Exploring Virtue Ethics

Kronk, perhaps my most beloved Disney character struggles with virtue

Virtues are broad prescriptions about how one should behave. Virtues represent a collective history and tendency to make specific choices, however those choices need not continue to be made. For instance "courage" is a virtue, someone who is "courageous" usually doesn't flee from what they fear, but it is a choice available to them at every encounter. This draws a distinction between virtues and traits. Physical strength is a trait, and not an (ethical) virtue, just because it is a trait that is useful in many situations does not give it a moral value.

Six Types of Ethics Walk Into a 2x2

Ethics is fundamentally about answering the question "how should you live your life". Implicit in that question is the question "what is good?" as well as the rest of the mess that lives on the other side of Hume's guillotine. Mostly we when we think of ethics we think of a preacher exhorting us to give to charity, or a parent teaching a child not to lie, but "go to college so you can succeed in life" is just as much an ethical statement as "don't lie".

Accelerating Addiction

An aside about the writing process on this post: Ben Franklin reportedly learned to write well using a method he described in his autobiography. Basically he would take notes on an article he liked, put them away for a while, and then try to re-write the article from his notes. Afterwards he would compare the result to the original. I thought I would give this a try.

Suggested Viewing: Russian Doll

The Netflix show Russian Doll is great. If you haven't seen it, I strongly recommend that you do, it is probably some of the best TV out this year. It's also very short. About 8 episodes at 24 minutes a piece makes it just 3 hours and 12 minutes, basically a long movie.

A few words about politics

Etymology is fascinating with, particularly how words continue to echo their origins long after you would have expected drift to completely separate them. Reflecting on current and previous meanings of words helps me think about things in a new and useful light. There are a few words in politics that I think can use a little bit of inspection right now.

How would you change the U.S. Government?

A friend of mine recently posted the question on facebook "If you could change one thing about our government, what would it be?"

I think it's a wonderful question, and really enjoyed reading other peoples answers, as well as coming up with my own. I have more than one answer myself, and I also feel like the ways in which I agree and disagree with some other people's suggestions reveal some interesting principals about how I think.

Six 2019 Predictions

I rather enjoy the game of trying to guess what the year to come will hold. Usually I feel like a lot of other people are playing along with me, but this year has been oddly silent.

So let me start by making some guesses, followed by the likelihood I attach to them, and some explanation :

Leering at the "Opportunity Zone"

A Man having his OZone Touched

The most recent Republican revision of tax law, written for 2018, created a new legal-financial concept called an "Opportunity Zone" also referred to as an OZone. OZones are physical areas where different, looser financial rules apply. The idea behind opportunity zones is ostensibly to encourage development or redevelopment of blighted areas.

Advocating for Shades of Censorship

Facebook and Twitter, (as well as many many other online platforms) censor their content. The legality of this is pretty clear as they are private platforms, the ethics of this are interesting and sticky, touch on if they claim to be a common carrier. Even as a common carrier, we have president, legal and emotional, for censorship that applies to specific mediums like the restriction of Telemarketing.

Hard Problems In Homelessness

Assume for a minute, that there was unlimited free housing in rural Montana. Anyone who wanted could sign up, and get a very simple modest house in the middle of a rural area, power and water included. How many of the current homeless would go for it? My guess is not many, and quite rationally so: it's actually a pretty bad deal. By going out to the middle of nowhere you lose access to all sorts of other civil services (health, education, etc) the people you care about (friends and family), and any number of white/grey/black markets.

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