, feel or think is ...

  • On the Origin of Inequality

    Discourse on the Origin and the Foundations of Inequality Among Men

    By Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  • On the Preachers of Death

    There are preachers of death; and the earth is full of those to whom one must preach renunciation of life. The earth is full of the superfluous; life is spoiled by the all-too-many. May they be lured from this life with the “eternal life”! Yellow the preachers of death wear, or black. But I want ...

  • Our Illusory Sense of Agency Has a Deeply Important Social Purpose

    Contrary to what many people believe, I think agency is only relevant to what happens after we act – when we try to justify and explain ourselves to each other.

  • Past Tense

    A compendium of quotes from various authors with some of my own ideas interspersed throughout.

  • Philosophy Primary Sources

    Some primary sources from the history of philosophy. This was the first of two posts that inspired what is now the Bookshelf.

  • Philosophy Primary Sources II

    This post will serve as Part II of Philosophy Primary Sources and a supplement to Primary Sources & Encyclopedias (check out the Links section for even more research sources). There are certain books that are essential to an education about the human condition of which I believe should be available for free and with easy access ...

  • Posthumanism

    The posthuman recognizes imperfectability and disunity within him or herself, instead understanding the world through context and heterogeneous perspectives while maintaining intellectual rigour and a dedication to objective observations of the world. Key to this posthuman practice is the ability to fluidly change perspectives and manifest oneself through different identities. The posthuman, for critical theorists of the subject, has an emergent ...

  • Primary Sources & Encyclopedias

    Links for research purposes

  • Reach out, listen, be patient. Good arguments can stop extremism

    Many of my best friends think that some of my deeply held beliefs about important issues are obviously false or even nonsense. Sometimes, they tell me so to my face. How can we still be friends? Part of the answer is that these friends and I are philosophers, and philosophers learn how to deal with ...

  • Reflections on Another World

    You’ll never forget your first dragon. Tibia is an online fantasy world in which you may escape the mundane realities of your boring life. Thousands of people plug into this Matrix-esque world (it is literally a matrix) every day to mindlessly murder trolls and goblins in the vain effort to increase their skill numbers. Tibia offers a huge world ...

  • Revaluation of Natural Values

    Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and ...

  • Self-Transcendence

    Buddhism begins with a man. In his later years, when India was afire with his message and kings themselves were bowing before him, people came to him even as they were to come to Jesus asking what he was. How many people have provoked this question – not “Who are you?” with respect to name, ...

  • Skateboarding: An Existential Art

    Rodney Mullen (born August 17, 1966) is an American professional skateboarder, entrepreneur, inventor, and public speaker who practices freestyle and street skateboarding. He is widely considered the most influential street skater in the history of the sport, being credited for inventing numerous tricks, including the kickflip, heelflip, impossible, and 360-flip. As a result, he has been called the “Godfather of Street Skateboarding.”

  • Smoking Kills (Your Organs): 6 Major Organs Damaged By Cigarette Smoke

    Coughing up heaping globs of mucous isn’t even the half of it. Neither is losing all sense of stamina, or coming home to a stale-smelling house with yellowed walls and furniture. No, the biggest consequences of smoking are, by and large, ones you will never see. These, however, tend to be the deadliest.

  • Social Contract Theory

    Social contract theory, nearly as old as philosophy itself, is the view that persons’ moral and/or political obligations are dependent upon a contract or agreement among them to form the society in which they live. Socrates uses something quite like a social contract argument to explain to Crito why he must remain in prison and ...

  • The Crowd is Untruth

    And to honour every man, absolutely every man, is the truth, and this is what it is to fear God and love one’s “neighbour.” But from an ethico-religious point of view, to recognize the “crowd” as the court of last resort is to deny God, and it cannot exactly mean to love the “neighbour.” And ...

  • The Empathetic Humanities have much to teach our Adversarial Culture

    Certainly, reading isn’t a zero-sum game. One can and should cultivate multiple modes of interpretation. Yet the nostrum that the humanities teach ‘critical thinking and reading skills’ obscures the profound differences in how adversarial and empathetic disciplines engage with written works – and how they teach us to respond to other human beings. If the ...

  • The Filter Bubble

    A filter bubble is a result of a personalized search in which a website algorithm selectively guesses what information a user would like to see based on information about the user (such as location, past click behavior and search history) and, as a result, users become separated from information that disagrees with their viewpoints, effectively ...

  • The Four Horsemen

    This little chat, a casual yet intellectually stimulating discussion between four brilliant minds was so excellent that I felt the need to share it. Many topics are discussed spanning science, religion, psychology and sociology. The way they interact with each other with sincerity, empathy and humility and a sense of fellowship is hard to come ...

  • The Hidden World of Immanuel Kant

    A Philosophy Now podcast.

  • The Myth of Sisyphus

    For me “The Myth of Sisyphus” marks the beginning of an idea which I was to pursue in The Rebel. It attempts to resolve the problem of suicide, as The Rebel attempts to resolve that of murder, in both cases without the aid of eternal values which, temporarily perhaps, are absent or distorted in contemporary ...

  • The Second Sex

    The Second Sex is a 1949 book by the French existentialist Simone de Beauvoir, in which the author discusses the treatment of women throughout history. Beauvoir asks “What is woman?” She argues that man is considered the default, while woman is considered the “Other”. According to Beauvoir, two factors explain the evolution of women’s condition: participation in production ...

  • The Sunset Limited

    Black feels that he can persuade White from committing suicide. With Black stopping White right before he was about to kill himself, Black feels that this is destiny.

  • The Teaching of Buddha

    The Teaching of Buddha is a collection of writings on the essence of Buddhism, selected and edited from the vast Buddhist canon, presented in a concise, easy-to-read, and nonsectarian format. It also includes a brief history of Buddhism, a listing of the source texts, a glossary of Sanskrit terms, and an index.

  • To Avoid Moral Failure, Don’t See People as Sherlock Does

    Holmes’s failure to relate is not just a matter of his actions or his words (though sometimes it is also that), but what really rubs us up the wrong way is that Holmes observes us all as objects to be studied, predicted and managed. He doesn’t relate to us as human beings.

  • Tools for Thinking: Isaiah Berlin’s Two Concepts of Freedom

    Negative freedom is freedom from interference. You are negatively free to the extent that other people do not restrict what you can do. If other people prevent you from doing something, either directly by what they do, or indirectly by supporting social and economic arrangements that disadvantage you, then to that extent they restrict your ...

  • What did Max Weber mean by the ‘Spirit’ of Capitalism?

    The proliferation of knowledge and reflection on knowledge had made it impossible for any one person to know and survey it all. In a world which could not be grasped as a whole, and where there were no universally shared values, most people clung to the particular niche to which they were most committed: their ...

  • What do you really believe?

    Most of us have views on politics, current events, religion, society, morality and sport, and we spend a lot of time expressing these views, whether in conversation or on social media. We argue for our positions, and get annoyed if they are challenged. Why do we do this? The obvious answer is that we believe ...

  • What Exactly is Wikipedia Doing?

    Wikipedia is protesting against SOPA and PIPA by blacking out the English Wikipedia for 24 hours, beginning at midnight January 18, Eastern Time. Readers who come to English Wikipedia during the blackout will not be able to read the encyclopedia: instead, they will see messages intended to raise awareness about SOPA and PIPA, and encouraging ...