How We Know the World is Unfair

“Life isn’t fair.”

I don’t know the first time I ever heard that but I was young.

If I asked you, “is life fair?” you’d probably answer “Of course not.”

And yet, most of us believe in the fairness of life to some degree or other, even if we would never admit it.

We believe in Karma, or we believe in meritocracy, or we believe in justice or we believe in the Invisible Hand, or we believe in (insert your mystical force here). And then many of us may reject justice here and now but believe that some kind of cosmic force will pay us back once we are dead.

Maybe you’re saying to yourself that you don’t believe any of this stuff, that you know life is unfair.

Are you sure you don’t believe life is fair?

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Just War Fallacy

There is a long tradition in philosophy of arguing over the idea of a “just war,” i.e. a war which is rationally defensible for at least one of the participants. In the West, we usually trace this back to the Greeks, but apparently, it goes back as far as Ancient Egypt, and the Chinese and Indians have their own Just War traditions. I don’t want to litigate the history of just war philosophy, rather I want to suggest that the very idea of a “just war” is problematic at best and, moreover, anti-human, certainly from the perspective of the people who are going to die in that war, a war that isn’t about justice for the vast majority of them

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