Category Archives: Ethics

Rude tools

In my last post I promised that my next post would be “a theoretical tantrum on the ethics around that miserable love triangle between developer, tool and user.” and that I thought the issue of “‘ownership’ of software is an unrecognized … Continue reading

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What is religion?

What is religion? My definition is very broad: Religion is the conscious effort to situate ourselves within a reality that involves but infinitely exceeds us conceptually, practically and morally.

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Bodies and categories

If an individual elects to be part of a political body, then that individual shares responsibility for those who act on behalf of that body. It is fair to hold people responsible for what their political bodies do. But if you classify a … Continue reading

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Jewish red thread

A part of my autobiography that I had to compress into two lines was my experience with Jewish thinkers. Judaism only became a serious interest for me following my very strange experience of intensive study of Nietzsche starting in 2002 and extending to … Continue reading

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Overcoming ressentiment

I’ve been thinking a lot about ressentiment lately. It saturates the news, art, conversations, nearly everything. Or so my eyes tell me. * What is ressentiment? It is not as some (including me) an exact synonym of resentment, but a distinct flavor of resentment. I … Continue reading

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Channeling La Rochefoucauld

Being offended offends less than giving offense. This can be seen as a kind desire to not cause others pain, or it can be seen as a narcissistic desire to be viewed as blameless. * Long version: A morally undeveloped boor who … Continue reading

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Yet another attempt at Levinas

Whenever I try to read Levinas I have two reactions: first, an immediate relief in reading someone who shares my understanding; but second, a lingering anxiety that pervades and darkens every moment and detail of my life. I have had … Continue reading

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Life is unfair

This scale is an attempt to diagram a framework I posted to Facebook. Lately, I’ve been hearing more and more people declaring that “Life is unfair.” I actually grew up hearing that. I’m starting to believe this statement is the essence … Continue reading

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Going first

Being morally responsible means going first. Trying first. Opening first. Listening first. Repenting first. Giving first. Disarming first. Showing goodwill first. Seeking forgiveness first. Acting first. We can speculate on how others will respond — whether they will or won’t reciprocate, cooperate, collaborate, exploit or humiliate … Continue reading

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The varieties of othering experience

Othering occurs in a variety of forms which can look highly dissimilar or even opposite. There’s a complacent incurious othering: Those others are not really part of my life. I don’t know them, they’re not my problem, I don’t know how to … Continue reading

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It is important to distinguish between feeling as though you are member of a community because you share its values and beliefs, and actually becoming a member of that community by mutually acknowledging shared values and beliefs with fellow members. This is true of communities … Continue reading

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Moral types

Some people listen carefully to others, learning from them how they perceive, think and act, and try to hear beneath it who this person is, what kind of life they live, what kind of world they inhabit, what might interest … Continue reading

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A xenophobe is averse to alien being. The degree of aversion is proportional to the alienness of the alien. Two xenophobes from different tribes will go to war over their differing loyalties, beliefs and customs. But at least they share xenophobia (and those tacit fundamental faiths … Continue reading

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“God Is Not Dead”

A church in my neighborhood put a flyer in my mailbox inviting me to a screening of “God Is Not Dead.” I decided to go and see it and to meet the people at the church. The film was interesting, … Continue reading

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Nobody wants the world to be unjust. But different people regard justice very differently. Whose vision of justice prevails? The objectively true one, right? — the one your opponent has been arguing for ages, but you will not accept because of your self-interest and lack … Continue reading

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Postenlightenment harmony

Tillich (from The Courage to Be): The whole [Enlightenment] period believed in the principle of “harmony” — harmony being the law of the universe according to which the activities of the individual, however individualistically conceived and performed, lead “behind the … Continue reading

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Symmetrical egalitarianism

Can egalitarianism be disrespectful? In some social contexts strict egalitarianism is the very embodiment of respect. An example of such a context is a gathering of equal peers deliberating on a shared problem. Each is understood by the others to … Continue reading

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Pop ideology how-to guide

Here is how to build a popular ideology: Do rock-solid factual investigation. Satisfy the requirements of the critical mind. Present the facts of the investigation in compelling stories that win over the heart, too. Adhere to the facts. Encourage the … Continue reading

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A newish political framework

(Updated November 25, 2015) No word is more loaded and distorted than the word “liberal”. No word is more crucial, especially right now: deprived of language, the very concept of liberalism is slipping away, its quiet reasonableness drowned out by … Continue reading

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