Hi there, and welcome to what is destined to become your new favourite blog. Unless, of course, you're not very cool. In which case, you probably won't like it very much.

My name is Lance.

I'm a Philosophy major using a philosopher's toolbox to investigate philosophy (that's so meta), politics, literature, nutrition & fitness, education, psychology, sociology, history, science, religion, technology, the general human condition, and more.

Activities that I enjoy include making bad jokes, playing chess, go, & other strategy games, solving puzzles, cooking, eating food drenched in hot sauce, exercising, reading, writing, socializing, taking long walks, and generally striving towards self-improvement and living a fulfilling, virtuous, happy life.

A thoughtful counter-argument is always more appealing to me than unthinking agreement.


Anonymous asked
I'm not an expert on mental disorders and psychotherapy, but in response to your post on trigger warnings, I thought I should mention that what I've heard about exposure therapy is that the patient must be ready and willing to expose themself to the trigger in order for the exposure to have its therapeutic effect, and that an unanticipated and involuntary exposure can aggravate the trauma and/or phobia rather than alleviate it. Do you know if this is true? And if it is, what is your response?

That’s probably true. If someone is unwilling to fight against their disorder, being exposed to a trigger will not help. However, I view it as primarily their responsibility to be fighting against the disorder rather than everybody else’s responsibility to cater to their illness.

Additionally, it’s probably worth noting that what I was talking about wasn’t quite the same thing as exposure therapy. It’s more to do with the attitudes that one takes. When one purposefully avoids what triggers them, they only make the disorder worse by perpetuating a mindset of helplessness.

Anonymous asked
I think your argument can show morality is relative. If theres a limitation of choice then you cant say a choice is immoral. Incest is immoral today but if you married a cousin in an era where there werent many people,it wouldnt be considered immoral

Marrying a cousin is a social taboo today. There’s a difference between something being social taboo and something being immoral.

Your argument shows that descriptive morality and how we think about moral issues changes between times and cultures, and I agree with that, but it doesn’t show that there are no answers to what we actually ought to be doing.

Also, I don’t see why there’s no possibility for choices to be moral in some circumstances and immoral in others. For example, most consider it wrong to kill under most circumstances but think it can be justified if the killer did so in self-defense.

But yes, if you don’t have a choice in something, it can’t be immoral. But, of course, the problem with the example of incest is that it’s still a choice. If incest is wrong regardless of circumstances and the only partners available are relatives, then I can still choose to not marry or reproduce.

Anonymous asked
I don't understand. If having a free choice isn't what makes something moral, then why is having a free choice important?

Something being a free choice is necessary but not sufficient for it being moral. Actions cannot be good or bad if there is no choice involved; normative ethics is a discipline which seeks to tell us which sorts of choices are good, which are bad, and which are neutral. If you don’t have a choice in something, ethics doesn’t apply and so the word “moral” becomes meaningless.


So yesterday Game Grumps put up a suicide trigger warning for an episode and of course the comments section is filled with people complaining about how people should just “man up” and not be so easily offended.

I don’t have a problem with people using trigger warnings, so I view the complains as probably a waste of time, but I do have a problem with complaining when people don’t use them. Both attitudes seem widespread, though in different communities.

It’s not a content producer’s responsibility to make sure nobody is triggered by their content; ultimately, your mental health is your responsibility and nobody else has to do anything to help you remain in your safe place. On the other hand, if someone feels the need to try to minimize triggers and posts warnings, it’s fine and good, and I see absolutely no reason to complain so long as it’s not done redundantly.

Now, do I use trigger warnings? No. For two reasons: 1) as stated above, it’s not my responsibility to protect anybody from things that upset them and 2) I disagree with the effectiveness of avoiding triggers for managing PTSD and other disorders. I think we find good reason to think so in Clark and Beck’s Cognitive Therapy of Anxiety Disorders: Science and Practice:

Deliberate attempts to manage the unwanted reexperiencing symptoms and hyperarousal of PTSD significantly contribute to the persistence of the disorder. Threat misinterpretations of trauma-related intrusions, ineffective thought control efforts, emotional and behavioral avoidance, and reliance on safety-seeking responses each contribute to the persistence of a negative emotional state and the disorder itself. Modification or replacement of these maladaptive response strategies is an important component of cognitive therapy for PTSD (516).

If I thought that trigger warnings helped people, I might consider using them. But, rather, I think they tend to contribute to people’s disorders.

Anonymous asked
What was your post about choice in response to?

I just happen to see an unusual amount of that repugnant logic this morning. It was used to justify getting meaningless tattoos, smoking cigarettes and marijuana, eating poorly, and choosing to sit at home and do nothing for days on end.

