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    Ajahn Sumedho
    So much fear and desire come from that commitment to 'I am'--to being somebody. Eventually they take us to anxiety and despair; life seems much more difficult and painful than it really is. But when we just observe life for what it is, then it's all right: the delights, the beauty, the pleasures are just that.
    Ajahn Sumedho
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    • Ethics

    How do you choose which course of action is best? It seems reasonable that if A is better than B, and B is better than C, A must be better than C. But is it? Larry Temkin challenges this idea, known as the axiom of transitivity.

    How should we live? is a basic philosophical question. The Stoics had some answers. But are they relevant today? William B. Irvine thinks so. Listen to his conversation with Nigel Warburton on this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast.

    What is power? Steven Lukes argues for a three-dimensional account of this concept in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast.

    The historian and writer Theodore Zeldin gives his personal take on the relation betwen philosophy and history in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast. 

    What part do emotions play in our appreciation of art? Jesse Prinz explores the sense of wonder at artworks in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast.

    What is a conspiracy? Why do conspiracies - real or imagined -  matter to philsophy? Cassim Quaassam explores these questions in conversation with Nigel Warburton

    Are all truths relative? That's an attractive idea for many people. Tim Williamson, Wykeham Professor of Logic at Oxford University discusses why and attempts to immunise us against sloppy thinking in this area.

    How does your view of the self affect your attitude to your own death? Shaun Nichols discusses this question in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast.

    He really didn't: Pia and Sid sit in La Bellota Hermosa. Across the plate, now empty of presunto, Pia watches Sid, chest becrumbed, reducing a mass of toothpicks to rubble as, slowly and methodically, he works the last strands of...

    Via the FP blog, I learn of this new study involving undergraduates at the University of Sydney, which found that from their very first philosophy class, men were better disposed towards the subject than women, and that this did not...

    ...the Boston Review has a symposium on the "effective altruism" schtick, the latest form of self-congratulatory moral entertainment for bourgeois academics. A shame they didn't have any Marxists comment, but the economists Daron Acemoglu and Angus Deaton are the voices...

    Philosopher Mark Anderson (Belmont) reports his entire blogged book is now on-line.

    From IHE. Reactions, links to other news sources welcome.

    ...no doubt to protect the Koch Brothers and other oligarchs, but they're now backing off as even Republicans revolt.

    ...in contrast to Bernie Sanders. A striking contrast.

    by Grant Bartley

    Is a chimpanzee a person? • Is an android a person? • Editing the human germline — News reports by Anja Steinbauer

    Daniel Vargas Gómez considers what we encounter when we encounter art.

    Alistair MacFarlane appreciates the life of an infamous art prophet.

    Launt Thompson argues that some popular trends in art criticism are fallacies.

    The following answers to this artful question each win a random book.

    Siobhan Lyons argues that modernist artistic values of sincere self-expression are culturally reasserting themselves.

    Ralph Blumenau tells us what great thinkers said about great music.

    Grant Bartley from Philosophy Now (and author of The Metarevolution) is joined by members of London philosophy groups Philosophy For All and the Philosophical Society of England to debate an argument advanced by PFA member Kieran Quill that according to quantum mechanics the universe is mental in nature. Join us to hear the fallout. First broadcast on 29 June 2014 on Resonance FM.

    Ludwig Wittgenstein worked out how language has meaning, twice. He also thought that some of the most important things we can know we can’t express at all. Grant Bartley from Philosophy Now finds out the meaning and limits of language from guest Daniel Hutto from the University of Wollongong, NSW. First broadcast on 22 June 2014 on Resonance FM.

    Might Nietzsche be right, claiming that lying is “a condition of life?” – Or Kant, arguing that lying means annihilating human dignity? Is it ever acceptable for governments to lie to the public or for individuals to lie to the government? Anja Steinbauer is joined by politician and philosopher Shahrar Ali and moral philosopher Piers Benn to discuss whether lying can be a good thing. First broadcast on 15 June 2014 on Resonance FM.

    What is meta-ethics? How does meta-ethics differ from ethics, and what does it tell us about ethics? Why is it important for how we should live our lives? Join Grant Bartley from Philosophy Now and his guests Edward Harcourt from Keble College, Oxford, and Richard Rowland from the University of Warwick, to find the answers to these questions and more. First broadcast on 8 June 2014 on Resonance FM.

    Join Grant Bartley from Philosophy Now and guests John Callanan from King’s College, London, and Andrew Ward from the University of York to talk about the most important idea you’ve never heard of, and some other persuasive arguments from revolutionary but unfortunately unknown-to-the-world philosopher Immanuel Kant. First broadcast on 1 June 2014 on Resonance FM.

