Friday, December 03, 2004

Grab Bag


No specific comments today - regular Apprentice summary will be skipped, sorry for any fans.

Australia's foreign debt is really huge - there are any number of economic reasons why this could be bad, but might there be any ethical considerations of relevance, or any other philosophical concerns? Apart from the impact on our economy, are there any difficulties with the very concept of overseas lending, permitting imbalances in trade or the like? Foreign debt is borrowing from other countries, pure and simple. Presumably, people borrow from other countries when it is cheaper (or more possible) to do so. By what regulations is foreign borrowing covered? Why is another country lending us our own money anyway?

Diplomacy is a fascinating game, although occasionally damaging to friendships if anyone is of a particularly sensitive bent. In order to win, one must enter into a state of suspended disbelief, where loyalty is always seen in terms of eventual victory. In life, loyalty is often taken to be part of a higher set of goals, where the means can be more important than the end. Evolutionary philosophers believe that our morals come from sound game-theoretic principles, such as loyalty promoting the survival of the species, enlightened self interest etc. In a game like Diplomacy in which one plays for a known victory, loyalty is no less vital to eventual success, but ultimately is more a commodity than a rule to live by. Do some people play life in the way which I play Diplomacy? How many people are playing for the win, and how many focus instead on the rules?

Coming on Monday, possibly my next post as I will be away for the weekend, is the Philosophy Carnival. This traveling circus-troupe of an event is an online round-up of the most interesting posts over the past few weeks across the blogosphere. Submissions are invited from around the web, and bloggers submit what they feel to be their best work. Reading through these can be a good way to cut out the chaff, as well as keeping your finger on the pulse of modern philosophy. Tell all your friends!


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