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Ethicists steal more books

 
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"Eric Schwitzgebel has just completed an exhaustive study of the behavior of ethicists. He had noticed that a large number of ethics books seemed to be missing from research libraries across the nation."

http://schwitzsplinters.blogspot.com/2007/01/still-more-data-on-theft-of-ethics.html

And his methodology seems sound.

Via Cognitive Daily.
 
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Map,

Or another possibility is that those that go in search of ethics books are themselves non-ethicists (as if they were an ethicist then they would not need the books).
 
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I never understood "ethics classes" or "ethics books".
 
Mapraputa Is
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Steve: Or another possibility is that those that go in search of ethics books are themselves non-ethicists (as if they were an ethicist then they would not need the books).

The guy seems answered your concern here:

"I addressed this concern by further reducing the sample, eliminating all the "popular" ethics and non-ethics books -- those cited at least 5 times in the relevant entries of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (This left only fairly obscure books, presumably known to and borrowed by only professors and advanced students in the field.)"
 
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Originally posted by John Meyers:
I never understood "ethics classes" or "ethics books".



Then please return them so someone else can have a go!
 
Deepak Bala
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Then please return them so someone else can have a go!





I never did find them interesting to read either. I hated the ethics paper that I had to take in college and I "gifted" the book to my juniors
 
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Originally posted by David O'Meara:


Then please return them so someone else can have a go!



Yes, John, please do so.

If you cant get past the first chapter, after re-reading it 3 times, in 1 month, then youll never gonna get it.
 
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Traditionally, people looking for answers to the questions discussed by ethicists looked to theologians such as Thomas Aquinas. Ethics as an abstract subject was created by people who, while rejecting religion as an authority, were unwilling to face the utter amorality of scientific objectivity.

As they were not entirely successful in developing an alternative philosophical basis for morality, it's not too surprising that people interested in their approach might be more easily tempted than others to steal.
 
Mapraputa Is
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Frank: ... the utter amorality of scientific objectivity.

I am not sure I understand what you mean here. Are you saying that scientific objectivity is amoral in the sense it has nothing to do with the notion of morality, being concerned with the truth rather than morality? Or are you saying that the scientific method is immoral and would be better replaced by, say, theological methods?

As they were not entirely successful in developing an alternative philosophical basis for morality, it's not too surprising that people interested in their approach might be more easily tempted than others to steal.

And authors of some failed theory of mosquito habits might be more tempted to suck blood?
 
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:

And authors of some failed theory of mosquito habits might be more tempted to suck blood?



Indeed. Such thinking is logically flawed, as well as incorrect[the two do not need to coincide], thought probably rhetorically effective when directed at children.

It seems to me that people who are really interested in Ethics, as a personal choice, would tend to spend more time in focus on their behavior, then pointing out perceived or misperceived failings in others.

Motes, Logs, eyes, and all that.
 
Mapraputa Is
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Frank: As they were not entirely successful in developing an alternative philosophical basis for morality

Is this your opinion? What is the base for it?

Do you think that religion (theology) provides more solid basis for morality? If so, which religion?
[ February 13, 2007: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
 
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Religion does provide a basic set of rules which defines what is moral and what is not.

However, different religions may have a differing viewpoint on this.One religion's taboos can probably be acceptable behavior in another.

Of course there are some common moralities which most religions adhere too and the focus should be more on those
 
Max Habibi
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Originally posted by Russell Peters:
Religion does provide a basic set of rules which defines what is moral and what is not.




While that's true, it's fair to say that religion is not, by any stretch, the only such provider: nor, for that matter, am I convinced that history has shown it to be the best.*

*I'm open to discussing this topic further, but I want to set two ground rules.

1. Let's keep it light and fluffy: chances are good that this thread will disappear, or that non-light and non-fluffy comments will, if we don't.

2. Let's be rational: I'm going to play policeman on this one, so be please let's avoid rhetorical appeals, unfounded compound statements, etc.
[ February 13, 2007: Message edited by: Max Habibi ]
 
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Originally posted by Frank Silbermann:
Traditionally, people looking for answers to the questions discussed by ethicists looked to theologians such as Thomas Aquinas. Ethics as an abstract subject was created by people who, while rejecting religion as an authority, were unwilling to face the utter amorality of scientific objectivity.

I don't think many people quite appreciate how radical a change this has been in human history. For most of human history ethics have been derived from metaphysics, often by either philosophers or religions. They tied together an ethical framework with a metaphysical one, and in doing so they could make people feel comfortable that their morality was reasonable. They showed how the universe came to be, and how morals logically followed on from that.

