The ransom dilemma

According to Peter Singer, “the refusal to pay ransoms to terrorists can seem callous, but in truth it is the only ethical policy.” So if refusing to pay a ransom to terrorists is the only ethical policy, the “rule of reason” v. the “rule of rescue” not really a dilemma at all … according to Singer.


The vanishing self

In an interview with Gary Gutting, Sam Harris explains that there is no self. “Consciousness exists (whatever its relationship to the physical world happens to be), and it is the experiential basis of both the examined and the unexamined life. If you turn consciousness upon itself in this moment, you will discover that your mind tends to wander into thought. If you look closely at thoughts themselves, you will notice that they continually arise and pass away. If you look for the thinker of these thoughts, you will not find one. And the sense that you have — ‘What the hell is Harris talking about? I’m the thinker!’— is just another thought, arising in consciousness.

Stoic Week begins Monday, November 24

Stoic Week 2014 is an online and international event taking place from Monday, November 24, to Sunday, November 30. This is its third year. Anyone can participate by following the daily instructions in the Stoic Week 2014 Handbook. You can follow the Stoic practices of Marcus Aurelius, Seneca and Epictetus, for seven days, and discuss your experience other participants. “The aims of the course are to introduce the philosophy so that you can see how it might be useful in your own life and to measure its potential therapeutic effectiveness.”

Lost in Rawlsland

George Yancy’s interview of Charles Mills: “Here in the United States, for example, we have the absurd situation of a huge philosophical literature on social justice in which racial injustice — the most salient of American injustices — is barely mentioned.” The interview raises challenging questions about how useful Rawls’ ideal social contract is for dealing with real-world injustice, especially racial injustice.