All The Moral Sciences Club Articles

Clear-headed applications of moral and political theory to current affairs.

  • Facebook and False Consciousness

    The idea that social classes are intentional constructions built and reinforced for strategic purposes is appealing because no other idea of social class makes much sense to me. 

  • The Metaphysics of Taxation

    A couple weeks back, I wrote a post for the Economist trying to get my head around the circumstances in which tax deductions and credits, and tax cuts generally, do and don't count as government spending....

  • Social Justice without Nationalism

    I started a version of this post a couple weeks ago, but since then the dispute between libertarians about the place of "social justice" in their philosophy has become white-hot, and I might as well jump in. The...

  • Fiction Isn't Good for You

    Jonathan Gottschall says stories are good for us. I’ll soon apply myself full-time to story-writing, so you might suppose I’d find this an encouraging thought, but I don’t. It’s an annoying thought. And...

  • Why Re-unionization Won't Happen

    Matt Yglesias and Timothy Noah are having an interesting dialogue about Noah's new book about income inequality, The Great Divergence. (As are Brink Lindsey and Mark Schmitt at Washington Monthly.) Noah thinks the...

  • Invest in Memorable Social Experience

    Garrett Jones, guest-blogging for Megan McArdle, classifies memorable experience as a "consumer durable," since the satisfaction lasts and lasts. Jones writes: People often shrink from driving to a distant,...

  • John Gray on Jonathan Haidt's "The Righteous Mind"

    John Gray's review of Jonathan Haidt's The Righteous Mind is fun because Gray is vehemently opposed to almost everything, but he clearly thinks this is a pretty good book anyway. Gray actually seems slightly...

  • The Loneliness Myth

    Is Facebook making us lonely? No! Sometimes there are actually clear answers to rhetorical headline questions. Claude Fischer, a professor of sociology at Berkeley, gets empirical in the Boston Review. First,...

  • Michael Sandel on Commercialization and Commonality

    Michael Sandel, the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government at Harvard, writes: As naming rights and municipal marketing appropriate the common world, they diminish its public character. Beyond...

  • Should Warren Buffett Voluntarily Pay More in Taxes?

    My friend Matt Zwolinski, a professor of philosophy at University of San Diego, wonders why folks who think taxes ought to be higher, like Warren Buffett, don't just go ahead and pay more in taxes. He writes: ...

  • Two Happiness Tips Discussed

    Both links/excerpts come from Eric Barker at the reliably stimulating Barking up the Wrong Tree. First, strong relationships. Via The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That...

  • States, Markets, and Basic Liberties

    Ned Resnikoff picks up on my old post, via a terrific recent one by Daniel Little, on the radicalism of John Rawls' position on economic liberty: If we’ve to fairly evaluated Rawls’ decision to include all...

  • Political Labels, Political Identity, and Bias

    People tend to see their ideological affiliation as constitutive of their identity in a way their opinion about, say, the ontology of mental illness isn't. 

  • Politics vs. Empathy

    Politics makes us stupid. This is one of my recurring themes. This is the principal reason I refuse to be a partisan or ideological team player. People call me libertarian but I don't in part because I'm not one,...

  • Truth and Fiction in Mad Men

    I agree in a broad sense that Weiner owes it to both his audience and his art to be true to what he discovers about the history of the era he's chosen to depict.

  • The Conservatism of Fatigue

    Tom Jacobs of Miller-McCune reports on a study from Scott Eidelman, et al, finding that "Low-Effort Thought Promotes Political Conservatism." Here's Jacobs' summary: A research team led by University of...

  • We Need Judicial Activism

    Now that SCOTUS deliberation over the constitutionality of portions of Obamacare is going much worse than most liberals predicted, left-leaning pundits are screaming "judicial activism!" which is cute, though I...

  • Marilynne Robinson on Science, Religion, and the Truth of Human Dignity

    On Sunday, Andrew Sullivan offered a passage from Marilynne Robinson's new book, When I Was A Child I Read Books, as excerpted in Guernica: Jefferson says that we are endowed with “certain” rights, and that...

  • More on the Fight over the Cato Institute

    I just can't help myself. It's remarkable how little I care about the outcome of the Koch-Cato standoff. Yet, having spent about half my professional life in politics at heavily Koch-influenced institutions, ...

  • Cato and the Kochs

    I used to work at Cato, so lot of people have asked me about the ongoing battle for control of the institute. Here's what I think. What I think is that so far the rhetoric around the controversy illustrates Tyler...