Thursday, September 23, 2010
Virtue theory is not actually in conflict with deontology or teleology: those two viewpoints deal with which actions a person should take in any given scenario, whereas virtue theorists simply argue that developing morally desirable virtues for their own sake will help aid moral actions when such decisions need to be made.
Nick Gier in Buddhist Ethics as Virtue Ethics compares Buddha's ethical teachings to Aristotle's: "Like Greek virtue ethics, Buddhist ethics is also humanistic and thoroughly personalist." Damien Keown devotes a great deal of his work to debunking claims that Buddhism is Utilitarian in nature. His work then goes on to examine the structure of Buddhist Ethics, focusing specifically on morality (Pali: siila). His conclusion is that Buddhist Ethics most closely resembles the ancient Greek virtue ethics found in Aristotle.
Terrible future of post-humans: I just read today that the OMS is happy that we are now treating 5 million people with AIDS. Indeed, these are great news... but the AIDS is not really cured, in fact these drugs make people able to survive the disease, able to live with it; but this means, from the perspective of the virus, that its host does not die, and so that it gains time and opportunities to spread. So, let's indulge ourselves on a dystopian dream, an epoch when all humanity will live with AIDS, but well and going - as long as you have your daily cocktail of complex drugs... Basic needs existed beforehand (water, food, etc), so this medication would be just a new "essential" nutriment after all. That would be okay perhaps, until we remember that these drugs are not found in nature, nor can them be prepared on your kitchen. We will depend on bio-technologies in a manner that will make us very fragile. It is quite different to have an electricity shortage (and miss your favorite TV program) than to have shortage on say, oxygen...
A conversation is not just the act of transmitting information between two persons; it's a creative process, where new information is created. I would say that the percentage of "transmitted" information versus freshly created information is 1/10 or less. In fact, a conversation is more like an act of improvisation. When we start talking, we rarely know exactly where are we going. Of course, we may have a direction, some really important information to convey that acts as a "beacon" for us. But then, all the rest is pure rambling, digressing, random walk in the phase space of thinking.