Ethics & Morality

Ethics & Morality


A Nightmare About America

America November 13th, 2022

While jogging at sundown one day in April 2003, I had a very moving experience, one that may indeed have bridged my conception of the spiritual and the worldly. My wandering mind juxtaposed my impression of American Indian culture, spirituality, worldview, and morality with the current state of affairs and mentality in European-American culture. I experienced a combination of seemingly coincidental events that struck me as conveying great meaning: that we may come to face a startling reckoning for our legacy and lifestyle.

Read More

Quotes About Religion and Secularism

freedom from religion October 9th, 2022

In this blog about the downsides and abuses of religion, one will find many interesting and rare quotations by both zealots and true believers, as well as by those who are atheistic/agnostic/secular/humanistic/freethinking!

Read More

Aristotle’s View of Humanity’s Highest Aspirations

humanity's highest aspirations September 29th, 2022

Aristotle is the grandfather of ethics and human flourishing; his book The Nicomachean Ethics has been a classic read in philosophy and ethics courses at universities since about 340 B.C.E. He studied with Plato and is largely credited with inventing logic and natural science. In this blog, I will share a brief outline of Aristotle’s first section entitled “The Human Good”, including a few quotations about humanity’s highest virtues.

Read More

Do Humans Deserve Climate Catastrophe?

climate catastrophe September 13th, 2022

Does America deserve to survive and thrive on into the future? We are facing a veritable climate catastrophe, yet our sense of alarm is about “3” on a scale of 1-10. Does that mean we deserve (morally) to suffer whatever fate the gods have in store for us, if you will? I am talking here about responsibility, wisdom, and proactivity. Bottom line: there really is no excuse; we are out of time; it’s a climate catastrophe that should trump Trump, cultural disputes, and the status quo.

Read More

Responsibility & Character Will See Us Through

responsibility July 23rd, 2022

This blog is a short screed that maintains that liberty is lacking in certain key areas for certain classes of individuals (abortion rights, the right to read whatever literature one chooses, the right to choose one’s sexual orientation and gender, etc.) but alive and well for many other classes and groups. Further, responsibility is missing in many areas, too. And as the wise man  said, you can’t have rights without responsibilities. It seems pretty inarguable that character, integrity, honor, and excellence are insufficiently appreciated and cultivated by most Americans. In a word, we are not a democratic republic that seems to extol virtue. Whether we did in the past, or if it is in fact mere lore, we certainly need it now!

Read More

What is Socratic Dialogue?

Socratic dialogue July 17th, 2022

“In order to improve yourself, Socrates insists, you have to know yourself,” said philosopher Judith Barad. Socrates hasn’t been around since ancient Athens, Greece, but the method of inquiry and self-examination he pioneered is still valid and has a lot to recommend it. “Socrates was the first to call philosophy down from the heavens and establish it in the towns and introduce it into homes and force it to investigate life, ethics, good and evil,” according to also-significant Roman orator Cicero. “Socrates’ method was to go about, as he said himself, ‘cross-examining the pretenders to knowledge and wisdom,’ and by the cross-examination, showing them that they were in error, that what they supposed they knew, they did not know,” noted the luminary Mortimer Adler. This blog is about Socratic dialogue – how to appreciate it, and what it can do.

Read More

Abortion Rights (and Wrongs)

abortion rights July 6th, 2022

Abortion is one of the hot topics du jour—unfortunately one of ten or twenty that are now crowding each other for center stage. Indeed, America is riddled with social problems and plagued by a tearing of the social fabric that holds this heterogeneous and highly class-based country together. Though gun violence, the vast Right-wing conspiracy to subvert democracy in 2020-2022, and economic troubles do prey on my mind, I think abortion is quite relevant to values—and therefore it concerns me here on this blog.

Indeed, abortion is all about values: First and foremost, the right a woman has to control her own body (autonomy, or privacy, or freedom, or equality, perhaps).

Secondly, the so-called rights of the unborn child.

Read More

The Republican Party is a Clear and Present Danger

The Republican Party June 30th, 2022

Things keep coming across my desk that strike the same note of fear and anger: the skullduggery, chicanery, and corruption the modern Republican Party is engaging in is a clear and present danger to the fabric of American society. We must not take this lightly, be cowed into silence, or shrink from this grave danger. Obviously, no one has to agree with my take on vigilance, patriotism, or decency—or any other value, political stance, or threat assessment—but I believe it is imperative that we stay cognizant of just how extreme, dangerous, and self-aggrandizing this broken Republican Party is.

Read More

Wisdom: Who, When and Why?

wisdom: Picard's Specialty? June 2nd, 2022

Who has wisdom? At what age is it likeliest? How can one develop it? What does it look like? Here are some practical characteristics of this challenging concept grounded in the idea that it takes more than just age to develop; it is based more on skill and perception than accumulation of years. If the 60s is the decade wisdom is likeliest, that makes the 20s and 30s virtually impossible to really grasp the nature of and importance of learning (beyond technique, such as how to repair a car or how to administer the law, which is more easily attained at younger ages). As well, a person in their 80s is probably too subject to cognitive decline to be the wisest among us. Though it can be heard “from the mouths of babes,” usually babes just cry, gossip, and whine. Read on to hear what some experts think is likely to result in not just knowledge, but wisdom.

Read More

What Does “Moral Values” Mean?

moral values May 23rd, 2022

Values is a neutral term; one could value relaxation, competition, humor, sexual conquest, helping others, or swindling them successfully (subterfuge and personal gain). It means what it sounds like it means – a value is something which a person holds in high regard, pursues, and even loves. Values tend to include hallmark ones such as truth, justice, humility, goodness, and kindness. In this blog, I explore the idea of moral values, asking what the term means, which values probably qualify as moral values, and how one implements them in one’s life.

Read More