How to Respond to Wrongdoing

How to respond to wrongdoing “Let not any one pacify his conscience by the delusion that he can do no harm if he takes no part, and forms no opinion. Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.” John Stuart Mill John Stuart Mill The Moral Problem I have found moral reasoning most challenging when responding to wrongdoing --…

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Lessons from the Stoics

Lessons from the Stoics The Stoics provide useful and practical principles and behaviors for living. Stoicism is an ancient philosophy created by the Greeks and Romans. Many of the original Stoic writers were not philosophers by profession but people who looked to philosophy as a means for becoming better people and living a good life. Perhaps the most famous Stoic, Marcus Aurelius, was a Roman emperor. His perennially popular book,…

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Basic ideas of Emanuel Kant

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What I learned from Emanuel Kant I knew little about Kant about except that he was important. I was introduced to his writings in a university philosophy class I audited in my 60s. There is a reason I knew little about him. His ideas are complicated, and his writing is hard to understand. After reading several of his important books and then reading books about Kant and his philosophy I…

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What I learned from Aristotle

What i learned from aristotle Aristotle is essential to any study of moral philosophy. He provides so much and there are many books examining his writings and contributions. I focus here on a couple concepts that influence my thinking and help me learn how to live. Happiness (eudaimonia/thriving) is the overriding good Aristotle argues that happiness is life’s purpose. The idea is powerful. Millennia later it became a founding principle…

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On Status

Hierarchies and the Desire for Status Hierarchies Humans have an innate desire for status. It is part of our nature. This desire creates challenges for us as we seek happiness. It can help us be good, do good and thrive. Or it can lead us to waste time on pointless, unfulfilling pursuits. Humans are a hierarchical species. Many animals are because it has been a successful evolutionary adaption. Hierarchy helps…

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Human Nature

Human Nature Learning how to live well requires understanding human nature. We have a nature like any other animal. Our nature is likely the most powerful force in our lives. Understanding our own nature and that of those around us is necessary if we are to progress toward being making good decisions, being happy, and thriving. My understanding of human nature in general, and my own particular nature, has changed…

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What does it mean to thrive?

What does it mean to thrive? My goal in living is to thrive. But what does thrive mean practically? A vague concept is of little use when making daily decisions on how to live. What is needed is an operational definition that can lead to useful guidelines for living and can help gage progress. The positive psychology movement has produced many books and articles on thriving and flourishing. There has…

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Purpose in Life

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On having a purpose or goal in life Cheshire Puss,' she began, rather timidly, as she did not at all know whether it would like the name: however, it only grinned a little wider. 'Come, it's pleased so far,' thought Alice, and she went on. 'Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?' 'That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,'…

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Introduction to Essays

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Introduction to Essays on How to Live These essays have a theme – how to live. They were written to help me live better by exploring topics affecting how I understand my world and then act. It is self-indulgent. But it is possible (and my hope) that my exploration may help a few others. More has been written on how to live a good life than could be read in…

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Essays on How to Live and Thrive

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Background: Essays on How to Live The Basic Question in Life This collection of essays on how to live and thrive address one of the basic questions: How should I live my life? How should I live to be happy and thrive? Most of us at some point think about the meaning of life, the goals we should pursue, and what is most important. We develop, whether we know it…

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