Moral argument and deliberation presuppose not only correct answers to moral questions but also answers whose correctness is independent of our moral beliefs. In moral deliberation and argument we try and hope to arrive at the correct answer, that is, at the answer that is correct prior to, and independently of, our coming upon it. . . . And the correctness of our moral beliefs appears to be independent not only of our actual justification for holding them but even of ideal justification. We may not be able to doubt that beliefs that are ideally justified are reasonable to hold, but we can sensibly ask whether such beliefs are true. There may be no answer for us to make short of rehearsing our justification for holding these beliefs, but the question of their correctness is coherent.
(David O. Brink, Moral Realism and the Foundations of Ethics, Cambridge Studies in Philosophy, ed. Sydney Shoemaker [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989], 31 [italics in original; boldface and ellipsis added])
Note from KBJ: Two things. First, neither moral argument nor moral deliberation presupposes correct answers to moral questions, so Brink's first statement is false. Moral argument consists in showing others the implications of what they they believe or value. Deliberation consists in deciding what to believe or do, based on one's existing beliefs and values. Second, Brink presumes to speak for everyone. Notice the plural pronouns "our," "we," and "us." Brink doesn't speak for me; that's for sure. When I deliberate and argue morally, I'm neither trying nor hoping to arrive at correct answers, for in my view there is no such thing. Sad to say, but a great deal of contemporary moral philosophy consists in this dishonest sort of argumentation. It is nothing more (or less) than projection of the author's beliefs, values, and attitudes onto others.
As the composition of the American family changes, business and government must work together to promote a broader workplace agenda that acknowledges family and work as complementary, rather than competitive, parts of a balanced life.
Contrary to the concerns expressed by some industry lobbyists, companies large and small have found that flexible work arrangements boost productivity, reduce overhead and improve the bottom line. That’s why I have asked the City Council to consider legislation giving employees the right to request such schedules.
Whether they are part-time or full-time workers, single parents or caregivers to elderly loved ones, retail clerks or accountants, all Americans deserve the chance to balance professional duties with the demands of modern life.
SCOTT M. STRINGER New York City Comptroller New York, July 16, 2014
Yesterday, on a beautiful summer evening, Katherine and I attended an outdoor concert at the Gexa Energy Pavilion in Dallas. I had never been to this facility. There were three acts: The Raskins (an up-and-coming band from New York City); Alice Cooper; and Mötley Crüe. Truth be told, I was more interested in seeing Alice Cooper than Mötley Crüe, though I like a few Mötley Crüe songs (such as "Looks That Kill" and "Bastard"). The Raskins put on a good show. Alice Cooper, as expected, was terrific. He was and remains the consummate showman. Here is Alice, prowling the stage (click to enlarge):
The volume of the music seemed to increase as the night went on. Mötley Crüe was ridiculously (even dangerously) loud. Both Katherine and I had to rise early this morning, so we listened to five or six songs by Mötley Crüe and left the facility. I told Katherine that the one song I wanted to hear from Mötley Crüe was "Looks That Kill," but I wasn't about to hang around all night to hear it. At one point, I motioned to Katherine that we would stay for one more song. You guessed it: The song was "Looks That Kill." It was wonderful. I was 26 again.
The only thing I didn't like about the evening is the cigarette smoke that wafted through the facility. Smoking is not allowed in the hard seats where we were (although it apparently is on the lawn in the back), but I saw several jerks smoking near us. A security guard warned a couple of them, which I appreciated. One of them, having been warned, lit up again a few minutes later. I hope he dies of (or at least suffers from) lung cancer, for he is endangering others without their permission.
A final thought. The first album I ever bought, in any format, was Alice Cooper's Billion Dollar Babies (1973). I was 16 years old; the album was on eight-track tape. Little did I know that Alice would still be making music 41 years later, at the age of 66, or that I, at the ripe old age of 57, would be in the audience at one of his concerts. Rock 'n' rollers never die; they just fade away.
I know it sounds crazy, and maybe it is crazy, but I had a great time today riding in the rain. It was raining when I left my house at 11:15, and it was raining when I returned, shortly after 1:00. I carried a plastic rain jacket in my cycling jersey in case the rain became torrential (as was forecast), but never got it out. I was completely soaked by the time I got home, and my shoes were full of water. Here is the trail at the 21-mile mark, showing the wet pavement and puddles (click to enlarge):
As for why it was fun, I don't rightly know. Maybe I'm just weird. I was never cold. Although I had to reduce my speed many times on sweeping turns or sharp corners, I had a decent average speed of 17.53 miles per hour for 30.6 miles. (My record on this course is 18.62 miles per hour.) My glasses were covered in droplets most of the way, which made visibility difficult. I guess it was just a different ride from the usual, which made it interesting. Also, it was nice to escape the heat for a while.
