So much we don’t understand — spooky action at a distance

For as long as I have known about the theory of quantum mechanics I have been fascinated and awed by what is referred to as "spooky action at a distance."  This is the phenomenon where two subatomic particles are "entangled" and a change in one particle affects the other particle instantaneously even though the particles may be light years apart. It seems foreign and impossible. Even Einstein thought this theory had…

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Mowing the lawn, duty, living your dream, and happiness

I liked the recent New York Times column by Roger Cohen, Mow the lawn, for questioning the all too common advice to "live your dream" or "pursue your passion" as the path to happiness.  He argues that sometimes it is more important to focus on what we need to do even if it is mundane. Dreams are important and can motivate people.  The evidence is strong that doing what you are good…

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Philosophy

Robin's Philosophy Home Page Why Philosophy? Philosophy often seems esoteric, complex, and irrelevant to daily life. As a young adult, reading and thinking about the fundamental questions of life was important as I tried to figure out my place in the world and meaning for my life. My interest waned as the demands of work and family dominated my time. Philosophy also seemed less relevant. I concluded there was no…

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Philosophy, Politics, & Democracy — Teaching Plato in Palestine

I believe philosophy is important in living a meaningful life and creating a society that makes that possible.  I found this review of Carlos Fraenkel's book interesting and have put the it on my ever growing reading list. Teaching Plato in Palestine - WSJ Book Review

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FX’s “The Americans” and moral conflict

I am a big fan of "The Americans" TV show on FX.  Its an exciting cold war spy thriller with complex personal relationships and deep moral conflicts.  So I was interested in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal (The Mystery of Loyalty, in life and on The Americans) that discusses one of the fundamental conflicts in the show.  That is the conflict between the loyalty one feels to a group…

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Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian, and Moral Law

Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian, and Moral Law Cormac McCarthy I am a fan of Cormac McCarthy and his book "Blood Meridian."  Re-reading the book recently I noted this passage: "Moral law is an invention of mankind for the disenfranchisement of the powerful in favor of the weak. Historical law subverts it at every turn. " There is insight in this statement. I had not thought of our moral codes in those…

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The value of a traditional liberal arts education

A recent opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, Conservatives, Please Stop Trashing the Liberal Arts, caught my attention. I have long felt I missed learning something important in college. Those gaps left me ill prepared in important ways for work and life. I worked in my field after getting a Masters' Degree from a top university. I have a successful career and a happy life. So I'm not complaining. But college could have been…

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Should we trust our feelings in making moral judgments?

Most of us make most moral judgments quickly based on feelings. We “know” right from wrong, virtue from vice. Few take the time to reason out moral decisions. We just do what we feel is right. Feeling driven moral decisions are easier and faster than following a deliberative, rational, and fact driven process. This approach to making moral or ethical decisions has long been observed. Several moral philosophers, most notably…

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