A Philosophy of Purchasing

The mere fact that something costs more does not give us any reason to regard it with wonder. I am not impressed by the fact that some people spend 300 dollars on a pair of shoes or 100 dollars on a polo shirt. When purchasing things, I value practicality, sturdy construction, and the highest quality…

Ethics and Self-Interest

Peter Singer points out in his marvelous book How Are We to Live? that in our society–in which materialist, consumeristic, individualistic self-interest is paramount–self-interest and an ethical life are seen as being in conflict.   However, I would argue that this apparent conflict comes from the contradictory character of our notion of self-interest as well…

Truth and Falsehood

Falsehood imprisons; truth liberates.  Falsehood is a crutch, the truth is a pair of wings.

Adam Smith and Industry Over Happiness

Ironically, Adam Smith, “the father of modern economics and the greatest original advocate of free enterprise society” admitted that a form of society based on the pursuit of vain desires–the very kind of society he advocates–would not bring us any real happiness or satisfaction! Here’s the relevant passage. Regarding the grand houses and possessions for…

Defining “Morally Obligatory” and “Morally Permissive”

If doing something is not morally obligatory, then it is morally permissible not to do it.  Conversely, if it is morally permissible to not take a certain action, then the action in question is not morally obligatory.  Morally obligatory actions must be taken; morally permissive actions can be morally taken, but need not be.

Rhetorical Questions

Are rhetorical questions not extremely annoying? Should authors not simply state their points instead of sneaking them by the reader through apparent questions? Is the answer to these questions not clear? I do not think that questions should be universally omitted from writing.  In dialogue, they are helpful.  Questions can also sometimes be effectively used…

The Waves of Emotion

The waves of emotion come and go. No matter how disturbed the surface gets, the depths of the ocean remain undisturbed. We are like this too. On the surface, emotions pull us this way and that. Love blossoms and wilts. But there is part of us that remains undisturbed, growing and learning. Not all love…

Time in History, Literature, and Film

While history has done a superb job charting linear temporal sequences, I believe that literature and film have succeeded equally spectacularly in exploring how time might imaginatively be given form.  Most notable, perhaps, are the forays into narrative methods that complicate linear time sequences altogether (as in the TV series Lost), or force the reader…

The Terror of Choice

It’s hard to plan out what we will do with our lives because our choices must be made against the backdrop of the inescapability of our death and the limited time we have on earth. To me, this real backdrop has sometimes made these choices terrifying; it is a scary thought that we might choose…

The Irony of Social Fetish Production

Humanity’s strange sexual fetishes are ironically produced by the very societies that reject them.   By framing them as taboo, depraved and forbidden, social structures give them their erotic power.  It is a fascinating case of things producing their apparent opposites. To illustrate the point, let us take an extreme case: that of the fetish for…