Saturday, September 29, 2012

Iris Murdoch on Philosophy and Literature

Iris Murdoch on Philosophy and Literature | The Partially Examined Life Philosophy Podcast | A Philosophy Podcast and Blog

In Fire and the Sun: Why Plato Banished the Artists, Iris Murdoch claimed that “[a]rt is far and away the most educational thing we have…” Here she is discussing this notion, among many others, with the philosopher Bryan Magee. 
You can also read an interview with Murdoch in the Paris Review. Here’s an excerpt:
Should the novelist also be a moralist and teacher?
Moralist, yes. Teacher suggests something rather more didactic in tone. A novelist is bound to express values, and I think he should be conscious of the fact that he is, in a sense, a compulsory moralist. Novelists differ, of course, in the extent to which they set out to reflect on morals and to put that reflection into their work. I certainly do reflect and put this reflection into my works, whether or not with success. The question is how to do it. If you can’t do it well, you had better not do it at all. If you have strong moral feelings, you may be in difficulties with your characters because you may want them to be less emphatic than you are yourself. In answer to your question, I think a novelist should be wary of being a teacher in a didactic sense, but should be conscious of himself as a moralist.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hooray for rich people!

Following up on this morning's lecture, I ran across this news item this afternoon and thought I would share it here:
 Hedge Fund Manager Donates 170,000 Acres of Wild Lands in Colorado
Journalists often are stumped for the right words to explain amazing news that comes across their desk. But this time the simple words announcing the news were amazing enough:
"A wealthy hedge fund manager has set a record, donating 170,000 acres of prime wilderness land in Colorado’s pristine Sangre de Cristo Mountains to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, making it the largest donation to the agency."

It gets better.
"Avid conservationist Louis Moore Bacon, 56, CEO and founder of Moore Capital Management, which is one of the largest hedge funds in the world, donated to the wildlife agency most of his 81,400-acre Trinchera Ranch Saturday, Sept. 15, adding to a previous 90,000 acre donation from his adjoining Blanca Ranch."
In explaining the motivation for his donation, Bacon said: "We are too quickly losing important landscapes in this country to development—and I worry that if we do not act to protect them now, future generations will grow up in a profoundly different world.”
Oh, if only those politicians suggesting we sell our public lands to pay off debts could understand that.
The whole wonderful story can be read here.
A nice reminder that good things can be accomplished by those with the wealth and the will to do them.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Call for Papers -- The Ethical Biologist

CALL FOR PAPERS – The Ethical Biologist, UConn

Call for Submissions: The Ethical Biologist
Although ‘bioethics’ is often used to describe the application of ethical and moral theories to biological sciences and technology, in its broadest sense, the term ‘bioethics’ refers to the study of the ethics of life.  This interdisciplinary field promises to become increasingly important to all people as technology and science becomes increasingly prevalent in daily life.  The Ethical Biologist is a new peer-reviewed undergraduate research journal based at the University of Connecticut that seeks to highlight new ideas in bioethics. The journal is completely student-run and student refereed.
We are currently accepting submissions for our inaugural issue, to be published in the spring of 2013.  We encourage the submission of pieces that address current issues in bioethics, or that consider the behavioral, biological, environmental, political, legal, or socioeconomic factors that influence bioethical issues.
Until 11:59 p.m. (EST) on December 16, 2012, we will be accepting:
●      Original Academic Research Papers (2500-3500 words) – Pieces that address a specific area of bioethical study;
●      Perspectives (1200 word maximum) – Opinion pieces that analyze a recent development in bioethics;
●      Field notes (2000 word maximum) – Journal-style pieces based on relevant personal experience and written with a more personal voice.
Please turn in all submissions to by December 16, 2012. If you have any questions, please contact us directly.  Our website, which is currently undergoing maintenance, will be available for more information beginning in October.  Visit us at