    Join Grant Bartley from Philosophy Now and guests Philip Goff from the University of Liverpool and Tom McClelland from the University of Manchester as they try to work out how all that electricity between your nerve cells relates to and produces all your experiences and thoughts. First broadcast on 25 May 2014 on Resonance FM.

    What has Buddhism to offer the 21st Century? Join Anja Steinbauer and her guests, Martin Muchall and Rick Lewis, for a critical discussion of ideas in and about Buddhism. First broadcast on 18 May 2014 on Resonance FM.

    Isaiah Berlin said of David Hume, “No man has influenced the history of philosophy to a deeper or more disturbing degree.” Join Grant Bartley from Philosophy Now plus guests Jane O’Grady, Peter Kail and James Arnold to find out why. First broadcast on 11 May 2014 on Resonance FM.

    Written by Anke Snoek Macquarie University In Australia Senator David Leyonhjelm http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/david-leyonhjelm-declares-war-on-nanny-state/story-fn59niix-1227415288323 has won support for a broad-ranging parliamentary inquiry into what he calls the ‘nanny state’. A committee will test the claims of public health experts about bicycle helmets, alcohol laws, violent video games, the sale and use of alcohol, tobacco and pornography. “If […]

    Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with my argument for legalising doping in sport, aiming to focus resources on harm reduction rather than zero tolerance. Key safeguards in this approach are (1) doping carried out under the supervision of a doctor, and (2 ) checks on athletes to ensure they maintain normal physiological […]

    by Dominic Wilkinson @Neonatalethics In California, in the last week, there have been further motions in a long running lawsuit relating to a brain-dead child. Oakland teenager Jahi McMath died after a tonsillectomy in December 2013. However, her parents rejected the medical diagnosis of brain death, and despite a Californian court providing judicial backing for […]

    Written by Christopher Chew Monash University  JOURNALIST: Treasurer, do you accept that housing in Sydney is unaffordable and the only way we’re going to make it affordable is if real house prices in real terms actually fall over the near term? TREASURER JOE HOCKEY: No. Look, if housing were unaffordable in Sydney, no one would […]

    Written By Johanna Ahola-Launonen University of Helsinki In bioethical discussion, it is often debated whether or not some studies espouse genetic determinism. A recent study by Tuomas Aivelo and Anna Uitto[1] give important insight to the matter. They studied main genetics education textbooks used in Finnish upper secondary school curricula and compared the results to […]

    Written by Constantin Vica Postdoctoral Fellow, Romanian Academy Iasi Branch Research Center in Applied Ethics, University of Bucharest This post is not, as one might expect, about that part of ethics which is not concerned about practical issues, e.g. meta-ethics. Neither is it about moral philosophical endeavors which are incomprehensible, highly conceptual and without any adherence […]

    Written By Paul B. Thompson W.K. Kellogg Professor of Agricultural, Food and Community Ethics at Michigan State University This blog is a cross-posting from the OUPblog. Please see the original post here: http://blog.oup.com/2015/06/food-systems-need-real-ethics/ In May, we celebrated the third annual workshop on food justice at Michigan State University. Few of the people who come to these […]

    Someone has just said to me: ‘You’re really boring today’. It is, of course, something I commonly hear. And it was undoubtedly true. But it made me wonder if there was any moral significance to my personal boringness. Should I repent of it, or is it morally neutral? I’ve concluded, I’m afraid, that it’s culpable. […]

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  • Poem

    • Free Grow

      Free Grow

      I let go in order to grow down, into dark, nutritious ground. I feed my garden nectar of golden apples. Having freed my hands of tares from elsewhere, my plants… Continue Reading →
  • Random Band Names

    • Band Names Back

      Band Names Back

      The Trove Down with the Invisible Regime (02/18/2011) – There is a possible revolution on every corner. Greenage in Your Gourd! (01/10/2011) – Yerba, Baby. My life is so much… Continue Reading →
    • Strange Mange

      Strange Mange

      It’s not just at home on the range.
  • Next latest

    • Socrates and Glaucon on the Home Shopping Network

      by , McSweeneys (19 May 2010)

      Rebekah Frumkin

      Rebekah Frumkin

      SOCRATES: Good evening, Glaucon. You look troubled.

      GLAUCON: I am, Socrates.

      SOCRATES: What worries you so?