Two days ago, I had a close call at the end of a 30-mile ride. I had just turned a corner and was sprinting hard to regain my speed. Just as I sat down, I heard a loud "bang!" (like a gunshot) and felt my back wheel skidding on the pavement. It was all I could do to keep the bike upright. The back wheel went left, then right, then left again. Finally, it occurred to me to clip out of my right pedal, in case I began to fall. I clipped out, applied the front brake gently, and came to a stop. Wow. I had no idea what happened. After inspecting the rear tire, I figured it out. I'll provide an illustrated narrative. My rear tire ran over what looks like part of a piston ring (shown here beside my wedding ring):
The metal shard pierced my rear tire and tube and even entered the (expensive!) bike rim. The shard must have lodged against the bike frame when it came around, preventing the wheel from turning and causing my rear tire to skid. Here is the punctured tire, showing where the shard entered, causing the blowout:
Here is the punctured tube:
Here is the tire at the point where it skidded:
Here is the tube at the point where it skidded:
I'm lucky I didn't crash. Had I done so, I probably would have broken my collarbone again (for the third time in three years). When I saw how bad the tire was cut, I knew it was irreparable, so I started walking my bike. A woman who heard the explosion and saw me bring the bike to a halt asked whether I needed anything. I laughed, thanked her, and said that I was only half a mile from home. I ended up with 30 miles exactly that day instead of the usual 30.60. I'm glad the blowout didn't occur 10 or 15 miles from home, because I would have had to call Katherine for help.
Addendum: I saw only two people—a walker and a cyclist—in the first 14 miles of today's ride. I saw only five or six overall. Usually, on this ride, I see dozens. I guess not everyone enjoys a rainy summer day.
The notion that conservatism is not an ideology, but only a disposition, or, more reductively, an expression of the self-interest of those who benefit from the status quo, is also assisted by its lack of an appropriately theoretical classic text. Liberalism has Locke's Treatises of Government and Mill's On Liberty; socialism has The Communist Manifesto; elitism has Plato's Republic. The nearest thing to a classic text it possesses is Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France. But that, like all Burke's mature political writing, is an occasional work, evoked by and principally concerned with the particular event mentioned in its title. The great bulk of it is taken up with polemic, expressed with a measure of rhetorical excess, about attitudes to that event. The ideology has to be separated out from the highly concrete matter in which it is immersed. But it is unquestionably to be found there.
(Anthony Quinton, "Conservatism," chap. 9 in A Companion to Contemporary Political Philosophy, ed. Robert E. Goodin and Philip Pettit, Blackwell Companions to Philosophy [Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 1993], 244-68, at 247-8)
Here are the starting lineups for tonight's Major League Baseball All-Star game, which will be played in Minneapolis. I predict that the National League will win the game, 7-2, and that Troy Tulowitzki of the Colorado Rockies will be named Most Valuable Player. Make your predictions now or forever hold your peace.
Addendum: The American League won, 5-3. Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim was named Most Valuable Player. Troy Tulowitzki was one for three (a double).
Clearly technology will always outpace ethics and law, but is there anything in the works regarding private drones?
Fit a good camera and every backyard in your neighborhood becomes a potential reality show. With some slick editing who knows what type of YouTube or corporate data mining audience awaits.
Does the Fourth Amendment apply to drones operated by nongovernmental entities? Is the airspace above one's home private, and at what altitude? Can a homeowner hijack the signal and disable or commandeer the drone? At what point does one person's freedom of expression infringe upon another's right to privacy?
The human remains examined by Drs. Snow and Fitzpatrick . . . exhibited substantial evidence of perimortem trauma. The osteological data clearly demonstrate that some of the men were mutilated about the time of death. To what extent the bodies were mutilated cannot be precisely determined, but a relative impression of the type and extent of the injuries can be suggested on the basis of the osteological material. The marker excavations yielded partial remains of twenty-one individuals, a 10 percent sample of those killed during the battle.
In addition to the excavated remains, surface material found by the archaeological crew, by visitors, and by park staff yielded partial remains of another thirteen individuals. This provides a group of partial remains representing thirty-four of the soldiers who died at the Little Bighorn (roughly a 16 percent sample).
Many contemporary accounts of the June 27, 1876 burials note that mutilation was prevalent among the dead. The most common type of mutilation mentioned was the crushed skull. Lieutenant James Bradley . . . claims to have seen most of the dead and he says he noted little mutilation, mainly an occasional scalping. He further states he believed most of the disfigurement seen on the dead resulted from a blow with a hatchet or war club to kill a wounded man. William White . . . , Second Cavalry, helped bury the dead and states that "a few (bodies) were hacked or pounded with tomahawk or war club but not mutilated the way folks have said. It looked to us as though the Indians took that way to finish off the wounded." Graham's . . . compilation of eyewitness accounts of the burials is also in this vein. Most accounts note the bashed heads. Occasionally they also discuss other forms of mutilation, such as scalping, arrow and knife wounds, decapitation, or dismemberment.
