1. The familiar admonition to “put your money where your mouth is” suggests that it’s far easier to speak up for a principle than to live up to it. That’s why most
of us, whether we intend to or not, say one thing but often do another. It's just part of human nature.
Is the common tendency to often say one thing but do another built into our nature, or is it something that experience teaches us to do?
2. “If you are like most people, your sadness over losing, say, $1,000, would be twice as great as your happiness at winning $1,000. That all-too-human tendency to
feel pain of a loss more deeply than the joy of a gain is called ‘loss aversion.’”
From an editorial in the New York Times, January 16, 2005
Are negative emotions stronger than positive ones?
3. After rescuing a dozen men and women from a burning office building, Jim Smith, a New York City fire fighter, commented, “Courage is just a matter of luck—of
being in the right place at the right time.”
Is courage a common human trait that most of us never have an opportunity to use or demonstrate, or is Jim Smith’s courage unusual?
4. “While walking in her neighborhood, a friend saw a man who had tied a fishing line around a turtle’s throat and was letting his kids drag it up and down the path.
Feeling that a direct approach would lead to a confrontation, my friend said: ‘I am a biologist with So-and-So University. Turtles are toxic; they secrete poison that
may make your kids horribly sick.’The guy had his kids stop tormenting the turtle right away. Was this lie justified?”
From a letter by David Weinrich, published in “The Ethicist” by Randy Cohen, New York Times Magazine, January 16, 2005
Is lying acceptable or even obligatory at times?
5. An old English proverb says, “What you don’t know can’t hurt you.”
Can ignorance ever be better than knowledge?