I’ve just uploaded a heavily revised version of my paper on the metaphysics and morals of death. Click here to check it out.
The format is altered somewhat. Section III is the most heavily revised, as it was on this section that I focused on most intensely over the course of the past semester. Sections II, IV, and V will be seeing more revision over the summer.
Section III includes an extension of Rothbard’s praxeological critique of the Buridan’s ass example used by indifference theorists in economics to the argument for indifference to death put forth by Epicurus. In this section, I also extend Rand’s reification of the zero fallacy to the Epicurean argument.
Next time you think about flying to your destination, you better think twice. Airport security screeners are beginning to use X-ray devices that will allow them to have X-rated viewing pleasure (or disgust, as the case may be). Yes, indeed. What’s that? Outrageous, you say? Unbelievable? Check out this article: “Airport screeners could see X-rated X-rays.” Says Bill Scannel, a privacy advocate and technology consultant, in the article: “Well, you’ll see basically everything. It shows nipples. It shows the clear outline of genitals.” Do we really want airport security personnel to be able to see us naked? Is terrorism such a threat that we should eagerly or even resignedly give up our privacy and our dignity? I certainly don’t think so. How about you?
Whew! The semester is finally over and I survived intact with three A’s, and most of my students survived too! I finished grading Tuesday and, hopefullly!, finished with fielding questions about final exams and with the begging (and demanding!) for higher grades. My grade distribution turned out pretty skewed towards A’s and B’s, probably because of the optional extra credit paper and the fact that I dropped some of the lowest quiz grades. 15 A’s, 14 B’s, 7 C’s, 3 D’s, and 3 F’s. One of those F’s, though, was someone who apparently forgot to drop the class because I never saw him and he never took any of the quizzes or exams. Aside from Mr. Absentee, I ended with 42 students after starting with 51. Not bad. I think my first time teaching seems to have been a success. At least a few of my students mentioned that they were intellectually stimulated and challenged.
On a different note, it is amazing how the least deserving in the class will come to their professor expecting to be given a higher grade simply because they want it or need it. I had this one student who skipped well over half of the class periods during the first half of the semester. She failed the first exam, managed to improve to a D on the second exam, and barely pulled off a C on the final. She actually started coming to class semi-regularly during the second third and regularly during the last third of the semester. Sure, that shows some improvement and a recognition that she hurt herself in the beginning. She also did the extra credit paper. But it was too little too late. She came up 10 raw points shy of a C for her final grade. One of the reasons was that I don’t think she was doing the reading, and probably not paying attention well in class, as evidenced by still relatively low quiz grades. She claimed she worked so hard to improve her grade, the hardest of anyone in the class, and deserved “a way better grade.” (I’m also a harsh grader, by the way. ;o) ) But obviously she didn’t, and she wanted an undeserved C. Opportunistic egalitarians demanding the undeserved get my hackles up, so needless to say I didn’t give it to her. Besides, where am I going to come up with 10 points to fill the gap? If someone is just one or two or three points away from the next highest grade and he or she has given me reason to suspect that s/he really tried hard, then I might be able to give him/her the benefit of the doubt. I can’t do anything with such a large gap though. Oh, and that girl claimed she went all-out and pulled an all-nighter to study for my exam. Sorry! That just isn’t good enough. Complex material like that of political philosophy takes time to absorb and understand. For someone who has been struggling through the class, one night of intensive studying just ain’t gonna cut it.
Anyway, now that the semester is over I should be posting on here more often and more regularly. Expect the latest version of my “Death and Harm” paper to be uploaded soon!