The Enlightenment changed that. The metaphysical explanation for the universe began to be challenged, and because of that the justification for the moral structure. For example, a moral code X derived from a belief in Book Y about deity Z becomes less certain if the reality of Z is in question. Another example would be the slow rejection of metaphysical theories based purely on philosophy rather then empirical evidence.

So ethics as a subject sprang up to try and ascertain a new moral structure. I agree that science is amoral in the sense that it is not concerned with morality, but I do not think ethics came about because people were not willing to face a universe without morals. Rather people came to realise that morals could not be logically determined from the structure of the universe (there is nothing inherintly moral about the universe), but instead morals are something which need to be worked out separately from (meta) physics.

Ethicists don't look to the underlying structure or cause of the universe to derive their morals, but to other sources instead. Different ethicists have different sources.

As they were not entirely successful in developing an alternative philosophical basis for morality, it's not too surprising that people interested in their approach might be more easily tempted than others to steal.

This depends who you talk to! Some people are of the opinion that unless there is a metaphysical source for morality, then a person will become completely amoral. Other people disagree.

I think it is perfectly possible for a person to have an agnostic view of all the religious and metaphysical theories out there and still have morals which would be considered good by most people. I try to be good most of the time, but I don't follow any religion and the metaphysic I consider most likely (an approximately deterministic and undesigned universe) does not lend it self to any obvious morals. How do I decide what is good or bad? There's no easy answer to that, but I try to figure it out anyway.
[ February 14, 2007: Message edited by: Dave Lenton ]
 
Frank Silbermann
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me: ... the utter amorality of scientific objectivity.

Mapraputa Is: I am not sure I understand what you mean here. Are you saying that scientific objectivity is amoral in the sense it has nothing to do with the notion of morality, being concerned with the truth rather than morality? Or are you saying that the scientific method is immoral and would be better replaced by, say, theological methods?

I used the word "amorality" rather than "immorality" deliberately. Scientific objectivity is for determining what was, is, and can be. Unless some non-objective non-scientific axioms are added, science has nothing whatsoever to say about what _should_ be.

me: As they were not entirely successful in developing an alternative philosophical basis for morality ...

Mapraputa Is: Is this your opinion? What is the base for it?
Do you think that religion (theology) provides more solid basis for morality? If so, which religion?

Morality is about what _should_ be (e.g. the way people _should_ behave). However, there is no objective basis for determining this -- which is why the weakening or religious faith has led to the notion of moral relativism. (Before that, we may have disagreed on morality, but each of us would have been confident of the universal truth of our own opinions.)

To the extent that morality can serve as a _standard_ of behavior, it cannot be anything more than an _arbitrary_ standard of behavior. Therefore, morality must be based on arbitrary, scientifically unprovable assumptions to which the vast majority of a society dedicate their obedience and loyalty. Even if you do not call this set of assumptions "religion" they will operate very much like a religion for all practical purposes. In fact, I am not certain any such set of assumptions will ever capture many people's deep obedience and loyalty without relying upon the mind-control techniques that religion offers.

Just as religions differ, so too do the sets of moral axioms they provide. To ask which religion is the best basis for morality is equivalent to asking which is the best set of moral axioms -- and the answer is that there is no accounting for taste. If you want my personal opinion, the best religion is the one whose moral axioms are most like those that I wish for society to live under. (Need it be said that I consider my own opinion to be the most important opinion? Need it be said that this, too, is an unprovable axiom?)

The need of a society of cooperating people to have a shared set of moral rules is the reason religious freedom has been so difficult to come by. Religious dissent creates a breach into which moral dissent can enter (and, indeed, has entered).

The extent that religious freedom has been successful in America may be just as much due to the close similarities in moral codes provided by the various religious denominations active in America over the last 300 years as to the ideology of religious freedom itself. (Some of this similarity resulted from a convergence in religious-based moral teachings for the sake of peace and order. To make religious freedom work, the various American religious denominations changed their teachings as pertained to, for example, the morality of killing of religious heretics.)

In recent decades, however, there has been a great deal of re-evalutation of moral standards, especially as regards sexual behavior, both within and without the various religious denominations. We're also seeing the large-scale immigration of people whose religion-based moral axioms differ greatly in other areas. There is no doubt that these trends are increasingly challenging society's stability, and increases the need for compensating measures -- such as more police, prisons, security cameras, self-defense weapons ....
 
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I'm seeing a lot of phrases like "there's no doubt", "we've seen this or that".

But I find myself doubting.

