Rationality and COVID-19

The world is pretty crazy right now. COVID-19 has caused the closure of countless businesses and slowed down in-person business for most others (though there is a glimmer of hope as small business and schools are looking at reopening in some respect). Many, many people are without a job or facing some kind of cutback. This isn’t just a US tragedy either; the economic impacts are being felt around the world.

So the question is, why? Why has the world essentially ground to a halt? People get sick all the time, right?
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A Personal Analysis of Modern Utilitarian Ethics

Recently, I wrote an essay (and a related discussion post) in support of a kind of Utilitarianism I find interesting, including contrasting it with other common ethical frameworks. The flavor of Utilitarian ethics I supported is largely based on my interpretation of The Moral Landscape by Sam Harris. Ethics has been the subject of intense study for thousands of years, so truly novel approaches to it are rare. For this reason, very little of what I’ve written about it is original. At best, I’ve shared how I have internalized and summarized the views of people much smarter and articulate than I am, then took that interpretation and compared it to my understanding of other ethical theories. While I provided my view on these other theories, I’m certain that I have not done them justice and I would love to hear more about where I am misunderstanding them. That said, this is the blending of an informal essay with an even less formal discussion post, both related to the course reading, but I hope it will still amount to an enjoyable read.

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