Aaron Swartz and “Hactivision”

January 22, 2013

. When did it happen? When did technology become knowledge? When did code become wisdom? When did Greek gods become geek gods? When did the new product rollout or the tech-conference stage and back screen become lectern and altar, the new stained-glass backdrop for the church of futurism? An eighteen or thirty or twenty-five year […]

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The Drowning Child: an Experiment in Morality

July 27, 2012

. Over at Philosophy Experiments, a site of The Philosopher’s Magazine, one of the experiments is drawn from Peter Singer‘s “The Drowning Child and the Expanding Circle.” Here is the basic scenario. Your route to work takes you past a shallow pond. One morning you notice that a small child has fallen in and appears […]

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Paterno, Penn State, and Mass Communications

November 10, 2011

. Rob wonders in the comments where to begin in considering the riotous reaction of Penn State students to the firing of football coach Joe Paterno. One can begin by hoping a day will come – tomorrow, forty years from tomorrow – when each student who protested the dismissal will grapple with at least embarrassment, […]

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Left Bereft: September 11, 2001 and the Politics of the Moral Imagination

September 11, 2011

(9/11/11: the sixth in a series) I have met them at close of day Coming with vivid faces From counter or desk among grey Eighteenth-century houses. I have passed with a nod of the head Or polite meaningless words, Or have lingered awhile and said Polite meaningless words, And thought before I had done Of […]

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Michael Sandel: The lost art of democratic debate

August 11, 2010

Harvard’s Sandel offers a pithy “real-world” introduction to thinking about justice – Aritstotle’s still “da man” – and defense of reasoned, democratic debate. There is a tendency to think that if we engage too directly with moral questions in politics, that’s a recipe for disagreement, and for that matter a recipe for intolerance and coercion; […]

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