I find that I have not, in fact, seen any such phenomena, outside of what might be reporting on this-or-that panic based news broadcast.

Given recent assertions that "everyone knew", but which turned out to be groundless, and which did immeasurable damage to our country[ and world], I think that society in general, and American Society in particular, will need supporting evidence before accepting any more 'common sense' rhetoric.

For example, while many people decry the diversity that has made America great, I celebrate it.

I like an intelligent populace that discusses moral, sexual, and behavioral norms, and offers a live-and-let-live approach to the same.

I like the fact my country offers me a wide spectrum of acceptable behavior, and I pity smaller, weaker countries that lack that diversity.

Such societies are, in my opinion, stale, hateful, vengeful, and destined to fall under their weight, once they stabilize.

In my opinion, diversity is blessing that gives us flexibility under unknowable circumstances, and allows us to flow like water, as opposed to shattering like a rock.


It's a gift guarenteed by our founding fathers, because they understood the damage it's lack could bring.

And I, for one, am gateful for it.
[ February 15, 2007: Message edited by: Max Habibi ]
 
Frank Silbermann
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Originally posted by Max Habibi:
I'm seeing a lot of phrases like "there's no doubt", "we've seen this or that".

But I find myself doubting.

I find that I have not, in fact, seen any such phenomena, outside of what might be reporting on this-or-that panic based news broadcast.

Well, yeah, if you're going to discount that. I admit that I've been going under the assumption, for example, that inner-city teens did not routinely murder one another fifty years ago. Maybe they did, but just didn't have panic based news broadcasts about it like they do today. But I've heard too many quotes from people inside those communities (including imprisoned criminals) saying that it wasn't nearly as bad in earlier generations.


Given recent assertions that "everyone knew", but which turned out to be groundless, and which did immeasurable damage to our country[ and world], I think that society in general, and American Society in particular, will need supporting evidence before accepting any more 'common sense' rhetoric.

Naw, I think most people will tend to accept or reject 'common sense' rhetoric depending upon whether the speaker shares their political assumptions and goals.


For example, while many people decry the diversity that has made America great, I celebrate it.

I like an intelligent populace that discusses moral, sexual, and behavioral norms, and offers a live-and-let-live approach to the same.

I like the fact my country offers me a wide spectrum of acceptable behavior, and I pity smaller, weaker countries that lack that diversity.

Such societies are, in my opinion, stale, hateful, vengeful, and destined to fall under their weight, once they stabilize.

In my opinion, diversity is blessing that gives us flexibility under unknowable circumstances, and allows us to flow like water, as opposed to shattering like a rock.


It's a gift guarenteed by our founding fathers, because they understood the damage it's lack could bring.

And I, for one, am gateful for it.

Yes, there is both good and bad in everything, and the people who pushed for changes in society had legitimate motivations. But every silver lining has a cloud.
 
Max Habibi
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Max:I'm seeing a lot of phrases like "there's no doubt", "we've seen this or that".

Max:But I find myself doubting.

Max:I find that I have not, in fact, seen any such phenomena, outside of what might be reporting on this-or-that panic based news broadcast.


Frank: Well, yeah, if you're going to discount that. I admit that I've been going under the assumption, for example, that inner-city teens did not routinely murder one another fifty years ago.




Nor do they 'routinely' do so now, though the rate of murder is still too high.


But yeah, to be sure, some fifty years ago, we still had a segregation in America. so the neighborhoods you're talking about didn't really exist. Have you ever had dinner with the fathers and grandfathers of those same folks, and talked about how they felt living under terrorism of traditional, conservative values in the deep south?

Have you ever spoken to anyone who actually had to run from a lynch mob?

To borrow a phrase from Billy Joel, The Good Old Days Weren't Always Good.



Frank: Naw, I think most people will tend to accept or reject 'common sense' rhetoric depending upon whether the speaker shares their political assumptions and goals.


Naw, I think people will tend to favor common sense, as well as critical thinking. Given recent national trends, such are coming back into vogue.


every silver lining has a cloud.


Very true: OTOH, my mother taught me that every cloud's a opportunity for a garden. I have never have had, and never will have, any use for people who refuse to work hard out of a sense of pessimism and paranoia.

There's plenty of good work to do, and if they're not willing to roll up their sleeves, I wish they'd get the hell out the way.
 
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Max: For example, while many people decry the diversity that has made America great, I celebrate it.

Kathy recommended this book:
The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies

Is anybody going to read and review it for our bunkhouse?
[ February 16, 2007: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
 
Frank Silbermann
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Originally posted by Max Habibi:

Max:I find that I have not, in fact, seen any such phenomena, outside of what might be reporting on this-or-that panic based news broadcast.

