Monday, May 21, 2012

Riding, Walking, and Immanuel Kant

My Owner had a date at home last weekend w/ a new boyfriend she’s acquired… so the Puppy was kicked out of the house for the weekend.  I could have gone to Atlanta to spend time w/ Sir and the pack… but they were planning to do this “Warrior Challenge” race through 3 miles of mud and obstacles… which sounds about as much fun to me as – well, as running through 3 miles of mud and obstacles.  No thanks.  So I opted to head to Tennessee instead to hang out w/ friends there.

As soon as I got off work Friday, I packed a bag and hit the road on two wheels.  I was a little worried about the weather b/c I had to cross under a thunderstorm while going over the mountains.  The FZ6 and I did get a bit drenched… but it only lasted only about 5-10 minutes.  Once I got on the other side of it and wound my way down, out of the wet mountains, then I soon found sunlight again, and my leathers dried off quickly.  The rest of ride into Tennessee was nice, and Ma’am had packed me some sandwiches for my trip, so I had a little picnic stop along the road.

Saturday, the weather was great!  I spent the day w/ “my bff,” Max.  We did a 10 mile hike along the Tennessee River.  I got a bit sunburned, but nothing too bad.  The only problematic aspect is that I had my collar locked on… and so I ended up w/ a sun-tan pattern in the shape of my collar and tag.  LOL.  Fortunately it’s not too noticeable… or else that could have drawn some unwanted questions at work.

We talked completely nonstop for the whole hike – mostly about science & technology.  Max is a mad scientist (and an official super-villain), so he updated me on on all of his own science projects… but he’s also obsessively plugged-in to the latest science and engineering news from all over the world.

After a quick shower, it was off to spend the evening with more friends at their regular philosophy salon.  I have a degree in philosophy (among other things), so this sort of thing is right up my ally.  One of my friends also has a strong interest in philosophy, so about a year ago, she started this “salon” where the gang would gather at her place, she would cook, usually they would watch part of a philosophy lecture on Youtube, and then that would become the spring-board for conversation.  Saturday night, we watched about 20 minutes of a lecture on Kant’s moral theory and took from that our springboard: the question of whether there’s an ethical difference between a deliberately misleading but literally true statement (we called it “true-ception”) and an outright falsehood.  Kant’s categorical imperative states that it is always bad to lie (a questionable claim in-itself)… but Kant himself felt it was okay to mislead people as long as what you said was literally factual.  Kant’s ethics is painfully lawyer-like!  And Max had the perfect, concrete example, b/c a few years ago he was the star witness in a federal criminal trial… and he was placed in a situation where it would be pretty bad to tell the “whole truth,” but he also didn’t want to commit perjury… so he had to craft some of his answers as “true-ceptions.”  He said that while he didn’t exactly lie, he still feels morally ambivalent about what he did.

We had a variety of perspectives represented and that made for a lively discussion.  (For my own 2-cents: I don’t think there is any ethical distinction between a “true-ception” and an overt lie; if you intentionally deceive people by what you say, then you are lying -- period.  On the other hand, I also reject Kant’s categorical notion that lying is always bad.  If I’m hiding Jews in my attic and the Nazis come and ask, “Are you hiding Jews in your attic?” then of course I’m morally justified in lying to them!)

The weather was also perfect Sunday, so I took the scenic rout home through the mountains.  Not surprisingly, there were a lot of other bikes on the road… so I did a lot of barking on my ride home.  I tend to bark at motorcycles.  :)  *Ruf! Ruf!*

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