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Conversational Consequentialism

I'm a Consequentialist: I believe that the moral rightness of a thing should be judged based on the (expected) outcome of it, not based on any particular moral rules. That is, it's (generally) bad to lie because that leads to a confusing world, but if lying in a specific instance will keep you from being killed by the Gestapo, then by all means lie. It's bad to murder because that results in somebody being dead, not because anybody said not to. It's bad to be gay because uh well actually since it turns out that doesn't harm anybody it actually is okay to be gay, even if a deity tells you it's bad

I wasn't always a consequentialist, though, and trying to get this idea to fully permeate all of my thoughts takes a bit of effort. One of the main things that I've had difficulty thinking of in terms of consequences rather than rules or virtues is conversations. When talking with people, I still feel a very strong urge to be completely, frankly, brutally honest, and even worse, I feel that if I don't say something, that's the same as lying about it. This has gotten me into trouble. More than once. I've lost at least one, possibly two friends because of this, and it was only through deliberate, learned effort that I managed to avoid that urge getting me criminal charges

When you're talking with people, what are your goals with the conversation? Are you trying to convince them to do something for you? Are you trying to convince them to adopt your position on some issue? Or are you just having a fun conversation? In all of those situations, getting angry, or making the other person angry, is not a useful thing to do. Saying things that from your perspective are true, but where you can predict that the result of saying it is going to be counter productive, is incredibly tempting, but is actually counter productive. I mean, come on! You saw that coming!

Review: Zero Hour by Clive Cussler and Graham Brown

On Books In Progress

Zero Hour is an 'Adventure from the NUMA Files' which means following the team of Kurt Austin, Joe Zavala and Paul and Gamay Trout on their adventures.

In truth the main players in this are Kurt and Joe with the Trouts taking a back seat. In fact Dirk Pitt has more of a role in this novel than they do. I'm not sure that is a bad thing, having find roles for four leading characters started to get a little stretched for me in the more recent books.

Back to the story, which could come straight out of a James Bond plot. Genius develops a weapon which taps into zero point energy and causes massive earthquakes. Feeling that the nations of the world have shunned him and killed is daughter he decides to turn the weapon upon them in revenge. It is up to Kurt, Joe and an Australian scientist (female, providing the love interest for Kurt) to stop him, against the clock and against all the odds.

This is a real old fashioned adventure story, a few twists here and there to keep the interest but nothing too demanding. It moves at a fantastic pace, has some brilliant set pieces and a typically over the top villain. There are multiple threads to the story which join up for a satisfying conclusion.

The narrative moves on at a good pace and never gets bogged down in too much exposition. There is the expected need to suspend belief in parts, but really not as much as other stories. This was an easy book to read and had that 'unputdownable' factor that should be expected. Probably one of the better NUMA files novels (which have in my mind always been the poor relation to the other Cussler series).

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