The “Man-cession” becomes the “man-covery.” Men suffered huge job losses during the recession when construction and manufacturing were especially hard hit. But now, they’re gaining jobs at a faster pace than women, in some cases entering fields long-dominated by female workers. We’ll examine this latest shift in the labor market.
From Burundi to Burma, from Afghanistan to Uzbekistan, refugees from around the globe have been placed in New Hampshire to start their lives anew. Here they find new freedoms and far less dangers but new challenges as well. Many have to learn English, the American laws, become educated and find work. Federal programs help a lot but so do the cities and towns in which they are placed. Now Manchester wants to put a moratorium on any new refugees resettling here. City officials worry that they currently don't have enough resources to assist its current residents and with tight budgets get
What makes someone a true friend? We use the term friend in so many different ways to refer to so many different kinds of relationships and people: we friend hundreds of people on Facebook; spouses, children, parents are all supposed to be our friends now; we have bffs, friends with benefits, and frenemies. On the one hand, when we use the term so widely we risk emptying it of all meaning. On the other hand, we use it so widely because we value friendship so highly. How can we cut through all the confusion and find our real friends? What does genuine friendship entail? Can we foster g
Why should we punish? To “balance the scales of justice”? To exact revenge? To deter crime? To remove the offender from free society? To reform the offender? Is punishment a moral act, or is it simply a form of social control? Is punishing children different from punishing criminal offenders? Is there a difference between torture and punishment? Is death ever justifiable punishment? Does punishment strip the punished of her dignity? Which rights should prisoners loose? The right to vote? The right to privacy? The right to be a parent?
On the one hand we teach our children not to “judge a book by its cover,” but on the other we seek out beauty as one of life’s most profound experiences. What do we mean when we describe something as beautiful? When we speak of the beauty of a landscape, for instance, are we referring to its formal properties (how it looks) or to the content it conveys (such as the will of a god)? Are standards of beauty relative such that one can justifiably claim that Britney Spears makes more beautiful music than Beethoven, or can we be biased or otherwise mistaken regarding our opinions of beauty?
Throughout American history we have underlined the ideals of ‘equality’ The Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address and Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech have all declared that all men are created equal, but are they really? In the past people of color, new immigrants and women have been less equal. Gays still fight for equal rights. Those of a privileged class may have the same rights as the poor, but still enjoy some benefits that the poor can’t.
When we look at the nightly news or study history we might easily come to this conclusion. We have armies and police forces, lawyers and judges, in order to protect us from each other. Is all of this violence a result of something inherent in human nature or the human condition? Or is violence exacerbated by society, for example through violent entertainment or by encouraging competition in all aspects of life? Is it possible to imagine a world without violence? But, is violence always a bad thing?
Every year during the holidays we spend our time, energy, and money in the search for the perfect gifts for friends and family. But sometimes it feels like we are going through the motions or worse that we are just doing what is expected of us, not something that comes from the heart. Why do we go through this? Is it possible to give in a more genuine way? But there is any even more troubling problem. A true gift should be something that we give freely without any thought of our own benefit and that makes no demand on the recipient.
Experiencing gratitude and appreciating various things seems essential to happiness and a good life. Why is this? What exactly is gratitude? Is it an emotion that we cannot control or is it a cognitive realization that I should express gratitude? If I do not “feel grateful” when someone gives me a gift I do not care for, should I expressed gratitude anyway? Why do we teach our children to say “thank you” when we feed them or otherwise give them something they deserve? Should I be grateful when a teller returns correct change?
We often hear of people suffering from “information overload.” To what exactly are we referring? Is it just that our brains are too slow to process the information now available? Does more information necessarily lead to more truth? Does more truth necessarily lead to a better world? What are the existential ramifications of living in a world where all information is always immediately available? Are there reasons to slow down our development of information technology? Is slowing down even possible given competitive global markets?
Do the ends ever justify the means? Assuming, for example, that lying, torturing, stealing, and murder are wrong, are such actions justified in rare instances in order to avoid some terrible consequence, or to achieve some great good? If so, how far does this go? Are all actions potentially justified, so long as the benefit is sufficiently great? Or are some actions so horrible that they are never justified, no matter what the consequences? What makes actions right or wrong in the first place-the consequences, or something else?
Our next Socrates Exchange discussion begins! This time we ask we ask “are there ethical limits to biotechnology?” From aspirin to artificial limbs many of us enjoy the benefits of biotechnology, but is there a point where it crosses the ethical line... steroids in sports, cloning or choosing the genetic makeup of your child? Post your thoughts below and respond to other postings.
Citizens have a role to elect their representatives in, but then what is the role of the representative? Where should federal power end and state power begin? And in the end, who is really in charge, the citizen, the representative or the courts? The country, the state, the town or the citizen?
Max Latona, Associate Professor of Philosophy at St. Anselm College
Are non-human animals merely a natural resource for human use? Do we have a responsibility to treat animals with dignity or to consider their suffering? Are we justified killing mosquitoes or pigs while pampering our pets? Do "smarter" creatures deserve more rights? If an animal is more intelligent than a cognitively disabled human, does the animal deserve more rights? Post your thoughts below and respond to other postings.