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Entries from February 2012

Are Economic Value Subjectivism and Consequentialism Inconsistent?

February 27th, 2012 · 2 Comments

Political philosopher Kevin Vallier has an interesting but, I think, ultimately confused post over at Bleeding Heart Libertarians suggesting that consequentialism and value subjectivism—two views frequently held by economists—are in tension. To summarize briefly, he argues: Value subjectivism posits that states of affairs have value if and only if people subjectively value those states of […]

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Tags: General Philosophy · Moral Philosophy

Straussian Social Conservatism and the “Dangers of Contraception”

February 24th, 2012 · 45 Comments

The philosopher Leo Strauss was perhaps best known for the view that great philosophical works—especially those produced in times when persecution for heretical views was commonplace—often concealed an “esoteric” message, intended only for an elite of truly “philosophical” readers, that was different from, and often quite at odds with, the surface meaning of the text.  […]

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Tags: Moral Philosophy · Religion · Sociology

An Afterthought on “Responsibility”

February 24th, 2012 · Comments Off on An Afterthought on “Responsibility”

It occurs to me that some of the confusion I mentioned in the previous post has to do with a certain ambiguity around the terms “responsible” and “responsibility.”  In addition to to the simple causal sense of “responsible,” which is obviously linked to the others, we use it to mean “properly subject to moral praise […]

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Tags: Moral Philosophy · Sociology

Worst. Sale. Ever.

February 19th, 2012 · 7 Comments

Spotted by my eagle-eyed girlfriend this weekend at Whole Foods:

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Tags: Economics

Culture and Responsibility

February 19th, 2012 · 14 Comments

Ross Douthat and David Brooks both hit the same point in recent columns on Charles Murray’s new book Coming Apart. Here’s Brooks: [Murray’s] left-wing critics in the blogosphere have reverted to crude 1970s economic determinism: It’s all the fault of lost jobs. People who talk about behavior are blaming the victim. Anybody who talks about […]

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Tags: Moral Philosophy · Sociology

Online Anarchy

February 14th, 2012 · 7 Comments

At regular intervals—too short for it to even be amusing anymore—we now hear that debates over Internet regulation would be more productive if only people would get it through their thick skulls that the Internet is not some special free-for-all zone. There’s no reason it can or should remain magically exempt from the rules that […]

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Tags: Tech and Tech Policy

Nothing Ever Ends.

February 14th, 2012 · 10 Comments

When I heard that DC Comics was planning a series of prequels to Watchmen, my first reaction was the one seemingly shared by most fans of the seminal graphic novel: “For the love of God, why?” Satirists have had plenty of fun contemplating the schlocky derivatives that might be spun off Alan Moore’s masterpiece for […]

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Tags: Art & Culture

More Fresh Scoops from the New York Times

February 11th, 2012 · 5 Comments

“Traveling Light in a Time of Digital Thievery,” Nicole Perlroth, New York Times 2/10/12: When Kenneth G. Lieberthal, a China expert at the Brookings Institution, travels to that country, he follows a routine that seems straight from a spy film. He leaves his cellphone and laptop at home and instead brings “loaner” devices, which he […]

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Tags: Journalism & the Media