Frank: Well, yeah, if you're going to discount that. I admit that I've been going under the assumption, for example, that inner-city teens did not routinely murder one another fifty years ago.

Max: Nor do they 'routinely' do so now, though the rate of murder is still too high.

So you believe that murder was no less common among these gang members' grandparents and great-grandparents? I remain am unconvinced of that.

Originally posted by Max Habibi:
But yeah, to be sure, some fifty years ago, we still had a segregation in America. so the neighborhoods you're talking about didn't really exist.

Their ancestors lived somewhere, and I don't believe they murdered one another like today. I certainly never heard about it. Are you suggesting that there had been a conspiracy of silence about it?

Have you ever had dinner with the fathers and grandfathers of those same folks, and talked about how they felt living under terrorism of traditional, conservative values in the deep south?

I lived in the deep south at the end of that era. Yes, some things were worse. I believe life would be better today had we kept the civil rights movement but rejected most of the other social changes of the 1960s. (But I do have some doubts. Could it be that the KKK terrorists had the same role in keeping order in those communities that Saddam Hussein had in Iraq?)

People are much more complex and unpredictable than computers, and society is bigger than any computer program. Fixing bugs in society cannot possibly be less dangerous than fixing bugs in programs. Consider not only the likelihood of bug fixes creating new bugs, but also the danger if you had to install your bug fixes into production with no prior testing.

That's not an excuse for tolerating injustice, but it does suggest to me that social change should be approached with a great deal of apprehension and caution.
[ February 19, 2007: Message edited by: Frank Silbermann ]
 
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I din do Nothin...! I Never stole any book.
 
Mapraputa Is
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Me: And authors of some failed theory of mosquito habits might be more tempted to suck blood?

I wasn't particularly proud of this response, because it sucked along both serious argumentation and niceness axes. But this little funny book maintains that it sucked along only one axis,

Showing that an argument form is invalid by substituting sentences into the form that gives true premises but a false conclusion is what philosophers call showing invalidity by 'counterexample'.



Frank: I used the word "amorality" rather than "immorality" deliberately. Scientific objectivity is for determining what was, is, and can be. Unless some non-objective non-scientific axioms are added, science has nothing whatsoever to say about what _should_ be.

Agree with the rest of your post, with one exception. Like Max, I think that diversity is one of the most attractive traits of the American society. Maybe the most attractive. During my last visit to Russia, after I left the plane I noticed that everybody -- every damn body around is Russian. It was a big shock. (You think, I should have kinda expected it? Well, I forgot. ) It was so... ugly, I can't find a better word, even frightening, so for the first three days I didn't want to leave my house, just for not to see this horrendous picture again. You don't seem very excited about diversity, so may I ask why? Did you have some bad experience? Or are there some theoretical postulates at work?

The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies

Me: Is anybody going to read and review it for our bunkhouse?


I guess, I have to do it myself, huh? I am a bit hesitant because it is so clear from the title what the author's position is, and even if it's a great book, it will only confirm preconceptions I already have. Amazon's description does say "how to understand and avoid its traps" though, so perhaps I shouldn't worry.
 
Frank Silbermann
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:

Frank: I used the word "amorality" rather than "immorality" deliberately. Scientific objectivity is for determining what was, is, and can be. Unless some non-objective non-scientific axioms are added, science has nothing whatsoever to say about what _should_ be.

Agree with the rest of your post, with one exception. Like Max, I think that diversity is one of the most attractive traits of the American society. Maybe the most attractive. ... You don't seem very excited about diversity, so may I ask why? Did you have some bad experience? Or are there some theoretical postulates at work?

Quite the opposite. The diversity traditionally accepted in America was quite novel at its origin, and remains a minority phenomenon (from a world-wide perspective) today. It is so dear to me that I fear to risk a social breakdown caused by pushing too far, thereby ruining a good thing.

I suppose there are Americans who disapprove of what America is and has been, and such people therefore may not feel they are risking anything valuable when they experiment by pushing the limits. And there are those who don't fall in that category, but who see no risk involved. My posts here have been addressed to the second group -- people who I assume are NOT malicious, but who may not have considered the possible negative consequences of proposed ideas.
 
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You know, from reading the forums on this site, it seems to me that people studying for the SCJP exam attempt to steal a lot of books...

 
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Thanks Frank, now I understand better where you are coming from. I still have questions, but I don't see how we can discuss them without stepping into forbidden political territory. It's probably better to stop here.
 
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