“Big picture” ethics

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The prior post in this series about “empathy-based ethics” confronted its “fatal flaw” in standing alone as a way to deal with moral dilemmas. The reality is that we can’t save every person who needs our help. And so, at some point, even the most empathetic among us have to start thinking in terms of the “bigger picture.” I can’t… Read more »

“Wink and a nod” contract consideration – part 2

The first part of this series of posts looked at the growing inability to prosecute political bribery because the courts and legislatures have enabled layers of opaque legal entities to hide the delivery of the political favors from the receipt of the “consideration.” As I noted in that part, no official “contract” exists other than a “wink and a nod”… Read more »

When you can’t save them all

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Earlier posts in this series have looked at two indications that the first two “vectors” of ethical models presented (both deontology and teleology), are insufficient in themselves for creating a realistic and robust system of ethics, despite having many strong advocates and long-winded defenses over many centuries, religions and cultures. On the other hand, empathy-based and relationship-based ethical models in… Read more »

“Wink and a nod” contract consideration – part 1

One of the foundational concepts of the university Business Law course, a staple of every business curriculum, is that of contracts, the agreement between two parties to do something (or sometimes, not do something). Most often, that “something” is an exchange of goods or services. And we were long taught that fundamentally, you have no contract unless you have this… Read more »

The “God language” of violence

I noted in an earlier post in my continuing series on ethics that I believe we often see religious language backwards in this pursuit. My view is that the various religious “God languages” of humankind, as well as the many philosophical and popular cultural languages, are the “means of expression” for more basic human needs and goals. And “God languages”… Read more »

John Rawls and justice ethics

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In my continuing series of posts on ethical systems and their relation to how our brain makes decisions, I have shifted to the vector of models that I call “empathy-based ethics.” The ethical ideal of justice as articulated by the late John Rawls fits well into this vector. Rawls, who died in 2002, was honored in 1999 by President Bill… Read more »

When God plays dice in Hawai’i

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Now I don’t know … I don’t know I don’t know where I’m a gonna go When the volcano blow.  – Jimmy Buffett – “Volcano” This blog has been going for some time now, but it started with pondering a basic human dilemma, best illustrated at this moment in time by the volcanic lava flowing into inhabited parts of the “Big… Read more »

Who is my neighbor?

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In the preface to Luke’s parable of the “Good Samaritan” [1], Jesus is challenged by the crowd, during a discussion of the deontological Jewish Law, to answer the question, “Who is my neighbor?” His answer was that the stranger who responded with compassion to the injured man lying alongside the road was his “neighbor,” even though the benefactor’s ethnicity was despised. [2]… Read more »

Gun violence: What will really change the statistics?

The wave of mass shootings in the U.S. continues unabated and, based on my prior analyses of the math behind the shootings [1], it will get worse because Americans can’t or won’t deal with that math. It will get worse because the root causative factor is, simply stated, the ready availability of weapons, and the root predictor of “high-lethality events” is… Read more »

Ends, means and the banality of evil

For each of the different types of ethical/moral systems that this blog has been exploring lately, I have been asking the question, “Is this ethical system sufficient for making moral judgements and ethical decisions?” This post looks at the “end-based” models of recent discussion, such as teleology and consequentialism. Two of the “fatal flaws” that render these moral systems as… Read more »