Olsen to Speak at Philosophy Cafe

Date: Mar 01, 2012
Dr. Cyrus Olsen will speak on "Rings of Power: Justice and Judgment in the Marketplace" at the next Phi Sigma Tau Philosophy Cafe.  The event will be held in the auditorium of the new Loyola Science Center, Room 133, beginning at 8PM.  Light refreshments will be provided.

Plato's "Republic" presents the tale of the Ring of Gyges as a
test-case for the relationship between justice and judgment.  Is it
better to seem or to be just?  If it were better simply to seem just,
then the person with a ring of power, capable of granting the power of
invisibility--like Harry Potter's invisibility cloak--, would not need
to be just at all, for s/he would be most difficult to catch
perpetrating an unjust act.  If our ethical business practices are
predicated upon the cleverness of those in power who are beyond being
caught, and who otherwise lack sound moral judgment, then our economic
activities run the risk of perpetuating the myth that to seem rather
than to be just is the superior (moral) position.  Granted, few may
find Plato's injunction that the truly just person will suffer an
ignominious death an attractive vision of the happy life.  Yet this is
precisely what the balance between justice and judgment ought to
enable us to see, namely that a notion of judgment well founds moral
behavior and a just society, for only truly just behavior can render
the human person happy.  As Augustine famously argued, all people
desire happiness. Concomitantly, it would appear that justice and
happiness can become decoupled in the name of a supposed greater good,
such as profit.  Profit, however, as an end cannot long sustain a just
or happy society.  Paradoxically, then, we must recover a sense of
judgement if we are to be happy and thus capable of pursuing justice
in the marketplace.  Perhaps such a recovery would unveil the true
intentions of our rings of power.