Whatever your views about affirmative action are, this is well worth watching. Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa, a philosophy professor at University of British Columbia, argues that recent psychological evidence about implicit bias may yield an argument in favor of affirmative action policies that is purely merit based. What is interesting and novel about his argument is that affirmative action policies are typically argued against because they tend to ignore merit based considerations. Ichikawa argues that even if you think we should only consider merit in hiring policies, we still have reason to favor certain affirmative action policies given what we know about implicit bias.

Image: Jeffrey James Pacres (flickr.com - CC 2.0)

It’s pretty commonplace nowadays to hear arguments either defending or condemning the integration of technology into our everyday lifestyle. Proponents of this integration often stress the convenience and connectedness that technology makes possible, while critics commonly claim that it can distract us and cause us to become cognitively lazy. We can easily apply these arguments to current innovations pertaining to the internet and smart phone apps, but they can be applied to any type of technology, anything that improved, maybe simplified, a previous method of accomplishing a certain task. In an article for The Partially Examined Life, Adam Arnold discusses the anxieties brought about by technological advancements. Arnold argues that, while technology has certainly improved our lives in countless ways, it can also cause our thinking to be clouded by the comfort of routine and convenience.  We might think this to be a strictly modern concern, but Arnold points out that this is not the case. It seems that Socrates was hip to this anxiety a couple thousand years ago. He was worried about the practice of writing things down, which caused one to be less reliant on her own memory and more so on her ability to be reminded by her writing. Arnold quotes the Phaedrus:

For this will provide forgetfulness in the souls of those who have learned it, through the neglect of memory, seeing that, through trust in writing, they recollect from outside with alien markings, not reminding themselves from inside, by themselves. You have therefore found a drug not for memory, but for reminding.

Of course it seems a bit strange to consider writing to be a technological advancement, but Socrates’ concern actually parallels some modern anxieties about how the internet affects memory. What are your thoughts on this ethical dilemma surrounding technology? Should we be worried about the potential for laziness, or should we embrace that technology can change the way we think and alter the course of human history? Who knows, maybe in a thousand more years people will think it’s weird that we thought that we were technologically innovative in 2014.

Photo by: Ted Hajiagha "Sunset"/Flickr

And Night Owls are more likely to cheat in the morning. According to this recent study, people who are early risers tend to behave more unethically as the day goes on. By nightfall, they are much more likely to behave unethically than they are in the morning. Conversely, people who have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning and consider themselves to be night owls seem to be better behaved in the evening hours.

These results shouldn’t be too surprising. Ethical behavior is, afterall, sometimes a matter of resisting temptations and the more tired you are, the weaker your will is likely to be.

Supposing this is true; what implications does it have for you? Are you a morning person? Do you think you should be extra-vigilant at night now? Does this study fit with your experience? Let us know what you think in the comments below.