Answering some of the leftover questions from — you guessed it — Part One

Photo by Pedro Marroquin on Unsplash.

A few weeks ago I posted a story discussing whether or not it’s right for us — the proverbial, society-wide “us” — to engage with works of art created by morally tainted artists.

R. Kelly and Michael Jackson, Kevin Spacey and Bill Cosby, Roman Polanski and Harvey Weinstein, here’s looking at you. Again.

I got some really thoughtful and provocative comments, which of course I loved and made me think harder. But it also made me feel like maybe my original article was lacking, even if I spent lots of time on it trying to cover a lot of bases…

A #MeToo question for 2119

Matt McMullen’s intimate robotic AI “Harmony”. Courtesy of

Imagine for a moment that it’s about 100 years from now. Or at the very least, a time when it’s common to go on dates with highly intelligent “companion” robots.

Imagine they’re not just highly intelligent, but exceedingly human-like; you’d never know it if you passed one on the street (think Westworld­ realistic).

Now, you’ve just been on your fourth date with a lovely woman-robot: she’s intelligent, of course, and beautiful, and you’ve had a deep conversation over dinner and drinks that lasted an incredible four hours. This time, she’s come back to your place with you for a nightcap…

Is it first world child exploitation, or babies just having fun?

Instagram post @Taytumandoakley.

The New York Times posted a provocative article recently about “kidfluencers”. They’re those babies and kids you see on YouTube or Instagram promoting some new toy or cruise line or breakfast cereal — social media “influencers”, but kids.

The ethics of high-level “do-gooders”, and what’s really at stake

Left: Photo by Hunters Race on Unsplash. Right: Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash.

There’s a charity that targets poverty in New York City that also pays its president nearly $1 million per year.

Er, cognitive dissonance, much?

Its executive director got a measly $700k in 2016, but in the following year — yes, I checked the 990 IRS form (which you can also do here) — that now former executive director received $1.7 million. And of the 14 top execs, nine got paid in excess of $400k. Of course, I’m talking about the esteemed Robin Hood Foundation.

Nice package, eh? …

Should we still engage with great work if its creator is a monster?

Photo credit: Blake Ezra Photography/Rex/Shutterstock on

Throughout history, it’s no secret that morally “tainted” people have discovered, created, and advocated for incredibly good things. And it’s not just artists: Thomas Jefferson owned over 600 slaves in his lifetime, despite giving lip service toward ending the practice. William Boeing, founder of the eponymous aircraft company, was a white supremacist, only allowing non-whites to occupy land on his property if they were employed as domestic servants by white people.

But, certainly, artists of all creeds, too: Weinstein, Spacey, Franco, Slater. Chuck Close, Chris Brown, Morgan Freeman, R. Kelly, Richard Meier. Picasso was merely, and only possibly, an acute…

The Effective Altruism movement and its utilitarian discontents

Photo by LUIS GONZALEZ on Unsplash

The front page of the news this morning is, yet again, another Trump-related arrest. This time it’s Roger Stone.

Things pushed to the back of the paper? The Yemeni children who are starving because of our government’s policy toward Iran; the children forcibly separated from their families on our southern border, who are still being treated appallingly; our own citizens’ being duped into a downward spiral of opioid addition due to one of our “greatest” philanthropic families’ false claims about OxyContin, which they make.

Let’s face it, the world could be a better place. But what can we, the little…

Or do they really prove useful when it comes to determining right from wrong?

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

If you’re in need of some pseudo-highbrow fodder for your next dinner party conversation, why not pose this famous question to your guests:

There’s a trolley barreling down a track, and if it continues on its straight and speedy way, it will kill five people tied to the track up ahead. If, however, you flip a switch so that it veers onto a side track, it will kill only one person tied to it there. Do you flip the switch?

Danielle Mund

Editor of Sun, Sand, & Socrates, where I philosophize on the beaches of the caribbean, daily.

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