On Virtue Ethics by Rosalind Hursthouse -- Chapter 09 Naturalism

A summary of Chapter 09 Naturalism. This chapter is about the 2nd Plato’s requirements of virtue in the last chapter – The virtues make their possessor a good human being. Virtue ethics is a type of ethical naturalism, i.e., basing ethics on considerations of human nature, or on what is involved in being a good human. The objective of such an approach is that an account of human nature may be too broad for making moral judgement, or too strong to the extend that it is just a restatement of our ethics....

July 18, 2021 · Xing Shi Cai

Lessons from Strangers Drowning by Larissa MacFarquhar

Strangers Drowning : Impossible Idealism, Drastic Choices, and the Urge to Help by Larissa MacFarquhar is a deeply inspiring and thought-provoking book. It is mostly a collection of profiles for do-gooders who go to extreme length to help strangers. To various extent, they all have chosen to save “drowning strangers” instead of their own family, which may be unsettling for many people. Thus the book also discusses attacks mounted against do-gooders throughout history....

July 9, 2021 · Xing Shi Cai

The Citizen's Guide to Climate Success by Mark Jaccard

This is a very informative and inspiring book on addressing climate change. It is written by Canadian economist Mark Jaccard, who has advised many regional and national governments on energy policies. The book is freely available online. When people who care enough about humanity look into climate change, it is easy to feel despair. Popular books sounding alarms on climate emergency such as The Uninhabitable Earth and Our Final Warning tell us an apocalyptic future will come soon if there is no dramatic green house gases (GHG) emissions in the next ten years....

July 2, 2021 · Xing Shi Cai

Five Books of Peter Singer which Changed My Life

\toc Peter Singer is an Australian moral philosopher, currently a professor at Princeton University. He has written 17 books by himself, several of which I read since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is not an exaggeration to say that some of these books have changed my life for better. How Are We to Live? I am a mathematician, and a large part of my job is to write and publish research papers on mathematics....

May 2, 2021 · Xing Shi Cai

The Remains of the Day (1989)

(Spoiler Alert. Don’t read this if you have not read the book.) Last week, I finished a 1989 novel The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, which I found both captivating and thoughtful. A film adaption, staring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson, is also worth watching. The protagonist Stevens is a butler (a servant who manges a big house). From 1930s to 1950s, he works in a mansion in England, serving Lord Darlington, an influential British politician during the 30s....

April 20, 2021 · Xing Shi Cai

Flowers for Algernon (1966)

Flowers for Algernon is a classic science-fiction novel by Daniel Keyes published in 1966. I finished reading it last week and was greatly impressed. The story is touching and the characters are likable. But most importantly, many issues raised by the book, such as how we should treat people with mental problems, are still quite important after more than half a century. The main character, Charlie Gordon, is 32 years old with an IQ of only 68....

April 13, 2021 · Xing Shi Cai