Varieties of Inequality

Clothes are seen hanging outside a bus which has been converted into a dwelling for Lu Changshan and his wife near newly-constructed residential buildings in Hefei, Anhui province in China on November 12, 2012 (Jianan Lu/Courtesy Reuters).

I can think of at least six kinds of inequality: Inequality of income: different people receive different wages, either for different jobs or for the same job, as profits from capital investments, or as government subsidies, transfer payments, or private charity. Inequality of consumption: different people consume different products (i.e. the generic widget) in differing… Continue reading Varieties of Inequality

Naturalism and the Truth of Human Values

Peter Levine has been blogging on various aspects of truth recently: democracy in a “post-truth era,” issues in prediction, and now a piece on scientism: if all truths were scientific truths, we would be in deep trouble. We would then reject  any claims that science cannot support. For example, do all human beings have equal value or… Continue reading Naturalism and the Truth of Human Values

What is the belief you hold that is most likely to be wrong?

Another way of putting this question is: how does your ideology and social setting blind you? One way to answer is to look at those beliefs that you have the most incentive to deceive yourself about. What are your biases? For instance, I’m probably not as smart or as caring as I think I am, because… Continue reading What is the belief you hold that is most likely to be wrong?

Status Emotions and Punishment

I haven’t written much about status emotions, recently, but I came across one of my favorite Facebook memes and remembered again how central it seems. I don’t endorse the misogyny here, but it perfectly describes the way that fundamental attribution bias transforms resentment into contempt, and thus leads, in my view, to both epistemic and… Continue reading Status Emotions and Punishment

What is “Public Philosophy”?

My department invited Sharon Meagher to do a seminar last Friday on how to redirect our energies towards “public philosophy.” Meagher has a great textbook for introducing philosophy through an exploration of urban issues that offers a situated approach to philosophical inquiry, and she’s done a lot of work trying to organize and advocate for… Continue reading What is “Public Philosophy”?