Tag Archives: philosophy

Why Do We Have Friends?

As someone who possesses a natural suspicion toward human beings, I tend to befriend only a few. With my college years coming to a close – well, with three and a half years left, but – and my already non-existent social life fading away, I’ve caught myself contemplating this question: why do I have friends? Why do I hang out with the people I hang out with? Is friendship intrinsically selfish? Why would others even consider associating with me when I make weird animal noises and overuse the words “pulchritudinous” and “twerk”? Continue reading

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Filed under Personal, Society

The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten by Julian Baggini

Cover via Goodreads.

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 4/5 stars.

Here’s a question for vegetarians: if a pig were raised in a comfortable and humane slaughterhouse, would you eat it? What if that pig were also genetically modified to want to be eaten – if being eaten was indeed its life’s ambition? How about a genetically modified chicken that had lost its sense of self, environment, pain, pleasure etc.? It’d be like plucking a potato from the ground.

Another one, for everyone: let’s say you’re a doctor, and you have a patient who falls unconscious while on life-support. Beforehand she asked over and over again to be taken off the machine, but to your chagrin, an ethics committee forbids you from doing so. One day a random passerby – a janitor, perhaps – accidentally knocks out the plug and disconnects the patient from the machine. You let it go and the patient fades away: after all, you took no measure in shortening the her life, you just failed to prolong it. Are you justified? Continue reading

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Filed under 4 stars, Book Reviews, Books

The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt

Cover via Goodreads.

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 4/5 stars.

From a psychological standpoint, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion earns five stars. The book loses some of its appeal when Jonathan Haidt veers into political philosophy, however – especially when he raises the biased question “why are religious people better neighbors and citizens?”

Let me backtrack. The Righteous Mind is split into three sections. The first focuses on how intuitions come first and are followed by strategic reasoning, the second shows that there are six moral foundations (Care/Harm, Fairness/Cheating, Liberty/Oppression, Loyalty/Betrayal, Authority/Subversion, and Sanctity/Degradation), and the third hones in on the belief that morality binds and blinds. By the end each part made sense in relation to one another and came together to pack a strong moral philosophy punch. Though the book had some dense sections – like the history and biology of moral philosophy – Haidt included interesting scenarios, research, and anecdotes to alleviate the doldrums. Continue reading

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Filed under 4 stars, Book Reviews, Books

Is Having Babies Selfish?

Baby me. I used to be so innocent and adorable, I wonder what went wrong...

Baby me. I used to be so innocent and adorable, I wonder what went wrong…

Here’s my foreseeable future: go to college, get an undergraduate degree in English/Psychology/Philosophy, go to graduate school, solidify a successful career, get married, have kids. Sounds like a plan, especially after throwing in a mother with anger issues and the fact that I don’t know how to drive yet. As you can see, I’ve thought about my future a lot.

But here’s something I haven’t thought of yet: why do I want kids? Continue reading

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Filed under Society

The Stranger by Albert Camus

Cover via Goodreads.

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 3/5 stars.

On a plot level, reading The Stranger is as exciting as watching your grandmother eat potatoes. It’s a simple story about a nondescript man who does things randomly and routinely, and he eventually goes to trial for an incident caused by the heat.

Though I didn’t care about the characters or the plot, The Stranger did prove intellectually stimulating. Continue reading

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Filed under 3 stars, Book Reviews, Books

Is Alcohol Inherently Immoral?

The other day in Physics my teacher gave a brief lecture and then held a discussion debating whether or not alcohol is inherently immoral. Don’t ask me why this was occurring in Physics – I think it’s because my teacher has a penchant for philosophy – and I was simply thankful that we were talking about this rather than impulse and momentum.

Now, alcohol. Personally, I abhor alcohol. I will never drink it. I know it may be difficult to carry out that claim, but to be frank, I am staunchly against alcohol, and for many reasons that I will discuss.

However, is it actually wrong? Is the act of consuming alcohol – merely that act, on its own – immoral? I had to think tremendously hard on this one and force my brain to get past my own bias, and after doing so, I’ve come to the conclusion that no, alcohol is not inherently immoral.

Continue reading

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