There’s a notion held by many intellectuals—or at least those who are educated beyond some minimum level—that one cannot derive any moral “ought” in life from any “is” about nature. This notion is attributed to David Hume, the famous and by all accounts extremely intelligent 18th century philosopher, though I haven’t read the original source material (and if I’m doing his ideas a disservice, I apologize profusely to his memory). In general, the “Humeans” seem to accept the apparently dogmatic notion that the realm of morals and ethics is divorced from the realm of our understanding of the natural world, and that nothing that we could learn about the objective facts of reality could ever give us the answers to what we ought to do—ethically, morally—in our lives.
I don’t understand how so many otherwise intelligent people, Hume among them, could ever have accepted such a patently idiotic idea. Continue reading
I thought I’d give you all a brief update on my latest story. Then I chose to act on that thought, and so here it is: I am almost through with the editing of my new short story, “I For One Welcome Our New Computer Overlords.” I call it a short story only because it’s really too short to be a novella, but it isn’t very short, just so you know. I expect to publish it here early next week, so for those of you who are interested in reading it, keep your eyes open for the announcement. I’ll be posting about it on Facebook and Twitter, so those of you who follow me on those social media outlets should know shortly after it’s released.
On an utterly unrelated note: Yesterday I was at the park behind my office during lunch (I don’t eat lunch there…I don’t usually eat lunch at all, come to think of it), and I saw a shape break the surface of the water. It was too big to be a fish, and I thought perhaps it was an errant sea turtle that had found its way into the intercoastal waterway. I watched for it to appear again, and soon it did. I saw a snout and a pair of big, round eyes pop up briefly, and I recognized what I had seen; it was a young manatee, roaming about in water that would have been too shallow for one of its fully-grown co-speciesists ( that’s a neologism I just invented). I don’t know why it was there alone, but it seemed to be in good health, and was wandering though the sort of lagoon by the docks, presumably eating at the plants that grow near and into the water. The park is almost a mangrove swamp in that area.
There was no sign of the manatee today, more’s the pity, but I did feed a few puffer fish, which is always kind of fun. They’re surprisingly aggressive. The young barracuda that I see never give the puffers any cheek.
Well, that’s about all for now. I’m waiting for the train to carry me homeward for the evening, and won’t be doing very much exciting other than some further editing on my story. I wish you all the best!