Archive for May, 2017

Confucians can torture

Monday, May 8th, 2017

I asked Sam Crane at Useless Tree: Are there, in fact, any arguments against torture in Chinese philosophy that aren't basically utilitarian? If there aren't, then could there have been? In Western philosophy our arguments are usually from appeal to various notions of 'human rights', but that wouldn't be possible for ...

The Confucian Canon

Monday, May 8th, 2017



Limits to Reason

Monday, May 8th, 2017

Colin McGinn had a comment on the human tendency to irrationality, partly wondering why people are so irrational given that "human irrationality can seem the oddest and least adaptive trait of the species," and accepting that "we need to know what causes irrationality and what we can do to fix ...

Thoughts on Torture

Monday, May 8th, 2017

Christopher Hitchens has followed in the footsteps of Steve Harrigan and subjected himself to the process known as 'waterboarding' in order to be able to report more insightfully on just what it is that is the focus of so much controversy. He reports that it is clearly torture and that ...

What’s the Point of This?

Monday, May 8th, 2017

  A: Imagine this B: Look at this Something big wrapped in plastic Christo Javacheff (2000) Wrapped Reichstag Project for Berlin A pickled cow Damien Hirst (1995) Mother and Child, Divided Some bricks William Anastasi (1964) En Route (Stack of Bricks) Originally untitled A toilet Marcel Duchamp (1917) Fountain A bike seat with handlebars arranged like a bull Pablo Picasso (1943) Head ...

Art vs. Pornography

Sunday, May 7th, 2017

Many defenders of Bill Henson's pictures of naked sexualised children claim that the public (Philistines) are wrong to condemn Henson's work as pornography because they are art. (But note that some in the Art world's 'in crowd' were prepared to admit Henson's offensiveness before the public noticed.) In making this ...

A Modest Proposal for Middle-East Peace

Sunday, May 7th, 2017

Context UN resolution 242 calls for a withdrawal to secure and recognised borders. Israel may have to accept that no conceivable borders can satisfy both criteria. The Arabs maintain a maximalist (or very nearly) interpretation which insists on Israeli withdrawal to the 1948 borders, but these are impossible for Israel , given ...

Use of Wikipedia

Sunday, May 7th, 2017

The following is from an email I sent on 22/03/2007. I thought I might as well keep it here as anywhere. Some people have pointed out that wikipedia articles often say true things. That may very well be so. In fact it might even be the case that, in general, it ...

T-Legality – A Modality for Legal Activists

Sunday, May 7th, 2017

From Megan McArdle A commenter claims: Umm, you can make "corporations" (or engineers) give us more fuel-efficient cars simply by increasing fuel efficiency standards. If they passed a law tomorrow that said all cars sold by 2010 must get 45mpg, Detroit could do that pretty easily. They just don't, because they don't ...

The Intrinsic Value of Plants

Sunday, May 7th, 2017

The Swiss Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology has issued a report, "The Dignity of Living Beings with Regard to Plants," which declares that the ‘dignity’ of plants must be considered in our handling of them. Apparently "living organisms should be considered morally for their own sake because they are ...