Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Natural Law

Naturalist Ethics, Natural Law

by Curtis Edward Clark
The Academy's accepted general description of ethics is: "that study (also referred to as moral philosophy) or discipline which concerns itself with judgments of approval and disapproval, judgments as to the rightness or wrongness, goodness or badness, virtue or vice, desirability or wisdom of actions, dispositions, ends, objects, or states of affairs."

It is my favorite description because it covers--in general--everything ethics is concerned with. The "Dictionary of Philosophy," (Runes; Ed.) goes on, in much longer detail as to what all those sub-descriptions mean, and how different philosophers have dealt with it, etc.

Ethics is a "study" or a "discipline," as it says above, but before it ever came to be studied in any academy in Ancient Greece, it was an informal idea for tens of thousands of years, as primitive men tried to live side by side with rules that had value for the tribe or community. But as a branch of philosophy, it could not be formalized until philosophy itself was discovered and formalized.

"[M]etaethics [is] a removed, or bird's eye view of the entire project of ethics [,] as the study of the origin and meaning of ethical concepts...Two issues, though, are prominent: (1) metaphysical issues concerning whether morality exists independently of humans, and (2) psychological issues concerning the underlying mental basis of our moral judgments and conduct." "The Internet Enclyclopedia of Philosophy"; http://www.iep.utm.edu/e/ethics.htm

Formalized ethics is what we find in the fields of professions such as medicine and law:

"Most professions have highly detailed and enforceable codes for their respective memberships. In some cases these are spoken of as 'professional ethics.'

"Though law often embodies ethical principals, law and ethics are far from co-extensive. Many acts that would be widely condemned as unethical are not prohibited by law -- lying or betraying the confidence of a friend, for example. And the contrary is true as well. In much that the law does it is not simply codifying ethical norms." Cornell University Law School http://topics.law.cornell.edu/wex/ethics
Natural Law continued
How Do We Learn to Identify Natural Law and Ethics?

Financial Crisis and Recession

"The severe financial crisis and resulting worldwide economic recession we have been forecasting for years are finally unleashing their fury. In fact, the reckless policy of artificial credit expansion that central banks (led by the American Federal Reserve) have permitted and orchestrated over the last fifteen years could not have ended in any other way."
Daily Article by Ludwig von Mises Institute http://mises.org/story/3138
"Barack Obama currently has the following health-care ad in the field. [for the vid and complete article: http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/2008/10/06/false-or-misleading-in-every-particular/ It’s an effort to make Obama’s health plan appear moderate. That’s quite a trick, considering the plan might give Washington more control over the health-care sector than the Clinton health plan. So pretty much the only way they could create the appearance of moderation was to write a script that is false or misleading in every particular.
The ad begins:

"Health care reform. Two extremes. On one end, government-run health care, higher taxes. On the other, insurance companies, without rules, denying coverage. Barack Obama says both extremes are wrong.

"Those are not opposing extremes. In fact, Obama pursues government-run health care, higher taxes, and insurance companies denying coverage, all at once." Cato-at-liberty
for buyers of certain electric cars, including Chevy Volt
"As Congress rushed to throw every conceivable bribe"sweetener" into the second version of the bailout bill in order to drum up enough votes to get it passed, apparently one of the goodies to make it in was a $7,500 tax credit for buyers of some plug-in cars, including the upcoming Chevy Volt.

But in order to qualify for even a smaller credit, the electric vehicles must have at least a 4 kWh battery, and that eliminates the Toyota Prius, which led Toyota to oppose the credit:
"In Brookville, Pennsylvania, there is a conflict between the First Apostles Doctrine Church and the municipal government because the church wants to provide shelter for the homeless but the government wants the church to abide by local zoning regulations. No one disputes the value in helping the homeless, but government officials do insist that acting in the name of Jesus isn't a sufficient justification for simply ignoring the law."
"Advertising can be philosophically annoying. I don’t just mean ads which contain obvious lies (Carlsburg — probably the best beer in the world), trivial truths (There’s only one Coca-Cola), irrelevancies (Waaassuuuuup!), or fallacious thinking (If I can lose weight, you can too). I mean adverts which wander into philosophical territory before jumping up and down. Happiness is not a cigar called Hamlet. The pharmacy Boots has finally stopped using the slogan ‘Boots — ideas for life’. Boots does not provide one with ideas for life.
"These sorts of adverts can be mildly irritating, but I lost my composure when I read Starbuck’s claim that it offers ‘100% ethically traded coffee’. Really? A bit of unscientific googling reveals a lot, but doesn’t an ethical trade require all sorts of things Starbucks probably doesn’t (maybe cannot) provide."

I will be the featured speaker at the Center For Inquiry (CFI) meeting, October 16, 2008, in Portage, Michigan. The topic is "Atheism as a 'Religion' Protected by Courts According to the Establishment Clause" CEC



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