Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Two Very Bad Wizards Ask Me about Ethics Professors

... and Nazis, and Chinese philosophy, and the nature of jerkitude, and Kant's defense of murdering bastard children, and many other topics besides.

I'm talking of course about the latest episode of the Very Bad Wizards podcast, with the witty, knowledgeable, and frequently profane hosts David Pizarro and Tamler Sommers. Before the interview with me is a fun 20-minute segment on the ethics of murdering baby Hitler and on whether self-driving cars should be programmed to sacrifice their passengers if by doing so they can save a greater number of other people.

The podcast always opens with a quote from the Wizard of Oz: "I'm a very good man. I'm just a very bad Wizard." Dave and Tamler still haven't addressed my question (which I posed before we went on air) about the wizard's moral self knowledge. Is he indeed a very good man? Part of the evidence against is that he sends an ill-prepared girl on what he thinks is a hopeless suicide mission against the Wicked Witch of the West.

5 comments:

Tamler said...

True, but on the other hand he always replied to student emails and returned all his ethics books to the library on time.

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

He was not very accessible during office hours, though.

mmcirvin said...

That is actually one of the very few lines in the movie that was taken directly from the original book. The Wizard's claim isn't very convincing there, either.

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

Yeah, my memory is that Baum goes very easy on him. Some serious moral luck there!

Unknown said...

Positioning one's fears for moral self knowledge in finding 'there is no place like home'...