Sunday, 21 February 2016

philosophycave



For video clips of philosophical perplexities:

www.philosophycave.com 


mind you, 
        the clownish face and bow tie 
                 may generate an initial shock...

A Long Shot

The Dilemma - well, a pithy letter 

For those of us eager for social justice and an end to the appalling inequalities in society, the EU referendum poses a genuine dilemma. 

Were future UK governments to be by Corbyn or similar, we should surely leave the EU for we are then less likely to be so dominated by capitalist imperatives and undemocratic commissions. 

Were future UK governments to be by Cameron and his ilk, then surely we need to stay within the EU as at least it offers us some protection from the Tory obsession with privatisation and the dilution of social welfare and human rights. 

I suppose an optimist might argue that if the vote is to leave the EU, the Cameron government falls, the Tory party splits, and Corbyn comes to power – thus giving us what we want. True, that is a long shot. 



Letter in The Guardian, 2nd February 2016

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Taxing tax?

Global corporations that make profits in Britain, yet pay negligible tax typically argue that they are acting within the law.  No doubt that is true - well, often so. 

Think of personal cases, though.  Acting within the law does not let you off the hook when being greedy, disloyal or passing by on the other side.

And so it is that contrary to the corporation defenders, compliance with corporate tax law does not thereby let the corporations off the hook regarding their derisory tax payments.  

After all, if your friends contrive to avoid you, when owing you money, you'll not think much of them; and when these corporations, while reaping the benefits of a UK location, arrange their affairs to avoid tax, well, what does that tell us of the ethos of those companies?

True, one may argue that corporations are not persons and not liable to moral evaluation; but in fact corporations seek praise when they announce how they treat customers fairly or have given so much to charity or look after employees well - so, if those moral evaluations are acceptable, then also the condemnation regarding their tax avoidance ploys. 


Friday, 1 January 2016

Cameron, Christmas and the New Year


1. Well, we know that David Cameron has form - when, for example:

he forgets which football team he 'avidly' supports;

and, quoting Corbyn out of context, disgracefully accuses Jeremy Corbyn of being a hater of Britain and someone who sees Bin Laden's death as a tragedy in contrast to the victims' deaths.

2. His latest gems have come from his Christmas and New Year messages.

(a) In his Christmas message, Britain, proclaims David Cameron, manifests Christian values of 'peace, mercy, goodwill and, above all, hope'. That sounds splendid, save for two mistakes.

First, Jesus was not consistently peace-loving - according to reports, for example, those who did not want him as king should be killed (Luke, 19: 27) - and some sincere followers of Christianity have hardly consistently manifested peace, mercy etc., but have forced conversions and also threatened many non-believers with eternal damnation.  Of course, there are nuances and nuances.

Secondly, courtesy of Cameron's government, Britain's recent treatment of the poor neither manifests goodwill nor offers them much hope - as many will testify, suffering benefit cuts or disparagement at job centres and by the well-off as work shy.


(b) In his New Year message, Cameron condemns those who "shout into megaphones, wave banners and sign petitions".

So, were he to be consistent, he would be condemning, for example, the suffragettes, the various anti-apartheid and anti-racist marches - and, indeed, his friends who marched in favour of fox hunting.

He seems to forget that there is more to democracy than a dubious 'first past the post' electoral system that delivers government to those who received the support of only around 25% of those registered to vote and  a much lower percentage of the total of those registered to vote combined with those who were eligible to register but did not do so.

3.  We could add to the list the delivery of the knighthood to Lynton Crosby for his 'political service' which, I heard, was described as his 'contribution to democracy'.  Now, did 'democracy' really benefit from that service and contribution?

Sigh, sigh, sigh

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Humpty Dumpty advises Ms Turkey


For the advice to Ms Turkey, please right click on and 'open link in new tab':
Humpty_Dumpty advises Ms Turkey

Yet what does Humpty Dumpty mean?

For more, please right click on and 'open link in new tab':

The_Big_Think_Book: Discover Philosophy through 99 Perplexing Puzzles

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Ice cream preferences: how context matters


What flavours do you have?’ asks Lucinda, contemplating the homemade ice creams.  ‘Chocolate, cherry and coffee,’ comes the reply.
Lucinda ponders for a moment or two, not exactly happy with a choice so limited. ‘I’ll have the coffee,’ she decides.
The waiter takes her order, but as he turns to walk away, he remembers, ‘Ah, we also have plum, peach and passion-fruit.’ ‘Splendid!’ says Lucinda. ‘I’ll go for the cherry.’

?

We all have preferences, often different preferences – and what we prefer depends on context, on the options available. Now, the Lucinda story generates a smile of bafflement: how can knowledge of the plum, peach and passion-fruit options lead her preference to switch from coffee to cherry, given that she rejected the cherry earlier on? That seems paradoxical. 

It does seem paradoxical; but we can tell a tale and the paradox vanishes. We hypothesize that Lucinda was initially unhappy with going for cherry, but only because it appeared to be the sole fruit flavour available.  ‘Maybe the ice cream maker lacks expertise in flavouring by fruit,’ she pondered.
On learning the availability of other fruits, Lucinda gained confidence in the maker’s fruity abilities. With such confidence, she could go for her top preference, namely, the cherry – but only when other fruits are available. Her preference for coffee gains top place, when only one fruit is available. Context affects her preference between coffee and cherry.
With that background point to the fore, let us see if it helps with some preference paradoxes and how we can ‘pump money’.


Extract from (right click): The Big Think Book

Saturday, 31 October 2015

One of the Ninety-Nine from THE BIG THINK BOOK

has a mini video and animation 

right click the purple and open link in new tab or new window, please:

Bales of Woe


Maybe when 'tis best not to reason - poor Ass...