“Morality is neither subjective nor objective; it is immanent in human life. There is no shortcut to learning it, other than to live. There are no guarantees that you will get it right in each case or on the whole, even if you enlist the advice of, or heatedly discuss differing points of view with, a large number of people.”
“The longer answer to our question is therefore: live your life, read, write, argue, listen. Read the classics of moral philosophy to get a sense of what terrain has already been explored, and always bring what you have learned back down to Earth, where people actually live.”
The Great Bison Spirit
Is the American Government morally justified in it’s actions?
On October 28th, the Tatanka Oyate (Buffalo Nation) was seen coming over a hill near the Dakota Access Pipeline protest in North Dakota. This was a sign from Wakan Tanka (Great Spirit). We need to acknowledge and support the Sioux’s sovereign right to protect this land and sacred grounds.
“The DAPL is a pipeline which was supposed to run north of Bismarck until it was deemed too dangerous for their water supply. As a result, it was moved just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on sacred grounds. These grounds are the tribe’s equivalent of the Arlington Cemetery. I have visited both of these sacred sites and will tell you they are one in the same. Not only that, but these are unceded lands taken from the tribe in violation of 1851 treaties which declare them to be Sioux land.“
#StandingRockDakotaAccessPipelineOpposition #standingrock #dakotaaccesspipelineprotest
The Great Philosophers: Thomas Aquinas
“Aquinas was both a philosopher and a holy saint. Refusing either to lose his faith or mindlessly believe, he developed a new understanding of the place of reason in human life. Aquinas’s monumental contribution was to teach Western European civilisation that any human being – not just a Christian – could have access to great truths whenever they made use of God’s greatest gift to human beings: reason. He broke a logjam in Christian thinking, the question of how non-Christians could have both wisdom and at the same time no interest in, or even knowledge of, Jesus. He universalised intelligence and opened the Christian mind to the insights of all of humanity from across the ages and continents. The modern world, in so far as it insists that good ideas can come from any quarter regardless of creed or background, remains hugely in his debt.”
What is Truth?
“Truth, like knowledge, is surprisingly difficult to define. We seem to rely on it almost every moment of every day and it’s very “close” to us. Yet it’s difficult to define because as soon as you think you have it pinned down, some case or counterexample immediately shows deficiencies. Ironically, every definition of truth that philosophers have developed falls prey to the question, “Is it true?””
The Philosopher: A History in Six Types (Review)
“Late in his career, Plato wrote two dialogues, the Sophist and Statesman, each apparently aimed at defining the figure named in its title. But the real subject of these dialogues is their own methods: definition, distinctions, analogies. The dialogues are written as if part of a trilogy, but the climactic dialogue — The Philosopher — was never written. Perhaps that was the point: defining the philosopher needs one to be a bit of a philosopher oneself. Plato’s readers need to take the essential last step for themselves, asking what (if anything) the activities labeled “philosophy” have in common.”
Who Do You Trust?
Interesting application of the “Trolley Problem” and other moral dilemmas in determining who we typically trust. How we reason morally can tell us a great deal about the kind of person we are.
“What does this mean? Well, if you want people to trust you; you might want to stick to your principles. If you want to focus on the greater good, get used to not being trusted as much. Perhaps most importantly, know that people don’t just trust who they happen to agree with; they trust the principled agent over the morally flexible one almost every time.”
#philosophy #morality #moralreasoning #trolleyproblem
Know Thy Self
“In Ancient Greece, the philosopher Socrates famously declared that the unexamined life was not worth living. Asked to sum up what all philosophical commandments could be reduced to, he replied: ‘Know yourself.’ Knowing yourself has extraordinary prestige in our culture. It has been framed as quite literally the meaning of life.”
We Have Always Been Idiots!
“…the way to greater confidence isn’t to reassure ourselves of our own dignity; it’s to grow at peace with the inevitable nature of ridiculousness. We are idiots now, we have been idiots in the past, and we will be idiots again in the future – and that is OK. There aren’t any other available options for human beings.”
“The road to greater confidence begins with a ritual of telling oneself solemnly every morning, before heading out for the day, that one is a muttonhead, a cretin, a dumbbell and an imbecile. One or two more acts of folly should, thereafter, not matter very much at all.”
Kant’s Life & Philosophy
Kant’s philosophy through a Monty-Python style animation!
“Philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) is perhaps best known for his systematic philosophical ethics, conceived of as a post-religious framework for secular morality. His primary ethical mandate, which he called the “categorical imperative,” enables us—Alain de Botton tells us in his short School of Life video above—to “shift our perspective, to get us to see our own behavior in less immediately personal terms.” It’s a philosophical version, de Botton says, of the Golden Rule. “Act only according to that maxim,” Kant famously wrote of the imperative in his Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, “by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.””
# philosophy #immanuelkant
Philosophy vs Science
“Behind this antipathy to philosophy lies a peculiar psychological attitude, one that I have encountered many times. It is exhibited by a wide range of readers, from Nobel prize winners to Amazon reviewers. An individual, let’s call him Horace, has been successful in some area of intellectual activity such as physics, law, or engineering. Horace then infers from this success that he is equally adept in all other intellectual domains, including philosophy. Difficulties ensue, Horace does not understand why the author is arguing for X, or even what the argument for X is, but what Horace does know is that it’s the author’s fault or the fault of philosophy in general.”