Ethics Archive

  • I keep waiting for this headline to appear. In the ongoing struggle between privacy and convenience, convenience  often seems to win without much debate. Marketing and advertising professionals seem to have unlocked the key to getting consumers happily hand over data about themselves: simply offer some rewards. If you let us track all of your grocery purchases and sell that information, we’ll give you 5 whole percent off! Stay at our hotel 30 times as part of our loyalty rewards program and get one night free during the off season! Tie your American Express card to your Foursquare account and […]

    NSA Loyalty Rewards Program: $1,000 Tax Rebate

    I keep waiting for this headline to appear. In the ongoing struggle between privacy and convenience, convenience  often seems to win without much debate. Marketing and advertising professionals seem to have unlocked the key to getting consumers happily hand over data about themselves: simply offer some rewards. If you let us track all of your grocery purchases and sell that information, we’ll give you 5 whole percent off! Stay at our hotel 30 times as part of our loyalty rewards program and get one night free during the off season! Tie your American Express card to your Foursquare account and […]

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  • I’d like to say  up front that this is not a fear-mongering post. The internet and I basically grew up together. I learned a lot about the world and myself through connecting with others, and I taught myself skills that serve me well to this day – like blogging! Viruses and phishing scams were never a major concern for – they were obvious. Yet, the same isn’t true for my parents. I consider them to be tech savvy – they’ve kept up with the pace of technology change and embraced innovation. Despite this, potential threats are never quite as obvious […]

    How to Protect Your Kids Online – These 5 Easy Ways

    I’d like to say  up front that this is not a fear-mongering post. The internet and I basically grew up together. I learned a lot about the world and myself through connecting with others, and I taught myself skills that serve me well to this day – like blogging! Viruses and phishing scams were never a major concern for – they were obvious. Yet, the same isn’t true for my parents. I consider them to be tech savvy – they’ve kept up with the pace of technology change and embraced innovation. Despite this, potential threats are never quite as obvious […]

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  • This week we brew an American-style barleywine that will serve two purposes! It will be the celebration beer for after our baby is born; however, we’ll also be wax sealing a few of them to save them so that hopefully they can be eventually be our kid’s first beer! We chose the barleywine style precisely because it should hold up for a relatively long time in the bottle. This led us to a discussion of the ethical question: When is an appropriate age for a child to try alcohol at home with their parents – if any? Do you wait […]

    Ph.Dad Episode 5: Baby Beer

    This week we brew an American-style barleywine that will serve two purposes! It will be the celebration beer for after our baby is born; however, we’ll also be wax sealing a few of them to save them so that hopefully they can be eventually be our kid’s first beer! We chose the barleywine style precisely because it should hold up for a relatively long time in the bottle. This led us to a discussion of the ethical question: When is an appropriate age for a child to try alcohol at home with their parents – if any? Do you wait […]

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  • Merry Moral Monday! Several of us—JustHeath included—here at Philosophy Matters are purveyors of the British science fiction series Doctor Who.  In fact, J J Sylvia, the founder of the website, has even written a very good chapter in a  centered on the philosophy of the television program.  This past Saturday night, I happened to catch an episode on MPB, the Mississippi affiliate of PBS that will serve as a starting point for today’s moral dilemma. So, come along [Ponds], and…Geronimo! “The Wedding of River Song” (2011) In the  finale, the show’s main protagonist, the Doctor, has to save the entire […]

    Moral Monday: The Wedding of River Song

    Merry Moral Monday! Several of us—JustHeath included—here at Philosophy Matters are purveyors of the British science fiction series Doctor Who.  In fact, J J Sylvia, the founder of the website, has even written a very good chapter in a  centered on the philosophy of the television program.  This past Saturday night, I happened to catch an episode on MPB, the Mississippi affiliate of PBS that will serve as a starting point for today’s moral dilemma. So, come along [Ponds], and…Geronimo! “The Wedding of River Song” (2011) In the  finale, the show’s main protagonist, the Doctor, has to save the entire […]

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  •   I spend days doing science and some nights at a wonderful place called the Nature Research Center in Raleigh, North Carolina where they host the Science Café every Thursday night. This Thursday the museum was host to an exceptional speaker and herpetologist, Mike Dorcus. While joining a group of scientists, citizens and excited kids learning about Burmese pythons, I couldn’t get the thought out of my head that if people had just reflected and researched for a moment before releasing their pet pythons into the Florida everglades, we wouldn’t have as big of a problem that we are having […]

    On memes and Burmese pythons

      I spend days doing science and some nights at a wonderful place called the Nature Research Center in Raleigh, North Carolina where they host the Science Café every Thursday night. This Thursday the museum was host to an exceptional speaker and herpetologist, Mike Dorcus. While joining a group of scientists, citizens and excited kids learning about Burmese pythons, I couldn’t get the thought out of my head that if people had just reflected and researched for a moment before releasing their pet pythons into the Florida everglades, we wouldn’t have as big of a problem that we are having […]

