The Philosopher’s Blog Edition

The Philosopher’s Blog Edition

One of the delights of blogging is that sometimes you can take a day off from the horror of regular blogging and do something fun. Now, I’m sure that a lot of people have more fun than I do blogging. For instance, if you blog about dogs or cats, you can find many wonderful stories, films and pictures. But I blog about business ethics which by comparison makes economics sound like fun. In my subject, thousands die and millions are stolen from and otherwise mistreated. If that wasn’t bad enough, there are anti ethicists who exalt greed and evil and contend that if we just let the market run free, nirvana will ensue. So, I need the occasional break.

A Philosopher’s Blog can be found here. He sometimes blogs about business ethics but more often about general ethics and this makes him an ally in the cause, so to speak.

I going to list some of his blog posts with a paragraph or so from each. I want you, my kind readers to know that his paragraphs are nicely constructed and I think you can often make a good case that I should have chosen one or another over my selection. There is indeed a wealth here of writing, and I hope my critical judgement is up to the task.

Here are some selections from his work –

!!the sheriff on the trail from Zane Grey novelDo We Want Rapists, Robbers and Murderers Voting?

A reply to this is to inquire as to why such a moral standard should be used in regards to the right to vote. After all, the right to vote (as I have argued before) is not predicated on moral goodness or competence. It is based on being a citizen, good or bad. As such, any crime that does not justly remove a citizen’s status as a citizen would not warrant removing the right to vote. Yes, this does entail that rapists, murders and robbers should retain the right to vote. This might strike some as offensive or disgusting, but these people remain citizens. If this is too offensive, then such crimes would need to be recast as acts of treason that strip away citizenship. This seems excessive. And there is the fact that there are always awful people voting—they just have not been caught or got away with their awfulness or are clever and connected enough to ensure that the awful things they do are not considered felonies or even crimes. I am just as comfortable allowing a robber to vote as I am to allow Trump and Hillary to vote in their own election.

Felons & Voting

!!!50053mIn a state that professes to be a democracy, the right of citizens to vote is the bedrock right. As Locke and other philosophers have argued, the foundation of political legitimacy in a democracy is the consent of the governed. As such, to unjustly deny a citizen the right to vote is to attack the foundation of democracy and to erode the legitimacy of the state. Because of this, the only crimes that should disenfranchise are those that would warrant taking away the person’s citizenship. In general, the crime would need to be such that it constitutes a rejection of citizenship. The most obvious example would be treason against the country.

Simulated Living

!!!!40012mOne of the oldest problems in philosophy is that of the external world. It present an epistemic challenge forged by the skeptics: how do I know that what I seem to be experiencing as the external world is really real for real? Early skeptics often claimed that what seems real might be just a dream. Descartes upgraded the problem through his evil genius/demon which used either psionic or supernatural powers to befuddle its victim. As technology progressed, philosophers presented the brain-in-a-vat scenarios and then moved on to more impressive virtual reality scenarios. One recent variation on this problem has been made famous by Elon Musk: the idea that we are characters within a video game and merely think we are in a real world. This is, of course, a variation on the idea that this apparent reality is just a simulation. There is, interestingly enough, a logically strong inductive argument for the claim that this is a virtual world.

Now, these three selections are just his last three. He has a lot more. The gentleman has been blogging since 2007 (two years longer than me!).

I would like for you to click on at least one of the titles and read one of them in full to get more of the impact of his writing. Sometimes, he’s clever and funny but I sense a strong moral center in his work and that is the most important thing in my mind.

I strongly recommend the blog, A Philosopher’s Blog and I wish you, my kind readers and the blog author well.

James Pilant

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