This is essentially why libertarian ethics fails. It bases everything on free choice. Free choice is definitely important for understanding ethics; as if there was no free choice, there would be no need for ethics. But to say that all free choice is somehow inherently good misses the point. We need to distinguish good from evil, virtue from vice. Justifying pointless vice for the sake of choice, whether it’s drug use, laziness, poor nutrition, or meaningless self-indulgence in the form of tattoos is revolting.

"It’s my body, I can do x if I want!"

Yes, you can. You have the primary ability to make choices regarding your body. Others sometimes try to exercise control over you, but to do so through a legislative body doesn’t come anywhere near the amount of control you have by inhabiting it.

That being said, just because you can do something if you want to doesn’t mean that you should do it. You could do all sorts of nonsensical things with your body. You could go on an all-gravel diet. You could break your own limbs. You could put Legos up your nose. Just because you have the ability to make a choice doesn’t mean that choice is justified.

Stop using the “it’s my choice” line to justify your stupid and/or immoral choices.

Is Social Mobility a Myth?




when my friend told her drug dealer that she was transgender he immediately started using the correct pronouns for her and her parents dont so theres an issue there

Her drug dealer has a vested interest in her being willing to buy from him. Her parents have no such vested interest (let’s face it, your kids being mad at you stops being a big deal after a while); it comes down almost entirely to whether they take the transgender concept seriously and can sympathize with her.

Now, on the other hand, her parents seem to have less of a role in enabling her drug habit. So, what’s more immoral here, playing an active role in enabling a drug habit or refusing to acknowledge someone’s chosen identity?

I think we need more information, but from what’s given, enabling the drug habit and profiting from doing so seems to be the greater evil.

idk how to say this nicely, but you’re trying way too hard to miss the point here.

In fact, in missing the point you highlighted the point, which is that some guy wanting to sell shit was more willing to at least superficially respect someone’s gender while her own parents wouldn’t.

You would be committing an irrelevant conclusion fallacy here if you’d actually supported any of the assumptions you made to get to your conclusion (viz. enabling a drug habit is bad [you don’t even know the type of drug, so you don’t know the health risks, so it’s not even clear on what basis you are saying it’s bad], her parents not respecting her identity is unrelated to her drug habit [which can’t be proven either way], enabling a drug habit is worse than refusing to respect someone’s identity). There is no case of “what’s more immoral here”; the morality of enabling a drug habit has nothing to do with the morality of not respecting someone’s identity (i.e. her parents refusing to respect her gender does not do anything to lessen her drug habit), so even if your conclusion was valid, all you’ve done is suggest that the more immoral person is at least respecting her identity, which says nothing about the morality of either case.

If you want to play devil’s advocate, please at least focus on points that are actually relevant to what’s being discussed.

The original post makes a few claims: 1) that a girl is trangender, 2) that her drug dealer is willing to call her by her proper pronouns, and 3) that her parents aren’t. It uses these claims in order to conclude that “there’s an issue there.”

Maybe I was reading too much into it; I was thinking this was the poster’s way of saying this is evidence that the drug dealer cares about the girl’s well being more than her parents do. That’s a conclusion that I think is absurd; someone trying to tell you something is probably going to be more respectful of your personal choices than someone whose job it is to raise you. One is trying to sell you something, and being personable and appealing to the wants of your customers helps accomplish this end; a parent is trying to raise her, establishing a variety of boundaries, rules, and limitations in an attempt to guide her development towards what they view as appropriate ends (obviously, these ends do not include being transgender). A drug dealer, when acting towards their professions end, will try to get a customer to like them; a parent, on the other hand, when acting towards their proper end, is duty-bound to set boundaries, rules, and limitations that will be undesirable to their child.

Maybe setting those particular boundaries is a mistake; but even if that’s the case, the parents, assuming that they aren’t purposefully negligent and harmful and are trying to raise her well (not all parents are, so maybe I shouldn’t be assuming this), they’re trying to commit good acts; they have their daughter’s best wishes in mind. A drug dealer might be a friend, but he wasn’t described as such. Would we say that a car-dealer has your best wishes in mind when they use rhetoric to try to convince you to buy a car? Probably not. The same can be said of a drug dealer, who accomplishes nothing by saying “but you’re a boy” and increases his likelihood of a sale by agreeing to her pronouns, only the drug dealer is trying to sell something that’s almost certainly being used as a vice rather than a device for transportation.

I’m trying to understand what point I’ve missed. It seems like the original post was suggesting that a drug dealer does her better than her parents, but this doesn’t seem to be true when we look at what seems to be the most likely underlying motivation of both parties.