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To the Dogs

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    Amy Peikoff
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  1. Thanks for the laugh, Jake. And of course we need not mention the fact that this thread was about a certain type of ethics *course*, not about the substantive ethical issues discussed in it.
  2. This is a very common college course. The things that bug me about it as it's usually taught: 1. The first day or two is often devoted to "motivating" the students by raising a lifeboat scenario and leading the students through a discussion that is supposed to introduce them to what it means to "think ethically." Read Rand's "Ethics of Emergencies" to see what's wrong with this. 2. The line between ethics and politics is often blurred in these classes. 3. Most professors offer Kant and Mill as the main alternatives in ethics. A few offer others, but only rarely do they offer Rand, which is the third basic alternative. (My advisor at USC, in her version of this class, offered Nozick/Locke to defend a "libertarian" position. But, unlike in her presentation of Kant and Mill, with respect to them she focused mostly on politics which, of course, made the libertarian view look amoral at best.) So, if you could steer clear of the lifeboat scenarios, and present enough basic ethical theory to give the students the tools they need to address contemporary moral issues in terms of the three main ethical theories, this sort of course isn't half bad.
  3. For my part, I could have started by asking a question, e.g.: "Was the amount of profanity on those few pages representative of the book as a whole?" (It wasn't.) Or the more basic, "Why did you choose to use profanity in the book?" If I did that, perhaps Bosch wouldn't have gotten his hackles up right away. ("That's too bad....for you." ha) I did use the frown emoticon, probably as a softening element, but Bosch isn't big on computer-generated emoticons and so probably tuned it out. Anyway, we definitely got started off on the wrong foot 4 years ago, but I'm glad we got a second chance.
  4. The way Bosch and I connected on FB is a good story in and of itself. Not quite serendipitous (in its literal meaning), but it definitely involved some elements of luck.
  5. Sorry, I should have thanked *Ash* as the one who decided not to delete this.
  6. FWIW, I heard that Rand used to say it was a mistake to try and "convert" your parents. On the other hand, if they are truly asking for a recommendation because they'd like to understand you, I would vote for TF.
  7. Live and learn? Here's what Bosch wrote to me about _Table for One_ on Sept. 11 of this year, a day after I "met" him on FB: "Thanks, looking forward to your thoughts on it. I don't know how you feel about profanity, but the book's profane, it was a choice of mine to keep it true to itself, to my experience in the restaurant business, a sometimes very ugly place. Some are turned off by it, some aren't." And here's what I wrote back: "I'm not big on profanity, but if it seems natural in the context then of course it's OK. I'll see what I think." Both of us had forgotten that we "met" on this board 4-1/2 years earlier, but obviously we both took something from that exchange. A few weeks ago Bosch Googled us and found this thread. Too funny! Anyway, thanks for not deleting it, Ryan, because it's given us a good laugh!
  8. Here I am following Yaron Brook, who wrote at great length on this issue in The Objective Standard. In essence he wrote that, if we are fighting a proper war of self-defense, then we are justified in doing whatever is necessary to eliminate the threat to ourselves, with minimal loss of life on our side (civilian and military). While no sane person advocates *gratuitous* killing of enemy non-combatants (why waste the resources?), if some of them are killed in the course of our taking justified actions in self-defense, then their being killed is the responsibility of the aggressor nation. In the course of a proper war (Iraq is not one of these, unfortunately), our military should not be taking on unnecessary risks to themselves, in the course of completing proper military missions, in order to avoid civilian casualties.
  9. Actually the biggest worry I would have about serving in today's military is about the rules of engagement, courtesy of the Just War Theory. If you join, you will be taught that the life of an enemy civilian is more valuable than your own, and that you should expose yourself to significant risk of death or bodily injury in order to save the lives of enemy civilians. I don't know how much of that teaching is actually put into practice in the various armed services, here or abroad, but I know it's being taught in the service academies, and I know that the media is judging the actions of militaries -- both foreign and domestic -- accordingly. So be careful all of you...
  10. I don't know the whole situation, but I'm wondering if you are dealing with a person who either (1) changed his mind (for what reason, who knows) or (2) isn't in touch with his real emotions. It doesn't seem rational to not want to be someone's friend and yet waste one's time going through the motions. I guess he might also just be trying to be polite?
  11. FWIW, I heard on the radio today that the shooter (same shooter at both the mission and at New Life) had been rejected from the mission program and was writing the mission hate mail. New Life Church has involvement with the mission, hence his going to shoot more people there hours after the first incident.
  12. In OPAR, on page 276, Leonard Peikoff writes, "[L]ying is necessary and proper in certain cases to protect one's privacy from snoopers." He doesn't elaborate there, but what I recall he has in mind is a case in which saying "I prefer not to answer" will be taken as "yes." If someone is snooping, and anything but a "no" will be taken as meaning "yes," then it is morally acceptable for you to say "no." Always go back to the principle: are you trying to fake reality in order to obtain a value? When criminals and snoopers are putting you in a position where you must lie to protect a value from unjustified attack, then lying is OK. I agree with what others have been saying on this thread more generally: one need not state everything on his mind in order to be honest. This comes up a lot when I deal with colleagues. I ask myself, "Do I need to say something in order to not be taken as agreeing with whatever monstrous thing is being said at the moment?" My colleagues know my views fairly well, so it's only occasionally when I think I must speak up. What you *want* to do at a particular moment might be irrelevant.
  13. Based on my viewing of the tape, I agree with you. As I said in a prior post, if the officer wasn't too clear at the beginning, he was quite clear at the point when he pulled the taser and repeated his order for the guy to put his hands behind his back. Still, no compliance. And I think I recall the guy saying "don't taze me" (don't really want to watch it again, but I guess I would if I had to). If so, then there was no legitimate fear that lethal force would be used. I also don't see how he could reasonably think they were going to walk back to look at a traffic sign. Assuming it takes some time to get pulled over, they were probably very far from the sign in question. Would they really walk that whole way?
  14. Yeah, it looks like CNN is updating the story at the same URL. There was no name when I first posted the story. Later in the story (as it appears now, at this moment, until they rewrite it again) it says that *police* have yet to identify him, so I guess the news agencies have found a source willing to name names earlier. In any event, the guy showed up armed when he asked for lodging, so I am still interested to hear what they'll have to say about motive later. Asking for a place to stay might just be a way to gain admittance to the facility. I think it may have been in the other article where they were talking about the search of the residence (maybe Murray's?), and that the authorities were carrying out boxes of stuff. So maybe there's paraphernalia that will be related to a motive.
  15. An interesting tidbit from an ABC story written an hour ago: "Haggard and the New Life Church had links to Youth With a Mission. The two groups worked together on a controversial missionary program that focused on converting people in Muslim countries to Christianity." So, it could have been an Islamic fundamentalist, perhaps? I guess we'll have to wait until further facts are revealed. Right now they're not even releasing the identity of the gunman who was killed at New Life. Here's a link to the ABC story: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Story?id=3977342&page=2
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