Friday, December 22, 2023

Foot in Mouth

Philippa Foot, Somerville College, Oxford (1939)

Is it obvious that spiritualism pertains to earthly matters--about how one conducts oneself in everyday affairs (whether or not you're having one)? Are being spiritual and ethical the same thing? Philippa's Foote's "trolley problem" in which an individual is sacrificed for the sake of the many is one of the most famous precepts in game theory. "Prisoner's dilemma" is another. In both cases the individual stops to consider rather than simply plowing forward like a driverless car. There's a man standing before you on the track and if you veered off at the fork you'd hit a crowd. Sound like a no-brainer--unless you allow yourself to experience the moment where you're the executioner? A life or death matter--what could be more spiritual? Camus said the only philosophical question was suicide, which is just a hop skip and a jump from that engineer who has to decide to take "the road less travelled."

read the review of Francis Levy's The Kafka Studies Department on Booklife

and listen to "Sex Machine" by James Brown

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