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You missed out Daily Mail Ethics and Guardian Ethics.

*grins* Well both the Daily Mail and the Guardian actually espouse forms of deontology (duty ethics): it's just the sense of 'duty' implied by the Daily Mail is a lot more overtly judgemental than that on display in the Guardian! I actually find the two newspapers quite similar, though - the Mail with its smug, reactionary, traditional, conservative bigotry, and the Gruaniad with its smug, reactionary, contemporary, liberal bigotry. :)

True. How about the Murdoch Ethics?

By the way, did you get a copy of Haidt's new offering? I found it quite interesting - there's quite a dialogue going on on some of the Amazon reviews - questions as to whether Haidt is biased.

I looked hard for the Murdoch Ethics, but I haven't found any yet. >:)

I have the Haidt book - it's next on my reading list after about half-a-dozen papers that I urgently need. I have read a lot of Haidt in the past, though, and he clearly *is* biased (aren't we all?), but I've always found his core theory to be valuable irrespective of this.


As a Dutchman and ex-daily frequenter of Amsterdam, I accept your apology on behalf of the city and its visitors.

I would be less likely to forgive you if I pictured you as the sort of loud Brit who is out with the lads to Amsterdam to abuse the local prostitutes as well as our hospitality. ;-)

But seriously, it's a difficult issue, and it reminds me of the following podcast in which the issue of drug use as part of spiritual practice came up. < >

Personally I see little moral problems with the use of drugs in itself, as long as you can honestly say to yourself that you believe it is very unlikely you will cause harm to yourself or other as a result. I guess this falls closely under the header of Consequentialism.

What you get out of using drugs and if it's worth it to yourself is another question. I guess I would agree with Hume and Kant that a bit of alcohol in whatever form can be conducive to pleasant company, though not essential, of course.

Qwallath: "As a Dutchman and ex-daily frequenter of Amsterdam, I accept your apology on behalf of the city and its visitors."

I can feel the absolution already. :) I get the impression that the people of Amsterdam are really quite used to drunken Brits on their streets, but that only goes so far! :)

Best wishes!

Interesting post. Not least for a topic that both Kant and Russell have provided provoking views, naturally Russell's view differs from Kant, as it does in many things.

When I think of issues where your future mindset is affected, this for me goes into meta-ethical territory, or at least into the realm of moral psychology.

This is a territory where my life experience comes in more than my reading.

1. The mentality of drinking for me involves the responsible assumption that you know the consequences of what you will be like when inebriated (except perhaps if you are unwittingly intoxicated or its your first time drinking or imbibing your specific drug).

In other words, when you do get wasted, your sober self should know what s/he's getting into. Frame it into the terminology of Harry Frankfurt's second-order desire. To want to drink is to want to feel elated or whatever buzz you get from your specific drug. Even the aspect of sponteneity can be desired from one's drug.

2. Not all drugs are the same. I think there are medically speaking, all kinds of drugs. If we are talking about inebriants/intoxicants/things that release happy brain hormones, we can widen our conception of drugs to include something that gives a similar feeling to that high.

I think it's dire to know that cigarettes are legal for example, they contain things like cadmium (which are components of batteries) or tar (which are components of most roads). Some drugs have their own cultural issues associated with it, but also use 'culture' as a defense of its masqueraded legal status. There is an extent to which being evidenced based should inform our views. For example, following the research David Nutt: how many recorded deaths are there due to alcohol compared to marijuana?
I grew up in an environment where there was a lot of drinking but very little alcohol appreciation. I hardly drink much alcohol these days myself and the times that I choose to get drunk are few.

I choose not to drink too much these days, part of this is willpower, another part is health related (trying to work on looking like a 1980s action figure). I also feel that sobriety is very important. Sobriety is not just the absence of being drunk as many people seem to use the term, but facing clearly all the things in your life without overblowing how good it is, or underplaying how bad it is.

Sobriety is hard and even if there is a chance to let go of it for a little while from time to time, I quite enjoy carrying my burdens and troubles even in good sociable times so that I take them seriously. I am trying hard to purposely be boring :)

Always a pleasure to read something topical.

With Regards

Hi Michael,

Great to hear from you as always, and some interesting points of commentary here. I like the (implicit) idea that getting wasted involves a kind of contract with yourself, as sober-you takes responsibility for the plausible actions of wasted-you.

For me, when I think of people who exclude recreational drugs because of the consequences it makes me think: well working flat out and taking no time to relax raises your stress levels, makes you more likely to have an accident while driving, less likely to be happy, and thus less likely to positively contribute to your community. There is, I think, a (weak) argument against abstinence - although really, this is an argument for positive "mental health" however it is to be attained.

Best of luck becoming an 80s action figure! :)

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