Category: Philosophy

A black fountain pen on a journal page

Collected quotes, 4 of n

This entry is part 7 of 10 in the series Bits and Pieces

He had so much to give—stories, reflection, engagement—that somehow none of us ever noticed just how much he was withholding.

A black fountain pen on a journal page

Collected quotes, 2 of n

This entry is part 2 of 10 in the series Bits and Pieces

Things don’t have purposes, as if the universe were a machine, where every part has a useful function. What’s the

A black fountain pen on a journal page

Collected quotes, 1 of n

This entry is part 1 of 10 in the series Bits and Pieces

All these clocks, like the whole information industry today, run the risk of no longer communicating anything because they tell

Cross-posted from Tumblr: Unit 731

(In response to this post.) I’ve been interested in Japan’s Unit 731 since it came up in a bioethics class

On human rights and drug-related killings

I caught a really thought-provoking interview on human rights featuring the philosopher John Tasioulas recently. Being an (old) episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast, which caters to a general audience, the interview focused on a basic1 question: What are human rights?

Basic, but not simple, since “human rights” has become both a very charged term and, perhaps in some circles, one so overused as to have turned into a bit of a hollow buzzword. Which is why it’s notable how Tasioulas kicks off the interview by first dispelling the, shall we say, “special snowflake” air that has enveloped the concept: human rights are only one kind of rights, he asserts. Now this doesn’t undercut the importance of these rights, but it at least does away with the tunnel vision that they tend to inspire and situates them within a broader category of similar concepts that, he implies, are no less worthy of discussion.

But the dissolution of the term “human rights”‘ definite edges is, like I’ve said, something of a problem. So what distinguishes human rights from other kinds of rights? Tasioulas says: universality, these rights’ applicability throughout humanity.

This is the point I find most interesting, mostly because of personal experience. Ever since it became clear that our new president had won the post, there’s been a disturbing spike in drug-related extra-judicial killings. The number keeps ticking up to this day, and there’s been a lot of debate about the validity and ethics of these incidents.

On Enid Blyton, David Foster Wallace, and awareness as ethics

I had the pleasure of stumbling upon an article on morality in Enid Blyton’s work (of all things) from Aeon