The Philosophy of Father’s Day

William Tell

Have you remembered Father’s Day? Father’s Day is a celebration honoring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society. It is celebrated on the third Sunday of June in many countries and on other days elsewhere.

Check out this free article from The Philosophical Quarterly about things that we ought to do for our parents – do any of these theories apply to you?


The Debate on Martin Rees’ Templeton Prize

Last week, the theoretical astrophysicist Professor Martin Rees, former president of the Royal Society and current Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, accepted the Templeton Prize. Funded by a massive endowment from the Tennessee-born billionaire Sir John Marks Templeton (1912-2008), the prize is awarded, according to its website, to ‘a living person who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works.’

That Rees’ acceptance of the prize has caused controversy should surprise few, given the number of highly opinionated and vocal participants in the current science-religion debate. Indeed one thing Rees was undoubtedly being rewarded for was his unusually conciliatory contribution to this often hostile conversation. But those who feel their hostility to be justified, particularly on the scientific side, regret what they perceive as the conversion of Rees into Continue reading “The Debate on Martin Rees’ Templeton Prize”

New Online Conference: The Changing Face of War

Benjamin Gimmel, BenHur
Vietnamese refugee in a Malaysian camp (Image: Benjamin Gimmel)

Wiley-Blackwell is delighted to announce our next Exchanges Online Conference, entitled The Changing Face of War. Following on from the extraordinary success of our previous conference (Wellbeing: A Cure-All for the Social Sciences?), this exciting new conference again promises to set the benchmark for events within the social sciences and humanities communities.

As before, the conference is free to all, and will take place online over the course of one week. The conference will bring together academics from the disciplines of history, policy, philosophy, peace studies, religious studies, sociology, politics, cultural studies and more.

The conference will cover the following thought-provoking themes:


Theory and Philosophy of War
Is war an inevitable feature of human society/progress?

War in Cultural Context
Is there a ‘Western Way of War’?

From Home Front to Front Line
What can military history specialists learn from social and cultural historians, and vice versa?

Evolution of Warfare
Are we witnessing ‘new’ kinds of war in the 21st century?

Peace Studies
Is all peace good peace?

The conference will include the following content:

  • Videocast keynote addresses from leading figures in the field
  • Scholarly articles with expert commentary
  • Publishing workshops
  • Live Q&A with presenters
  • A book and journal ‘reading room’, plus a generous delegates’ discount
  • Participate when it suits your schedule

Bonus payments: A special form of greed?!

GeizGreed is nowadays most often associated with money and courtesy to the recession, now mainly with bankers. A simple definition of greed is that those who are greedy want more of what they already have. And studying ethics, we know that greed is a vice and therefore wrong.  Since the recession bankers are portrayed as greedy and as acting against their clients, and therefore against society at large. For the past weeks a new “problem” in the world of banking has cropped up: the payment of bonus payments. By definition bonuses are paid for extraordinary work. If employees really outdid themselves, they receive a special reward. Only that this definition does not seem to be valid anymore. Bonuses have become a part of employment contracts and of employment deals. They are seen as something the employee is entitled to. Therefore bonuses seem to bring about a new form of greed. It is not only greed about the money it seems, but also about the gratification. Bonuses are more than sheer payments, they give the employee perceived job-security. But the problem now is that if bonuses are paid to bankers from banks that have received money from the government, that same government de facto gratifies bankers for making mistakes in the first place. The clients that were mistreated are, via their tax money, now rewarding the bankers. The bankers on the other hand claim that they earned the bonuses and will be motivated to work more successfully, which is then beneficial for the client. It is a vicious cycle!?!

A times article dealing with the bailout is here, and a whole plethora of articles about the topic at large is here.

$1.99 - small Business Ethics: An Overview
By Jeffrey Moriarty, Bowling Green State University
(Vol. 3, August 2008)
Philosophy Compass

Sex Offenders and the Law

AmberalertlogoJaycee Dugard was only eleven years old when she was kidnapped, raped, and subsequently held captive by a previously convicted sex offender named Phillip Garrido. Last week, eighteen years into her captivity, Jaycee was serendipitously found and freed — along with two (of Garrido’s) children that she had given birth to while still a teenager. Despite the happy ending, the case of Jaycee Dugard suggests that sex offender registries are simply not enough to ensure that children are protected from those who would do them harm: Garrido had been on such a registry at the time of Jaycee’s kidnapping and throughout her captivity. Consequently, as detailed in a recent NYTimes article, some are making vociferous calls for more stringent laws on crimes that involve the sexual exploitation of children.

What determines whether society should heed these calls depends, at least in part, on answering a variety of philosophical questions about the purpose of government and the proper scope of law more generally. For instance, any justification that one might give for adopting more stringent sex offender laws will need to assume (if not establish) three claims: (i) the government has a duty to protect the welfare of children; (ii) making sex offender laws more stringent is necessary for the government to discharge this duty; and (iii) making sex offender laws more stringent neither violates some more fundamental duty, nor requires the sacrifice of something that has greater (moral) value than the protection of those children whose welfare depends on the adoption of such laws. Although political philosophy (as a discipline) will probably not answer these questions for us, it can certainly give us guidance as we attempt to answer these questions — as we must — for ourselves.

Possibly Related Articles:

On the Philosophy of Group Decision Methods I: The Nonobviousness of Majority Rule
By Mathias Risse , John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
(Vol. 4, July 2009)
Philosophy Compass

On the Philosophy of Group Decision Methods II: Alternatives to Majority Rule
By Mathias Risse , John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
(Vol. 4, July 2009)
Philosophy Compass

Recent Work on Free Will and Moral Responsibility
By Neil Levy and Michael McKenna, University of Melbourne Florida State University
(Vol. 3, December 2008)
Philosophy Compass

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