Morals

How the moral lessons of To Kill a Mockingbird endure today

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Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird is one of the classics of American literature. Never out of print, the novel has sold over 40 million copies since it was first published in 1960. Anne Maxwell The Conversation It has been a staple of high school syllabuses, including in Australia, for several decades, and is often deemed the archetypal race and coming-of-age novel. For many of us, it is a formative read of our youth. The story is set in the ... Read More »

How we use good deeds to justify immoral behaviour

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We all like to think of ourselves as morally sound individuals. However in doing so we often assume that morality is static – that we are consistently moral to some extent over time. Nishat Babu The Conversation In reality, research suggests that most of us will behave in contradictory ways and act both morally and immorally from time to time. Interestingly, when we think about our past moral actions, we are likely to engage engage in compensatory behaviour and act ... Read More »

Argentina retains strict abortion laws by rejecting elective procedures

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Argentina’s decision to retain its stringent abortion laws has left Latin America and the Caribbean with some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world. ABC Argentine senators this week narrowly rejected a bill to legalise abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, overcoming support for a surging abortion rights movement in the homeland of Pope Francis. The Senate’s 38-31 vote against the proposed legislation could echo across Latin America, where anti-abortion forces remains strong even if the ... Read More »

What philosophers have to say about eating meat

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WeWork, a co-working and office space company, recently made a company policy not to serve or reimburse meals that include meat. Joan McGregor The Conversation WeWork’s co-founder and chief culture officer, Miguel McKelvey, said in an email that it was the company’s attempt at reducing its carbon footprint. His moral arguments are based on the devastating environmental effects of meat consumption. Research has shown that meat and dairy production are among the worst culprits when it comes to the production ... Read More »

What makes a good friend?

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Good friendships seem worth celebrating. But for many of us, tensions can appear from time to time between being a good friend and doing “the right thing.” Alexis Elder The Conversation When faced with, for example, a situation where it’s tempting to lie to cover for a friend, it can seem as though friendship and morality are on a collision course. I am an ethicist who works on issues involving friendship, so this tension is of great interest to me. ... Read More »

Slow down, get real.

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In trying to understand the threat of fake news, a strange thing is occurring. We seem to have accepted without challenge the purity of that which is threatened. This is an edited version of a speech delivered at the annual conference of the Society of Risk Analysis Europe held at Mid Sweden University earlier this month. Nicholas Karides * How well did the media system work before this fakeness appeared? How real has real news been? The historian Noah Yoval ... Read More »

How a moral philosopher justifies his carbon footprint

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I recently flew to Florida to visit family. My round-trip economy seat emitted roughly two tonnes of carbon dioxide, according to one carbon offsetting website. Luke Elson The Conversation By contrast, the average person in Britain is responsible for roughly seven tonnes for the entire year, already quite high by global standards. This makes me a climate change villain. Dumping such huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere seems clearly morally wrong, because of the harm this will cause others. ... Read More »

Forcing priests to report abuse not a breach of human rights: Watchirs

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New laws that will force priests to break the seal of confession to report child abuse are not in breach of the ACT’s human right laws, despite concerns about the impact on religious freedoms, the ACT’s Human Rights Commissioner says. Katie Burgess The Canberra Times Under the territory’s expanded reportable conduct scheme, priests in Canberra will be required to report allegations, offences or convictions related to children to the ACT Ombudsman within 30 days from March… But the Australian Catholics Bishops ... Read More »

It’s impossible to lead a totally ethical life—but it’s fun to try

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You want to do the right thing. But in a world where it often seems impossible to eat, shop, drive, travel, or pretty much do anything without causing some measure of harm to others and the planet, leading an… Ephrat Livni Quartz It’s true that practically everything we do in life has ethical repercussions. “Any decision that has an impact on others now or in the future is an ethical choice,” explains ethicist Christopher Gilbert, author of the new book ... Read More »

Ousted Pakistani PM Sharif sentenced to 10 years in prison

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Islamabad: A Pakistani court on Friday sentenced ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif to 10 years in prison for corrupt practices linked to his family’s purchase of upscale London flats, in a major blow to his party ahead of general elections on July 25. Saad Sayeed The Age Reuters The guilty verdict in absentia against Sharif, 68, threatens to end the career of one of Pakistan’s most high-profile politicians of the past four decades, a political survivor who was prime minister three ... Read More »

Clothing Brands Need to Step Up and Keep Women Safe in Their Factories

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In a recent survey of experts, countries were ranked according to how safe they are for women. India came out as the most dangerous, followed by Afghanistan and Syria. Aruna Kashyap HRW Leaving aside the survey’s obvious challenges – including its attempt to use six measures to compare 10 very different countries – it paints a dire picture for women’s safety in the world. One area in which women everywhere face discrimination, inequality, harassment or violence in their everyday lives ... Read More »

Fintan O’Toole: Trial runs for fascism are in full bloe

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Babies in cages were no ‘mistake’ by Trump but test-marketing for barbarism To grasp what is going on in the world right now, we need to reflect on two things. Fintan O’Toole The Irish Times One is that we are in a phase of trial runs. The other is that what is being trialled is fascism – a word that should be used carefully but not shirked when it is so clearly on the horizon. Forget “post-fascist” – what we ... Read More »

Kamila Shamsie wins Women’s prize for fiction for ‘story of our times’

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Home Fire, which reworks Sophocles’ Antigone to tell the story of a British family caught up by Isis, takes £30,000 award Alison Flood The Guardian Kamila Shamsie’s Home Fire, which reworks Sophocles’ tragedy Antigone to tell the story of a British Muslim family’s connection to Islamic State, has won the Women’s prize for fiction, acclaimed by judges as “the story of our times”. The British Pakistani author’s seventh novel riffs on the ancient Greek play in which Antigone is forbidden ... Read More »

Have you got an end-of-life plan?

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Lawyers are encouraging us to think about how we want our lives to end as part of a campaign to record end-of-life wishes with a free online tool called Advance Care Directive. Melissa Coade LawyersWeekly While the topic of death and dying remain uncomfortable subjects for many, lawyers in South Australia are urging members of the community to think seriously about the end. These can include questions about whether a patient wishes to be resuscitated or placed on life support ... Read More »

Richard Glover: In need of some moral support

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I’ve just signed a contract for a new book and – for the first time – there’s a clause demanding that I be morally upstanding. Richard Glover The Canberra Times It notes that the “commercial value of the work” is intrinsically linked to the “standing in the community of the author” and, therefore, if I misbehave they have a right to seize back the modest advance and – presumably – burn all copies of the… This puts a lot of ... Read More »

Quit if you think a policy is immoral, and other advice from Peter Varghese

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What can a public servant do if they have a moral or ethical crisis about working on a current policy of the government? Put up with it or quit. Stephen Easton The Mandarin That is the stark reality, according to Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade secretary Peter Varghese — unrelated to his own decision to retire from the public service after 38 years to become chancellor of the University of Queensland. The open forum that followed Varghese’s extremely well received ... Read More »