Archive for December, 2018

Should We Fear Death?

Saturday, December 22nd, 2018

Stephen Cahn, at Blog of the APA, rejects what he calls ‘Two Ancient and Unpersuasive Arguments about Death‘. But it is not clear to me that he is interpreting the claims correctly.

The word “death”, like many other words in most human languages, has more than one meaning. If it refers to the state of being dead then the classical arguments would be quite persuasive to me (if I didn’t already consider them obvious).

On the other hand the process of becoming dead fills me with terror – both because the actual cause of death is often painful and because, as Cahn notes, we derive much of our joy in life from anticipation of expected pleasures and awareness of imminent death makes us realize that those pleasures will be lost. Perhaps the classical scholars, along with teachers from many other traditions, are primarily concerned with weaning us from dependency on future rewards so that we will suffer less in the final moment when we realize that those are denied us.

Not being a linguist, I don’t know if the Greek and Latin languages reslove this dichotomy in a way that makes Cahn’s interpretation either true or false, nor if the ambiguity persists and his interpretation becomes a matter of choice – in which case might fault him for uncharitably imposing the less sustainable interpretation.

Source: Two Ancient and Unpersuasive Arguments about Death | Blog of the APA

Empathy with the Ostrich

Saturday, December 15th, 2018

Reading this makes me want to just stick my head in the sand

Source: Viktor Orbán and the Anti-Semitic Figyelő Cover – The Atlantic

I Think This Lets CANADA Off the Hook

Wednesday, December 12th, 2018

Donald Trump’s use of the case against Meng Wanzhou as a bargaining chip (aka hostage-taking or blackmail) in trade negotiations with China is a clear indication that the extradition request was not made in good faith based on the belief that there was a clear obligatorily enforceable  legal case against Ms Meng. Thus Canada is under no moral obligation (and I would hope is under no legal obligation) to deliver her.  I deeply hope that a Canadian court reaches the same conclusion and orders her release on those grounds.

Source: Exclusive: Trump says he could intervene in U.S. case against Huawei CFO | Reuters