The Intersection of Philosophy and Everything Else
I am a philosophy professor and writer with a diverse set of research interests. My favorite courses to conduct are all introductory: critical thinking, symbolic logic, ancient philosophy, early modern philosophy, social and political philosophy, and ethics. My philosophical loves are Kant and Kierkegaard, but I happen to be smitten pretty much with whoever I'm reading at the moment.
The morning sun peeked over the distant trees, stretching its rays through the top half of the open barn doors. It wasn’t long before Pancho felt the relaxing warmth work its way through his shaggy golden coat, all the way down to his skin. He sighed with pleasure and stretched out on his bed of fresh shavings.
Ponies like Pancho – all horses, really – don’t lie down very often. They sleep standing up, since they need to be ready to bolt at a moment’s notice. But Pancho got tired easily, and he had learned that lying down was a respite from the pain he felt in his left front hoof when he stood for long periods of time.
He was just thinking about how lovely the sunshine felt on his neck when the warmth suddenly disappeared. He had a feeling someone was watching him, and he was right. As he opened an eye, a small black and white blob came into view. It was a cat, perched on the lip of Pancho’s Dutch stall door – and this cat was deliberately hogging up his sunspot!
The U.S Office of Government Ethics was established in 1978 through the Ethics in Government Act. It “provides overall leadership and oversight of the executive branch ethics program designed to prevent and resolve conflicts of interest.” Apparently the Trump White House has not welcomed such oversight. Consequently, the office’s director, Walter M. Schaub, Jr., announced he would resign on July 19, stating, “In working with the current administration, it has become clear that we need to strengthen the ethics program.”
Even prior to Donald J. Trump’s inauguration as the 45th President of the United States, the OGE anticipated his potential conflicts of interest, encouraging the President-Elect to divest himself of his businesses. That did not happen. Other ethics issues arose, but Trump has been recalcitrant about addressing them. These issues highlight a distinction between what the law and ethics separately require. Think about it this way: what’s legal is not always ethical. For example, there is no law requiring U.S. presidential candidates or sitting presidents to disclose their tax returns. It is, however, not the norm, and for good reason. Continue reading “Conflicts of Interest, Ethics, and Donald J. Trump”
You got the life insurance. You got the advanced medical directives. You got what looks like a rock-solid will, and maybe you even got a religious service all picked out. But what about death? Have you given any thought to the sort of death you hope to have? Now I’m not talkin’ about physician-assisted suicide up there in Oregon where they smoke all that pot, or like that. No, this is more like what some folks call a “worthwhile” death. You know, one a them dignified deaths after a good, long life. But you also know you can’t control that. And deep down, you worry you’re gonna to die for no good reason, right?
There is a certain sort of person I can’t stand. You know the type I’m talking about. The one who effortlessly rattles off a list of restaurants in response to a breathless comment like, ‘Oh, I could really go for some vegan Peruvian tonight.’ The one who gets the perfect gift — you know, the gift that gets at the essence of the recipient’s personality, or captures the significance of the occasion for giving the gift. When you see the gift, you’re stupefied. You might even smack yourself on the forehead like in the V-8 commercials. It’s like one of those self-evident truths — when you see it, you think, ‘Duh, that’s so obvious. Why the hell didn’t I think of that?’ That person. The one who makes you feel like an idiot — or more properly, whose very existence is a constant reminder of the fact that, compared with this person, you are an idiot.
Quite a few found Trump’s mode of communication refreshing, and didn’t seem at all perturbed by the content. No oblique political talk for this straight shooter, who promised to “make America great again” by “winning.” This would be accomplished, by, among other actions, forcing manufacturers to keep jobs in the U.S., cracking down on “bad hombres,” barring Muslims from entering the country, withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, repealing the Affordable Care Act, and eliminating environmental and business regulatory oversight.
Shortly after his inauguration as the 45th President of the United States at twelve Noon on January 20th, 2017, he began taking action on some of his campaign pledges, but dismissed others. It was not obvious how was one to know which he meant and which were comments tossed off the top of his head. Additional confusion was generated by extraordinary inarticulateness, which seemed to manifest in a rather disorganized management style and vague executive orders implemented in an apparently off-the-cuff style.