How does the rule of law promote a free society?

In classical liberal philosophy, individual pursuit of happiness is made possible by a framework of law.

  • The rule of law as a principle has a philosophical history before it was popularized by classical liberalism, which can be traced back to Greek philosopher Aristotle.
  • The classical liberal conception of laws draws upon this pre-history but differs slightly. Yes, the end goal is the common good, however "goodness" varies by individual.
  • In this way of thinking, instead of telling us what will make us happy, law serves as the framework that allows us to pursue our own unique happiness.
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How does toleration fit into a pluralistic society?

A truly diverse society exudes open-mindedness, not just reluctant acceptance of differing viewpoints.

  • While pluralism is considered a condition, toleration is the response to it. To recognize and accept a diverse range of perspectives on ethical views is to exhibit tolerance.
  • Singapore Management University professor Chandran Kukathas points to toleration as a cornerstone of the classical liberal tradition. In fact, liberal thought arises from the reality that people disagree substantially on any number of things.
  • The principle of toleration offers guidance in understanding what makes a good society, as well as how that society upholds conditions of pluralism and diversity.
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Law vs. justice: What is our duty in society?

Laws can't stand by themselves. Professor James Stoner explains why.

  • Can you divorce the rule of law from the virtue of justice? Immanuel Kant said the perfect constitution would work even among a nation of devils, provided they were intelligent devils.
  • Professor James Stoner thinks the opposite is true. The right punishments don't lead people to behave well, we are also guided to make morally good decisions by our conscience—by our internal sense of justice.
  • The ability of all people to pursue their own good is itself a kind of common good of a liberal society.
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Here's how good liars get away with it

Those who think they're better at lying than average seem to have a few things in common.

Leemage/Corbis via Getty Images

Being able to get away with a few white lies can be a useful skill. Giving your boss a plausible explanation as to why you're late to work, for example, can be fairly handy — why do they have to know you just pressed snooze a few too many times?

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How will AI shape the future of storytelling?

Can technology act as a feedback loop for human emotions?

  • Technology will change the way that humans tell and experience stories in the future.
  • Palmer presents an idea for AI film that watches the viewer and changes the narrative based on their emotional responses to chaotic events.
  • By acting as a feedback loop, the AI will make storytellers aware of their implicit bias and become conscious of subconscious behaviors.
  • Palmer's latest interactive installation, Perception IO., is on view at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City.
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