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  • Recently, we’ve been discussing Peter Singer’s  book. Last time we noted that most people think the U.S. devotes more of its budget to foreign aid than it actually does. And even when you include private giving, the U.S. is still last in giving among developed nations. Today, I want to focus on that idea of personalized giving. I found the conclusion of One World to be extremely powerful, and I’d like to walk through it here. Singer paraphrases a dilemma presented by Peter Unger in : Bob is close to retirement. He has invested most of his savings in a […]

    On Eliminating Poverty

    Recently, we’ve been discussing Peter Singer’s  book. Last time we noted that most people think the U.S. devotes more of its budget to foreign aid than it actually does. And even when you include private giving, the U.S. is still last in giving among developed nations. Today, I want to focus on that idea of personalized giving. I found the conclusion of One World to be extremely powerful, and I’d like to walk through it here. Singer paraphrases a dilemma presented by Peter Unger in : Bob is close to retirement. He has invested most of his savings in a […]

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  • I ended my last post with a few questions, one of which included: What percent of the federal budget do you think is spent on foreign aid? As you can see in the graph above, the mean percentage response is 31, while the median is 25. Although the data in the graph above is from 2002, more recent studies have shown very similar results. If you focus only on those respondents with a college education, the median drops from 25 to 15. This question is interesting, because these same people indicated that they believed we should spend less money than […]

    On Myths of Foreign Aid Spending in the U.S.

    I ended my last post with a few questions, one of which included: What percent of the federal budget do you think is spent on foreign aid? As you can see in the graph above, the mean percentage response is 31, while the median is 25. Although the data in the graph above is from 2002, more recent studies have shown very similar results. If you focus only on those respondents with a college education, the median drops from 25 to 15. This question is interesting, because these same people indicated that they believed we should spend less money than […]

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  • I recently read Peter Singer’s  while working on lesson plans for a Governor’s School course proposal. Although some of the information in here is a bit outdated, the overal premise is still relevant and extremely important to think about as the trend toward globalization continues to increase. The most basic way to state the problem of globalization is that humans have evolved and have lived with small groups of other humans for thousands of years. The problem solving skills, psychology, and ethics that we have developed revolve mostly around these small communities. Even within larger cities that have developed over […]

    Philosophy Book Club: One World

    I recently read Peter Singer’s  while working on lesson plans for a Governor’s School course proposal. Although some of the information in here is a bit outdated, the overal premise is still relevant and extremely important to think about as the trend toward globalization continues to increase. The most basic way to state the problem of globalization is that humans have evolved and have lived with small groups of other humans for thousands of years. The problem solving skills, psychology, and ethics that we have developed revolve mostly around these small communities. Even within larger cities that have developed over […]

    Continue Reading...

  • From an ethical perspective, I think most people – and most ethical theories – would tend to agree that fewer mass shootings and fewer gun murders would be a good thing. The problem, of course, arises when we discuss how to achieve that goal. I’ve written before about how rhetoric-filled memes work against that goal, so today I will try to take a critical look at the issues surrounding gun control with as much data and as little fallacious logic as possible. The Constitutionality of Gun Control At least in the United States, the very second any type of gun […]

    Rational Thoughts on Gun Control

    From an ethical perspective, I think most people – and most ethical theories – would tend to agree that fewer mass shootings and fewer gun murders would be a good thing. The problem, of course, arises when we discuss how to achieve that goal. I’ve written before about how rhetoric-filled memes work against that goal, so today I will try to take a critical look at the issues surrounding gun control with as much data and as little fallacious logic as possible. The Constitutionality of Gun Control At least in the United States, the very second any type of gun […]

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  • Bonjour, mes amis! Well, it’s been precipitating quite a bit here recently in the Golden Triangle region, so I’ve been catching up on the 1980’s reincarnation of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone (TTZ).  Much like Gene Roddenberry’s original Star Trek, TTZ are often a mix of science fiction and morality tales.  We emphasize critical thinking and ethical decision-making a lot here at Philosophy Matters, and TTZ does not disappoint as a topical tool.  I think I’m going to be using more of TTZ episodes in postings because I have found them effective discussion pieces in my classes.  So, get ready […]

    Moral Monday: The Hellgramite Method

    Bonjour, mes amis! Well, it’s been precipitating quite a bit here recently in the Golden Triangle region, so I’ve been catching up on the 1980’s reincarnation of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone (TTZ).  Much like Gene Roddenberry’s original Star Trek, TTZ are often a mix of science fiction and morality tales.  We emphasize critical thinking and ethical decision-making a lot here at Philosophy Matters, and TTZ does not disappoint as a topical tool.  I think I’m going to be using more of TTZ episodes in postings because I have found them effective discussion pieces in my classes.  So, get ready […]

    Continue Reading...