      GLAUCON: Look at my kitchen floor. That brown scum is the stain of fowl livers. I spilled them earlier today and cleaned them up, but the stains remain.

      SOCRATES: I see.

      GLAUCON: The stains are attracting countless pests with their foul odor and bacteria. There is no way to clean them up.

      SOCRATES: Are you sure of that?

      GLAUCON: Yes. To do so, I would need some convenient means of cleaning and sterilization.

      SOCRATES: And you are convinced such a means does not exist?

      GLAUCON: Socrates, I have lived in this city for the majority of my life and, knowing the things I know, I do not think it is possible for something to clean and sterilize at the same time.

      SOCRATES: Tell me, Glaucon, what does “clean” mean?

      GLAUCON: Why, it means the opposite of dirty, Socrates.

      SOCRATES: Surely it must mean something more than that.

      GLAUCON: I don’t understand, Socrates.

      SOCRATES: If “clean” means the opposite of “dirty,” then to clean is to rid a space of dirt or plague, yes?

      GLAUCON: Yes, Socrates.

      SOCRATES: So cleanliness is the complete obliteration of dirt, bacteria and unsightly stains. Am I right?

      GLAUCON: Yes, Socrates.

      SOCRATES: So to effectively clean, one must also sterilize, as a sterile surface is one that is also not dirty?

      GLAUCON: Yes, Socrates.

      SOCRATES: But an ordinary mop will not do this?

      GLAUCON: No, Socrates. Look what a hassle it is for me to use! And none of the stains are coming off!

      SOCRATES: Yes. It is quite impossible to get one’s kitchen satisfactorily clean with an ordinary mop. But one could add Dirt-Fighting Technology™ to an ordinary mop, could he not?

      GLAUCON: It depends on what sort of technology it is.

      SOCRATES: It would consist of the elongation of the mop’s bristles and an internal motor that causes the mop’s head to swivel conveniently with the flip of a switch.

      GLAUCON: Then yes, I agree that one could add such technology to an ordinary mop. But would it still be an ordinary mop, Socrates?

      SOCRATES: Very astute, Glaucon. It would not. For convenience’s sake, let’s call it the EZ-Klean Mop™. Now answer me this: would the EZ-Klean Mop ™, given that it has the Dirt-Fighting Technology™ I’ve just described, be able to more effectively rid spaces of dirt or plague?

      GLAUCON: Yes.

      SOCRATES: So you agree that it can clean better than an ordinary mop?

      GLAUCON: I believe so.

      SOCRATES: You’re not fully convinced?

      GLAUCON: I see that it can clean, but how will I sterilize my kitchen floor with it, Socrates? I need to get these stains out.

      SOCRATES: I will answer your question with a question, Glaucon. What do you suppose the good men at Monsanto have been doing for the past fifteen years?

      GLAUCON: I don’t know, Socrates.

      SOCRATES: They’ve been developing a Dirt-Fighting Formula™ that is stronger than any soap. This formula is safe to use in the home, and it can sterilize any surface. Do you suppose such a formula could increase the cleaning power of the EZ-Klean Mop™?

      GLAUCON: Yes, Socrates.

      SOCRATES: And you’ve already admitted that, with its longer bristles and swiveling head, the EZ-Klean Mop™ can clean far better than an ordinary mop, have you not?

      GLAUCON: I have.

      SOCRATES: And I’ve just said that the Dirt-Fighting Formula™, which is sold with the EZ-Klean Mop™, can sterilize any surface, have I not?

      GLAUCON: You have.

      SOCRATES: So it seems to me that such a thing exists which can both sterilize and clean: The EZ-Klean Mop™.

      GLAUCON: Why, you’re right, Socrates.

      SOCRATES: Are you satisfied now, Glaucon?

      GLAUCON: Well… not just yet, Socrates. I’d like to own such a mop.

      SOCRATES: You can, Glaucon. How much are you willing to pay for the EZ-Klean Mop™?

      GLAUCON: Sixty dollars.

      SOCRATES: But the mop only costs $49.99, Glaucon. As this is less than you were originally willing to pay, I assume you would willingly pay this amount.

      GLAUCON: Yes, Socrates!

      SOCRATES: Call the number at the bottom of your screen, Glaucon, and the EZ-Klean Mop™ will be shipped directly to your home. And if you call now, you’ll receive a free can of SprayOn Hair™. Bald to fab in minutes!

      GLAUCON: Thank you, Socrates! This will make my life so much easier!

      SOCRATES: Do not thank me, Glaucon, for I have merely demonstrated to you what you already know about the EZ-Klean Mop™.

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