Sunday, December 13, 2009

Angry Mermaid Award!

Vote for which corporations have made the greatest effort to sabotage the prevention of climate change! Keep in mind, each of these listed corporations have made "bullshit" proposals to help battle climate change that end up being much more profitable than effective!

Angry Mermaid Nominees!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Optional Paper topics

Hey Everyone,
So I'm thinking about the optional paper topics and I want to write about the ethics of reading, and draw heavily from Thoreau's essay in Walden on reading. It was a close call between that and plastic trees. I was wondering what other people picked for a third topic, and, would it be possible for us to put our third papers online or something for the whole class to see? It might be fun to just see the variety of specific things that interest different people. If you don't like the idea, feel free to veto it.

PS--I haven't done the Blog so far b/c I thought I was bad with computers, but this is pretty easy.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

New National Park Service Director

Here's a link to an interview with the new director of the National Park Service. Pretty short, but mentions restrictions on snow mobile use in Yellowstone.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Life After People

We were talking about anthropocentrism in class today. Many people are concerned about how the environment will change but is this really about how the environment will change the lives of human beings? What about life after people?

The History Channel made a film about this (link below)

Life After People

Hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Child Labor in Uzbek: Repercussions of Speaking Out

This is going back to the 11/10 lecture and the article referring to examples of paternalism... I'm wondering if the individual who divulged the information to BBC would have changed his mind if he knew he was going to be harmed out of his attempt to help others.

Activist 'beaten' after BBC story

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Groundhog Day

For anyone interested in watching part or all of Groundhog Day, here is the link to Part 1 of ten on youtube.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Series of Great Films to Accompany Great Literature

We have been reading a lot of thought-provoking material in the past weeks on various ethical issues and approaches to core ethical question of "How should one live?"   There seem to be a number of films coming out that deal with ethical issues we are discussing in class.  Adding to the post before mine, there are a few films that are out in theaters in the coming weeks that may be worth your time. 

In addition to"The Invention of Lying" (which was very thought-provoking - is the world actually made better if there is no lying?), there is also "Surrogates," "Where the Wild Things Are," and "The Box" (coming out November 6).  "The Box" poses the following moral dilemma: pushing a button will instantly earn you one million dollars, but will also kill someone you do not know; do you push it?

"Where the Wild Things Are" does not necessarily fit in the category of dealing with ethical issues, but is in the broader category of how should one deal with issues in general, and the foundation of a person's character.  I wanted to share a link to a NY Times Opinion article related to the movie that I found to be very well-written on this subject of morality:

- Jess

Monday, October 5, 2009

"The Invention of Lying" On the Topic of Lying vs. Bullshit

I just saw this preview for "The Invention of Lying" recently and thought it'd be interesting to share with all of you considering it's fairly pertinent with what we had been discussing just a week ago. It's literally about a man who stumbles upon the ability to lie in a world where no one has ever lied before, and how he exploits it. Enjoy.

The Invention of Lying

-Brian Han

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The rights of nature

The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) is a Pennsylvania nonprofit dedicated to asserting the rights of nature and having such rights codified into law. Check out their website at:

How far do rights go?

Here's a clip from Ghost in the Shell that made me think of class today (9/29), how far do we go with rights? Like other sci-fi robot films (AI or iRobot), what rights do they have? They can think and act, even independently, so what rights do they have. So if a robot has rights, can the earth??? How far do we go with rights?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Interview with Harry Frankfurt on bullshit

Here is an interview with Harry Frankfurt that can help you with understanding his essay on bullshit.

originally posted 9/21/07

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Soda Tax

While reading the NY Times today, I ran across an article (found online at on the front page of the Business section about how a tax should be imposed on sugary beverages like soda. This, supporters argue, would help fight obesity and raise funds for the health care reform. As someone who doesn't drink soda, I can honestly say I am biased in favor of such a tax, but what do you think? Is it right for the government to influence what we drink?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Neurath's boat

There are many references to Neurath's boat in various places on the web, and one nice paper that relates to ethics is by Gilbert Harman of Princeton University. "Three Trends in Moral and Political Philosophy" is available as a pdf file and may be of interest to some of you.

for more on Apollo 13:

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Welcome to Ethics and the Environment, Fall 2009 version

Hi everyone,
glad to get the class started today. Enjoy the blog, and please do share items that you run across that relate (however broadly) to the subject matter of the course.