Tag Archives: Philosophy

Against Employment

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“Nothing is work unless you’d rather be doing something else.”  (Usually attributed to George Halas, but I'll bet he got it from this Snorlax–Mr. Lazy hybrid.)

“Nothing is work unless you’d rather be doing something else.”
(Usually attributed to George Halas, but I’ll bet he got it from this Snorlax–Mr. Lazy hybrid.)

In a previous post I argued that Western culture needs to make a dramatic shift away from devoting so many hours towards paid employment. This has become something of a hot topic in the USA right now, partly because some implications of the Affordable Care Act apparently involve forcing some employees to reduce their hours (why such a rich country must interfere with all employers just to ensure that sick children born to poor parents aren’t simply left to die is beyond me and thankfully also besides the point here), but mainly because The Partially Examined Life covered the topic of work in their most recent podcast. In the following guest post, my friend Joey Jones -in a section from his Philosophy MA thesis- takes a rather different view on work both to myself in that aforementioned post, and to the traditional socialist position represented by Karl Marx, whose views I have also written on.

Introduction

Governments always want to increase the amount of work being performed via employment levels, but is this a goal we should be seeking? This depends on whether doing so is in peoples’ best interests. Read the rest of this entry

Žižek’s Concern with Transhumanism

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Detail from the poster for Zizek’s film, ‘The Pervert’s Guide To Ideology’.

This is a guest post by Toby Coe. Most readers will be at least aware of the Slovenian philosopher and intellectual cult figure Slavoj Žižek. The message of his 2011 book, Living In The End Times (published by Verso) is the prediction that has been repeated by almost every Marxist intellectual who has ever taken up a pen in anger, namely, that capitalism will inevitably collapse due to imbalances inherent in the system it creates. Living In The End Times does not really fulfill the promise of showing why this will happen, but is the umbrella under which several interesting discussions of various issues takes place. One of these concerns Transhumanism.

Žižek thinks that Transhumanism is a kind of “apocalypticism”, in other words an ideology that is parasitic on religious notions of an “end times” or “reckoning”, where the old order is brought violently to an end. Read the rest of this entry

Philosotips: Intro + Marx’s Falling Rate of Profit & Games Consoles

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The character 'Marx' from the Kirby video game series.

The character ‘Marx’ from the Kirby video game series. Don’t stare or you’ll get a headache.

NB readers only interested in video games should skip to the last section.

Intro to Philosotips

I’m very happy presently as I’ve just managed to access this site for the first time in many weeks (WordPress.com tell me they’ve got ongoing technical problems here in the UK). So I’m going to celebrate the best way I know how: dreaming up a whole new series of posts instead of carrying on with other series that are still only in their early stages.

These ‘Philosotips’ are short and simple hints for understanding key ideas in philosophy and related subjects. Inspired by my (hopefully) immanent enrollment on postgraduate degree in teaching, these tips are aimed primarily at teachers and their students, but will be accessible to all. At the outset I have 3 main aims: 1) correcting prevalent misunderstandings, 2) suggesting engaging analogies and other useful techniques for conveying the ideas, and 3) pointing out my favourite points among details that aren’t usually covered.

Read the rest of this entry

Is It Acceptable For Men To Argue Against Abortion?

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sex-symbolsEven though I don’t engage in pro-life campaigning, in expressing my philosophical views I’m frequently berated with the comment as a man I’m not allowed to have an opinion on abortion. Occasionally this is made as a polite suggestion, but the overall impression I get is that it is used as an anti-intellectual manoeuvre to try to shut down critical enquiry on this ideologically-charged topic.

In any case it is simply a ridiculous argument. Firstly it’s an ad hominem. There’s obviously no logical relationship between the individual who happens to be articulating an argument and the soundness of that argument. Read the rest of this entry

Philosophers discover new moral principle

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I am ambivalent about publicising the fact that the chief research tool of us philosophers, the thought experiment, is little more than a game of ‘would you rather’ (you know, like Peter Griffin’s friends play on Family Guy), but I must register my dissent from this supposed new principle. I would definitely rather kill a little girl’s puppy because it would teach her a valuable lesson about mortality, and she can get many more puppies. While killing and old lady’s cat might be killing her only source of happiness in life, as well as her oldest and last remaining friend.

fauxphilnews

A previously unrecognized moral principle was discovered last week after ethicists at the University of Mesa realized that they would rather kill an old lady’s cat than a young girl’s puppy. The principle of moral naivete, as it is being called, justifies this preference by holding that the wrongness of inflicting a given harm can depend in part on the degree to which the victim has previously been exposed to such a harm.

The breakthrough came late Thursday as several members of the Moral Philosophy Research Group analyzed the results of a thought experiment they had run earlier in the night. “We were messing around, getting pretty sloshed,” explains Anthony Vega, the group’s principal investigator. “Basically it was just another night at The Lab,” a local bar and the group’s favorite venue for conducting research. Vega and several graduate students were playing Would You Rather, a party game and the standard research tool in…

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2k Consortium Report On Global Temperature Variance

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A major analysis of cutting edge studies has been published in Nature Geoscience this week by an international team of over 70 scientists. Although the authors rightly qualify that their report is not designed in the terms of ‘attribution studies’ which is the most reliable approach to distinguishing causes, their ‘region-up’ analysis of global temperature variance over the last 2,000 years found exactly what would be expected if the current consensus on anthropogenic climate change (ACC) was correct.

Global temperatures were warmer between 1970 and 2000 -the period with the greatest greenhouse gas emissions- than in any other period in the last 1,400 years. This is despite the fact that we should still be experiencing a long period of global cooling which began c.1580 AD, because, as the study indicates, rises and falls in global temperature take place very gradually over long periods. Recent warming, with its rapid arrival in the late 19th century is: 1) by contrast, too sudden to fit the pattern for natural shifts in global temperature, and 2) also perfectly correlated with where we would expect to find warming if it were caused by the explosion of polluting industrial activity, and 3) inexplicable by natural causes such as volcanic eruptions and changes in solar irradiance. Such natural causes do, however, predict earlier periods of significant change which were often short lasting but in such cases were always restricted to small regions, unlike the current global change.

The report therefore adds ‘the Earth has warmed up like this in the past’ to the ever growing list of arguments favoured by the ideological (i.e. bribed) opponents of ACC science [1] [2] [3] to have been refuted empirically. If you are at all interested in the other items on this list and how they relate to the evidence for ACC, why this climate change is such a catastrophic threat to human civilisation, and what actions we can be taking to ameliorate it, I wholeheartedly recommend The No-Nonsense Guide To Climate Change (2nd Edition) by Danny Chivers as an extremely succinct introduction.