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Book review of Ethics as a Work of Charity

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• Is the world eternal? YES
• Do humans have contra-causal free will (i.e., can humans do otherwise)? NO
• Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? YES
• Do humans have souls? YES
• Are there natural rights? YES
• Is it morally permissible to eat meat? NO
• Is the unexamined life worth living? NO
• Is truth subjectivity? YES
• Is virtue necessary for happiness? YES
• Can a computer have a mind? YES
• Can humans know reality as it is in itself? YES
• Is hell other people? YES
• Can art be created accidentally? NO
• Can we change the past? NO
• Are numbers real? NO
• Is it always better to know the truth? YES

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Here is an interesting review of what looks like an interesting book (Decosimo, Ethics as a Work of Charity: Thomas Aquinas and Pagan Virtue). The beginning of the review, by Jeffrey Hause, is stunning:

Two Marxist professors from Cornell were once discussing a libertarian graduate student in their department. The first asserted that, after the revolution, he would have the student executed. The second thought this judgment too hasty. He noted, without humor or irony, that he would instead put the matter to a vote of the workers. Either course would see the problem summarily dispatched, “dealt with.” A less brutal, more charitable attitude would envision those who think other than we do, those outside our political or religious communities, not as problems to be dealt with, but as human beings to be engaged. If we take this more charitable route, however, how do we learn from, form friendships with, and find community with those we disagree with so profoundly without losing our own identity or compromising our own principles?


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