Thursday, October 23, 2008

Love Story?

What is love? We have been talking about this at length in RPE301 - Love, Sex and Death: so I thought students of that course may be interested in this week's episode of 'Imagine' from the BBC: view it at

Maybe we can do some more on the blog about the nature of romantic love?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

US state curtails child dumping - an odd law?

The BBC reports, at that Nebraska has changed its laws - so that you can no longer 'dump' unwanted children on the state. The limit has been altered to only 3-days old - but before that it was 18 years - as the BBC site says:

The law allowed parents and guardians to leave children up to the age of 18 at hospitals without an explanation or interference from the law.

I must admit this seems rather extreme - but it did make me think: who 'owns' children and is responsible for them? Is it just parents - or all of us?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Update on The Philosophy Society

We had a good turnout for our firsting meeting as The Philosophy Society. Jess prepared some excellent minutes which I will email to those on the mailing list. If you are not on the mailing list and would like to be, let me know and I will add your name. My student number is s0510427.

We had an enthusiastic round of idea spinning for this year's reading agenda. Both Dawkins and Dostoyevsky were suggested again. Most thought it would be a good idea to take a subject and find two differing theories to discuss the subject. Following from that idea we decided to repeat the reading set for the first session, as people had missed the links and were unprepared for discussion.

The short story "The Assembly Line" by the writer B. Traven:

The article by Milton Friedman discussing "the business of business is business":

If you have the time (it is 20 minutes) have a look at this smart video. It is worth a look because it throws another light onto Friedman's claim that corporate activity must not be controlled by politicians. Friedman may be right, but this video claims that, far from being controlled by politicians, current corporate activity is instead the controller:

Our meetings are always the first Thursday of the month. The next one will be at 7pm, the 6th of November, in the Gallery Room above the SU Bar at Park Campus.

Please contact me if you have any queries.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Tracking ethics in the stock market?

As we watch the Dow Jones and the FTSE100 plummet, you can track the ethical ratings of Corporations at .

As their website says Geneva-based Covalence tracks the ethical reputation of multinationals by sourcing information from companies, the media and civil society. An intersting idea, I thought, for readers of this blog.


Monday, October 06, 2008

Greetings from Big Sky country…

I’ve been speaking today to the Centre for Ethics here in Missoula, at the University of Montana, about the purpose of teaching Ethics as an academic subject.

Some of the points we discussed were:
¢ In an ethics class we take students – and don’t in our classes in Higher Education –transmit an ethic.
¢ We school our students in the problems of identifying the good – but we refrain from dictating their conclusions.
¢ They come to us, they ponder the good –then we set them loose..
¢ What have we done?
¢ We ask that they understand, but not that they implement…

I asked whether we ought to see ourselves also as helping students develop their moral character? Unlike a more straight empirical discipline, the teaching of ethics may be an area where we wish to bring about in some sense a transformation of the student: should this be our goal?


Thursday, October 02, 2008

Dementia and an 'obligation to die'

There is an interesting post on the ethical issues surrounding dementia at - some of you might like to head over there to comment...


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Philosophy Society

We had an exciting response to The Philosophy Society at the Freshers' Fayre. Over 70 people expressed interest and want to be included on the mailing list. All those (bar two - because their email addresses were disabled) have received an email as a reminder that our first meeting is 2nd October, at 7pm, in The Gallery Room above the SU Bar at Park Campus. We will discuss the direction for the group. Please bring suggestions of books, essays, short stories, ideas, issues that you may like to discuss in the future.

For those who may be interested but did not receive the email I have set some reading for discussion. I thought an interesting theme may be Business Ethics, as some business students showed an interest in the philosophy group. A very short story by the mysterious writer Traven shows one point of view and the Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman shows another.

You may also like to have a look at the philosophy reading group blog from last year organised by Emily. We can use this blog this year to engage in discussion.

Look forward to meeting all of you Thursday.