Archive for octombrie 2008

Half of Cambridge students admit cheating

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Whaaaaaat? Half of Cambridge students admit that they practice plagiarism????!!!! 64 % of the Law School students already did that?!!!!! Herr Rambu must be happy now… Read the article in The Daily Telegraph, here.

Written by Andrei Stavilă

octombrie 31, 2008 at 11:31 pm

Truth or Justice?

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William Faulkner famously said: “In my time I have seen truth that was anything under the sun but just, and I have seen justice using tools and instruments I wouldn’t want to touch with a ten-foot fence rail”.

So truth and justice do not overlap. This is no news for me, anyway. What is true is not necessarily just, and what is just is not necessarily true. Possible examples: it is true that children can grow up in a single-parent family – but it is (probably) not just. Again, the fact that the state should equally further the interests of all citizens pertains to justice – but it is (probably) not true that the state should accommodate the teaching of (for example) voodoo in public shools.

But if YOU would have to choose between justice and truth – what would YOU choose (suppose that there is no other option – the middle is excluded)? [Note that claiming that a value is prior to another does not imply that we cannot make a case-by-case decision] Please take one seccond of your pretious time and vote in my pool (below). Thanks!

[Note: WordPress has a problem with PollDaddy polls , so you cannot vote at the moment. But you are free to leave here a comment!]

Written by Andrei Stavilă

octombrie 31, 2008 at 12:19 pm

Publicat în Gânduri

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Hungary, between the economic crisis and bankruptcy

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For English readers, here. For Romanian readers (a better account of how the crisis affects ordinary people, and how Romanians and Serbians take advantage of the Hungarian crisis), here. And a political-economical analysis here. And Csaba Astalosz’s analysis here.

Written by Andrei Stavilă

octombrie 30, 2008 at 10:10 pm

The Amazing State of Nature

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That’s right: in the hobbesian „state of nature” (1) even the week can destroy the strong. Nobody is safe. That’s why (2) we have to sign the contract and act together as a „body politic”. In this civil society, (3) the free rider does not always win something (watch the crocodiles!). And (4) the deceitful Kings are almost killed by the mob… The following movie extraordinary illustrates these four contractarian ideas. Here’s the real thing, although the actors are animals. The movie is 8 minutes long – but be patient and wait for the end, it’s marvelleous!

Written by Andrei Stavilă

octombrie 30, 2008 at 8:10 am

George Klosko and the Murphy’s Law

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One of Murphy’s laws says that if something good happens to you, you shouldn’t worry: it will pass soon.

This happened today with professor George Klosko’s class, “Origins of the Social Contract” (Central European University). But this was not only a class. It was a real Lesson, given by a magnificent Professor (and a wonderful Person!). And I enjoyed every moment of it.

Seven weeks were not enough. Not for me. But hey, I’m a Romanian, right? I am supposed to be used to see “the little light at the other end of the tunnel” – and then to lose it. I’m getting too emotional, so I would better stop here.


From left to right: Elena (Political Science, PhD – Russia), Manuel (International Relations, PhD – Romania), me, professor George Klosko (Department of Politics, University of Virginia, USA), Orsi (Philosophy, PhD – Hungary), Urska (Philosophy, Phd – Slovenia) and Dorota (Political Science, PhD – Poland). Two other colleagues of us were not here: Rastislav (Philosophy, PhD – Serbia) and Hakan (Philosophy, PhD – Turkey)

Written by Andrei Stavilă

octombrie 29, 2008 at 9:28 pm

Rousseau and Bentham on animal rights

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„By this means, an end can also be made to the ancient disputes regarding the participation of animals in the natural law. For it is clear that, lacking intelligence and liberty, they cannot recognize this law; but since they share to some extent in our nature by virtue of the sentient quality with which they are endowed, one will judge that they should also participate in natural right, and that man is subject to sme sort of duties toward them. It seems, in effect, that if I am obliged not to do any harm to my fellow man, it is less because he is a rational being than because he is a sentient being: a quality that, since it is common to both animals and men, sjhould at least give the former the right not to be needlessy mistreated by the latter” [Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), Discourse on the Origin of Inequality]

„Other animals, which, on account of their interests having been neglected by the insensibility of the ancient jurists, stand degraded into the class of things. … The day has been, I grieve it to say in many places it is not yet past, in which the greater part of the species, under the denomination of slaves, have been treated … upon the same footing as … animals are still. The day may come, when the rest of the animal creation may acquire those rights which never could have been withholden from them but by the hand of tyranny. The French have already discovered that the blackness of skin is no reason why a human being should be abandoned without redress to the caprice of a tormentor. It may come one day to be recognized, that the number of legs, the villosity of the skin, or the termination of the os sacrum, are reasons equally insufficient for abandoning a sensitive being to the same fate. What else is it that should trace the insuperable line? Is it the faculty of reason, or perhaps, the faculty for discourse?…the question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer? Why should the law refuse its protection to any sensitive being?… The time will come when humanity will extend its mantle over everything which breathes…” [Jeremy Bentham (1748 – 1832), Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation]

Unchiului necunoscut

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Draga unchiule din State, m-a palit si pe mine boala visului ameri-ciinesc cu McFish-uri in coada. Stiu ca te tii bine si iti urez o viata fericita, dar nu uita, rogu-te, de bietul tau nepot. La 90 de ani, unchiule, omul inca mai invata multe. Invata deci si matale, slavita fie-ti amintirea si miluit gindul, din faptele demne de slava ale altora. Hai, nu fii bulangiu. De exemplu, uite ce a facut unul din generatia dumitale…

Written by Andrei Stavilă

octombrie 24, 2008 at 10:29 pm