For content related to philosophy, ethics.

Blogging credo

Here are the principles and guidelines I follow when blogging here on my blog.

Truth and accuracy: Everything I write is as accurate and truthful as I can manage, with some important exceptions noted below. (Note: not all my posts are about subjects where this is pertinent.) I welcome comments with suggestions and corrections. If I discover an error, I will either leave the original and add the correction, or make the correction and add a note explaining what was corrected and why.

Antisemitism is the wrong word

A Semite is any of the peoples who speak or spoke (or descended from people who spoke) a Semitic language. The Semitic languages (note the plural) are a sub-family of the Afro-Asiatic language family that includes Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic, Amharic.
 
The Semitic peoples, then, include Amharans, Arabs, Akkadians, Canaanites, some Ethiopians, Hebrews, Tigrayans.
 

Neighborhoods evolve.

In our local community, as in many others, there is active and often acrimonious debate about zoning. While everyone agrees that there is a severe shortage of available and affordable housing and that increasing the housing stock is essential, not everyone agrees that new housing should be created in the neighborhood where they live.

Humility

"A man is like a fraction whose numerator is what he is and whose denominator is what he thinks of himself. The larger the denominator the smaller the fraction." 
 
~ Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (1828-1910) quote in Howard Eves, Return to Mathematical Circles

Responding to the 'but 99% survive' argument

Among the many candidates for arguments against taking action to protect our families, friends, colleagues, neighbors, communities and country from COVID, none make me angrier than the "but 99% survive" gambit. This argument is numerically illiterate (Mark Twain said “It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so”), racist, ableist, and inhumane. Let me explain.
 

My proposed treatment for our COVID-19 pandemic

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic across multiple spheres of American society is a novel event. Some have used the term black swan, Taleb's term for an event that can't be anticipated because it is outside the realm of experience. I prefer to think of it as a gray rhino, Michele Wucker's term for the big and obvious thing coming at you that you don't want to acknowledge. I think of this as a threat to our society writ large, not just as a threat to our economy or even just to public health. I think those narrow framings guarantee inadequate analysis and response.

Stay connected

As the severity of the novel coronavirus becomes obvious to more and more people, and as they begin to grasp the depth and duration of the changes in daily life that will be required of all of us, it is worth thinking about the need to protect and strengthen the social fabric on which we all depend. In fact, the changes are likely to be so profound that they provide an opportunity for a 'reboot' into a new 'operating system' better designed for our future than our past.

This snippet nicely expresses what I hope anchors our core values going forward: