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Showing posts from May, 2020

The "We" Vote in Quebec

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Les Patriots  Today is la  Journée nationale des patriotes   in Québec .   (Prior to 2003 it was  Dollard des Ormeaux  Day in celebration of the garrison commander who died fighting the Iroquois [Haudenosaunee]  at the Battle of Long Sault in 1660. Times change.)  In the ROC (the Rest of Canada) today is  Victoria Day  (in honour of Queen Victoria). In popular lore,  les patriots  are remembered as French peasants battling their English overloads.  This version of history is at least partially true; however, some leaders of the rebellion in Lower Canada (today Quebec) were English (notably  Wolfred Nelson  and his brother,  Dr. Robert Nelson ), some  members of the upper class--opposing  les patriots -- were French Canadian seigneurs , and, at the same time (1839), a similar rebellion of English-speaking farmers was taking place against the ruling-elite  Family Compact  in Upper Canada for the same reasons--demanding representational government. In Quebec, history is o

Ethics by Numbers

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Ethics by numbers:   We might imagine that numbers can resolve an ethical dilemma.  Faced with two inescapable ethical choices, A and B: A will cause two deaths and B will cause one.  B seems the obvious ethical choice.  In the real world, ethical choices are rarely so straightforward.  In fact, even in the hypothetical world the choice isn't so clear. Ethics 101 When I was a student in Ethics 101, Professor Glass presented us with this standard thought experiment. You are on a boat cast adrift at sea with six other passengers. You have supplies enough for six people to survive. There is no hope of rescue. If you do nothing all seven people will die. What do you do?  How do you decide the ethical or moral course of action?  The scenario allows only four options: Do nothing. Save yourself. Sacrifice yourself "The greatest good for the greatest number of people." I used this scenario in a number of classes for varying reasons: sometimes as a “ values cl