X-Phil in the NY Times again

but this time in the review of Rebecca Goldstein’s latest novel, Thirty-six Arguments for the Existence of God.  Janet Maslin, the reviewer closes with this observation:

When Cass [an academic and central character] witnesses a PowerPoint presentation featuring “brain scans of sophomores, neuroimaged in the throes of moral deliberation over whether they should, in theory, toss a hapless fat man onto the tracks in order to use his bulk to save five other men from an oncoming trolley,” this book occupies its ideal vantage point: close to the absurdity of current academic thinking yet just far enough away to laugh.

Ouch!  But ha ha, also.

I don’t know if any of our friends at Experimental Philosophy will notice.  Maslin’s comments remind me that people outside the academia often make the mistake of thinking of some piece of research as though it were an end in itself, as opposed to something more like one step in a much larger project.

At the same time, the idea that the trolley problem is supposed to be a paradigm case of a moral problem seems something feminists might well feel concern over.

What do you think?

Blog for Choice Day News: Shooting man in head is not murder?

Blog for Choice Day started with my usual wake-up method of listening to NPR’s Morning Edition, which included the news that today begins the trial of a man who drove miles in order to shoot a man in the head, in front of many witnesses; once apprehended, he confessed to the crime.   This may sound like a straightforward case of murder, except that the murder victim was a doctor who performed abortions, and the shooter was pro-life:

Roeder says he should be able to tell jurors why he committed the act — to “protect unborn babies,” he says. But prosecutors say any evidence about abortion is irrelevant. They say it’s an open-and-shut murder case.

Roeder allegedly drove from suburban Kansas City to George Tiller’s church in Wichita, where he pulled out a gun and shot Tiller in the head. Many witnesses saw the shooting, and Roeder has admitted he did it. But the case may not be so simple.

Judge Warren Wilbert ruled that Roeder cannot use a so-called justifiable homicide or necessity defense. But the judge did not rule out evidence that could lead to a lesser voluntary manslaughter charge.

According to Kansas law, that’s the “unreasonable but honest belief” that deadly force was justified.

The Blog for Choice website asks participants to consider the question, “What does ‘Trust Women’ mean to you?”   The question itself makes me reflect on the extent to which we live in an untrustworthy world.  Women are not trusted.  Those who aid them risk being shot in the head.  Whom can we trust? 

I suppose that it means, in part, we must act to protect each other, to deserve the trust of women.

Have an election you’d like to sell? Updated

If you are in the States, then you are in luck.  Mind you, it has to be an interesting election, one where one candidate supports the voters’ interests and another will support opposing corporate interests. 

As Obama says:

With its ruling today, the Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics. It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans.

See the link above on details about this:

Sweeping aside a century-old understanding and overruling two important precedents, a bitterly divided Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the government may not ban political spending by corporations in candidate elections.

Thanks to Lani in comments for this link to a petition for a constitutional amendment to limit the right to free speech to people.