Statement of Principles

Since the major transformation that has taken place in my life, I have finally come to an agreement with my self on a few major ethical principles. I feel so strongly about these principles, that I vow always to abide by them. To the extent that I fail to do so, I will atone for my behavior (I'm human, after all).

1) Non-violence. I will never knowingly engage in any activity that fosters violence, cruelty, torture, or murder, either of human beings, non-human persons (should these emerge), or of higher animals, that is, animals which I believe to be capable of genuine suffering. This list includes, but is not necessarily limited to: Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds, and Mammals. If I receive more relevant information, I may revise this list. (Thus, I will be a Pesco-Vegetarian, unless I change my mind about the status of fish.)

2) Non-coercion. I will never knowingly attempt to force a person to do something against their will. If I end up having children, or if I find myself responsible for taking care of someone else's children, I may sometimes coerce them (but only minimally, as far as responsible supervision requires). Otherwise, I will never attempt to violate someone's will.

3) Honesty. I will never knowingly deceive someone. I may sometimes omit information, especially if I think that I cannot yet communicate it effectively to people, but I will refrain as far as possible from lying. If I do lie, however, I will eventually fess up to it, because my conscience won't let me do otherwise. I will also, in serious debates (as opposed to, say, in classroom discussions, where pedagogy may require otherwise), always argue in good faith.

4) Charitability. I understand this in two senses. One, I vow to try to help those people directly in my life as much as possible (my family, my friends, my colleagues, my students, etc.). Two, I will always endeavor to try to be charitable towards people's understandings of things. Since each of us has a worldview which is merely the joint product of our temperament and our life experiences, I will try as best I can to understand things from the point of view of any person with whom I am seriously debating or discussing.

5) Responsibility. I have said a lot of things in my past that I no longer believe in. If you look through my blog archives, you may find statements that are potentially offensive. Though I believed very differently at the time, I still take responsibility for having written them. I apologize to anyone if anything I have ever said or written has caused you pain. If you think I should atone for something that I've done to you in my life, please contact me, and I will do the best I can to enable you to forgive me. From here on out, I also take full responsibility for every statement I make in public or in publication, and for every action I take otherwise. Everything I say or write or do will reflect my beliefs at that time, but I expect my beliefs to evolve as I gain more knowledge and experience.

I think these are a good start--and 5 is a nice number. Should I add new principles, I will make them known. If you notice me violating one of my principles in an egregious manner, please inform me, so that I can put a stop to it. I will do my best to live up to these principles, but I am only human.

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