Contemporary Indian accounts . . . also mention skull crushing, most often followed by arrow and knife wounds, decapitation, and dismemberment. Black Elk and Iron Hawk . . . recall seeing soldiers stabbed, slashed, and struck in the head by war clubs. They also state they participated in shooting arrows into some bodies and scalping the dead. White Necklace . . . recalled decapitating one soldier as an act of revenge. Probably the most graphic account of mutilation is the series of pictographs by Red Horse . . . showing most of the varieties of mutilation mentioned.
The archaeological evidence for incised wounds—those made by knives, arrows, and hatchets—occurs in about 21 percent of the remains. Wounds related to knives or arrows are seen in 11 percent of the individuals, and hatchet-related injuries were noted in 10 percent of the sample. It must be remembered that not all injuries are likely to have affected the bone, thus the sample reflects only those injuries that cut to the bone. Nevertheless, it appears that a significant percentage of the soldiers killed must have been shot with arrows, cut with knives, or struck with hatchets about the time of death.
Blunt-instrument trauma to the skull appears as the most prevalent perimortem feature in the contemporary accounts, and the archaeological evidence supports this. There are fourteen cases in the archaeological record where skull fragments are present. All cases exhibit blunt-instrument trauma. This group accounts for 41 percent of the individuals represented archaeologically and all of those cases where skull fragments were present. This direct physical evidence suggests that blunt-force trauma to the skull was common.
The incomplete nature of the skeletal remains recovered limits the quantification of the amount of mutilation at the battlefield. Qualitatively, it is obvious from the archaeological evidence, that mutilation was common. This is in concert with the historical record.
An interesting sidelight to the mutilation question involves the 1877 reburial party and a possible misinterpretation of the physical evidence seen by that group. P. W. Norris reported in the New York Herald on July 18, 1877, that the reburial party found the human bones disfigured by coyotes and savages. He noted most skulls were smashed to fragments and mangled or missing. He attributed this to animal and human predation. The smashed skulls can also be attributed to perimortem trauma during or immediately after the battle. In fact, this is a better explanation for the large number of smashed skulls than postmortem predation.
That mutilation of the dead occurred is clearly evident in the historic and archaeologic records. But the cause of mutilation must be placed in a cultural context. Most of our perspective of mutilation is derived from the Victorian view that mutilation is barbaric. That viewpoint has been perpetuated in much of the literature about Indian "atrocities". . . .
However, it is more appropriate to view mutilation from the cultural context of the Sioux and Cheyennes rather than the Victorians. One of the most common themes in Indian explanations of mutilation is one that pervades human nature: a sense of rage and revenge. Gall . . . said his "heart was bad" at the battle because of the loss of several members of his family during the fighting. That sense of rage and revenge also contributed to the mutilation of the dead. White Necklace, Wolf Chief's wife, had found her niece decapitated after the Sand Creek Massacre, and in revenge she decapitated a soldier at the Little Bighorn with her belt ax. . . . While revenge may have been the most obvious motive for mutilation, deeper cultural meanings also are ascribed to the practice. General Henry B. Carrington . . . interviewed a member of Red Cloud's band concerning the reason for mutilation of the dead at the Fetterman fight. Carrington reported that the key to understanding the mutilation was an understanding of the Indians' own view of life after death. He noted:
Their idea of the spirit land is that it is a physical paradise; but we enter upon its mysteries just in the condition we hold when we die. In the Indian paradise every physical taste or longing is promptly met . . . In the light of this idea, those tortured bodies had a new significance. With the muscles of the arms cut out, the victim could not pull a bowstring or trigger; with other muscles gone, he could not put foot in a stirrup or stoop to drink; so that, while every sense was in agony for relief from hunger or thirst, there could be no relief at all.
In this context, mutilation, in the view of the Sioux and Cheyenne participants, was a part of their culture. It must be viewed as a normal cultural expression of victory over a vanquished foe. That expression has two levels. The first is the overt and obvious level of rage and revenge. The second is symbolic or religious, a level where mutilation is a means to ensure that an enemy cannot enjoy the afterlife in the fullness that the victor might anticipate. Thus the mutilated dead at the Little Bighorn become symbols of victory to the culture that defeated them.
(Douglas D. Scott et al., Archaeological Perspectives on the Battle of the Little Bighorn [Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1989], 85-6 [ellipses added, except for the one in the block quotation])