TV and Film
Would It Be Wrong to Build a Time Machine?
Happy Back to the Future Day! October 21, 2015 is the day that Marty McFly travelled to the future in Doc Brown’s time-traveling DeLorean. To commemorate this day, I thought we should have a bit of fun and consider an interesting (and hypothetical) moral question. Suppose we could build a time machine. Would it be … Continue reading "Would It Be Wrong to Build a Time Machine?"
Announcing the Prindle Institute High School Essay Contest
I am very happy to announce the beginning of the annual Prindle Institute High School Essay Contest. Each year, the Prindle Institute will award high school students for the best essays on a topic of ethical concern. This year, we will award five (5) high school students $300 each for the best essays on this year’s … Continue reading "Announcing the Prindle Institute High School Essay Contest"
The Peace of Wild Things - Poetry Reading
Joe Heithaus, professor of English at DePauw University, read several poems at The Campus Farm Dinner in October. Here he is reading a famous poem called “The Peace of Wild Things” by Wendell Berry. Poetry (and the arts generally) is a great way to raise awareness or just inspire contemplation on critical issues of our … Continue reading "The Peace of Wild Things – Poetry Reading"
A Libertarian Argument for Public Education
A recent Gallup poll found that 70% of Americans favor using federal money to expand pre-school programs across the country. There were differences along party lines. Only 53% of Republicans favor the expansion, while 87% of Democrats favor the expansion. To some extent, this disparity is unsurprising. Fans of small government typically concede that government … Continue reading "A Libertarian Argument for Public Education"
Director Interview with D3TV
Thanks to the D3TV crew for having me on their news show last night, and thanks for posting the clip of my interview. Here’s the interview. In it, I discuss some goals for the Prindle Institute. I talk about two of our new programs, the Prindle Prize program and the Prindle Post. I also discuss … Continue reading "Director Interview with D3TV"
Would Knowledge of God Undermine Morality?
Helen De Cruz draws on some interesting insights from the cognitive science of religion to examine a popular response to an argument against God’s existence called The Problem of Divine Hiddenness. The basic argument is that a loving God would make his/her presence obviously known to us. Why? Because a loving God would want a loving personal relationship … Continue reading "Would Knowledge of God Undermine Morality?"
Should Professors Ban Student Emails?
A few weeks ago Spring-Serenity Duvall, an assistant professor of communications at Salem College, banned student emails. It began with a syllabus policy identifying when students could email her for things, the idea being that students simply shouldn’t email for things that they could easily find out for themselves. But the list became complicated, and … Continue reading "Should Professors Ban Student Emails?"
Humorous (but Serious) Critique of Student Loan Problem
Don’t be fooled by the (sometimes) off-color nature of this examination of the student loan problem. Through the humor, Oliver identifies some serious moral worries about the nature of what we might call the student loan problem. Highlights include: Total student loan debt is more than auto-loan debt and more than credit-card debt. Student loan … Continue reading "Humorous (but Serious) Critique of Student Loan Problem"
Who Owns the Space Behind an Airline Seat?
There is a battle going on in passenger airplanes all over the country between passengers who think they have a right to recline their seat and the people in the seats behind them. The story broke last week when a man installed a new invention, The Knee Defender, to prevent a woman from reclining her seat. … Continue reading "Who Owns the Space Behind an Airline Seat?"
Ferguson and Net Neutrality
The shooting of Michael Brown and the aftermath of unrest in Ferguson raises a host of obvious ethical issues. One that isn’t so obvious is that it highlights the potential importance of knowing about net neutrality and algorithmic filtering. As Zeynup Terfecki has recently argued, what happened in Ferguson is a way to illustrate how net neutrality … Continue reading "Ferguson and Net Neutrality"
How Social Media Might Silence Debate
According to this study, social media may have a negative impact on political debate. As the opening of the study notes, in the pre-internet era, there is a well documented phenomenon called “The Spiral of Silence” in which people tend not to voice opinions that differ from their friends and family. The intro also notes that: … Continue reading "How Social Media Might Silence Debate"
Epistemology and Affirmative Action
Whatever your views about affirmative action are, this is well worth watching. Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa, a philosophy professor at University of British Columbia, argues that recent psychological evidence about implicit bias may yield an argument in favor of affirmative action policies that is purely merit based. What is interesting and novel about his argument is that affirmative … Continue reading "Epistemology and Affirmative Action"
More Thoughts on Designing Addictive Video Games
A few weeks ago, Brian Crecente asked me to comment on whether or not I thought video game designers had a moral obligation to think about how they design games in light of recent evidence that some video games seem to be addictive. You can read the full article here, but here’s what I said: … Continue reading "More Thoughts on Designing Addictive Video Games"
Should You Trust Health Apps on Your Phone?
This article raises interesting questions about mobile health apps. It asks us to consider whether we should trust them, and to consider whether they should be regulated by the FDA. It’s interesting that both the side favoring regulation and the side arguing against regulation think that their position is the best path to innovation in the … Continue reading "Should You Trust Health Apps on Your Phone?"
Morning People Are Less Ethical At Night
And Night Owls are more likely to cheat in the morning. According to this recent study, people who are early risers tend to behave more unethically as the day goes on. By nightfall, they are much more likely to behave unethically than they are in the morning. Conversely, people who have a hard time getting … Continue reading "Morning People Are Less Ethical At Night"
Paying YouTubers to Post Footage of Your Video Game
The internet is blurring the boundaries between paid sponsorship and product review, and this is most apparent in the world of video game reviews. A recent article, over at Gamasutra discusses the an interesing ethical issue with video game YouTubers, people who record themselves playing video games while typically commenting on the gameplay. Is it ethical for … Continue reading "Paying YouTubers to Post Footage of Your Video Game"
Crying Brazilians and the Rationality of Team Loyalty
This week, the internet relished in the suffering of Brazilian soccer fans in the wake of the loss to Germany. Photos went viral all over social media, and they often led to the question: What is wrong with these people? Isn’t there something ridiculous about allowing yourself to be that emotionally invested in a sports … Continue reading "Crying Brazilians and the Rationality of Team Loyalty"
A World Without Work?
This week Google founders made the shocking suggestion that we ought to move away from the 40 work week. As odd as their suggestion may sound, we ought to consider their two main points in favor of the suggestion. Their argument is simple. Obviously, people’s lives might be better if less of it were devoted to the … Continue reading "A World Without Work?"
The 2014-2015 Graduate Fellows: Jacquelyn Stephens and Camille Veri
Jacquelyn Stephens became a Graduate Fellow after graduating from DePauw in 2014 with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in French. Jacquelyn was a Prindle intern during her senior year. She initiated the Popcorn and Pop Culture ethics series and served as the Lead Intern for the Undergraduate Ethics Symposium. She is interested in … Continue reading "The 2014-2015 Graduate Fellows: Jacquelyn Stephens and Camille Veri"