Identify four of these ideas, describing what they are, why they are considered dangerous, and how they might be avoided or mitigated as dangerous ideas
The absence of free will is defended by some scientists today: "British psychologist Susan Blackmore recently contended that our minds are actually nothing but collections of memes that we catch from each other like viruses and that the familiar sense of 'I' is some sort of fiction that memes create for their own agenda" (Davies, 2004, p.37). This idea postulates there is no central truth or morality and can be used to justify almost any moral action. Richard Dawkins has called human beings survival machines, rather than culpable moral actors (Davies, 2004, p.36). But if free will is merely an illusion, how is any action of a being that is subject to the whims of biology or evolution any different than someone who commits a crime when sleepwalking? Any real moral backing for laws and other mechanisms that hold people responsible for their actions are therefore invalid.
On a metaphysical level this may be so, states Paul Davies in his article on "Undermining Free Will" in Foreign Policy (2004). However, free may be a necessary fiction to create a more compassionate world. There is a danger as well, in creating a sense of political inefficacy: the famed indeterminacy of quantum mechanics does not help minds to engage in effective actions in the material world (Davies, 2004, p.35). Finally, responsibility and guilt are contingent upon human choice, and as our sense of choosing our fates ebbs away, so does our collective sense of obligation to strive to change things.
Question 4: Discuss the future of capitalist system in the 21st century be sure to include a discussion of globalism as a way to organize economic activity and whether you think 'America can stay on top' as a dominant economic power throughout the 21st century.
In 2009, Paul Krugman's 2000 article "Can America stay on top?" seems extremely out of date. He targets low demand in Asia as the reason America's economy is sluggish, yet until the recent credit crisis, China was rapidly shifting into a nation of consumers. He states that his "experience is that personal computing had only a modest effect on my ability to generate and disseminate misinformation, but that e-mail and the Internet have made a big difference," however the critical aspect of the current economic collapse was a lack of transparency in the American banking system, rather than too much information (Krugman 2000, p. 172).
Krugman points to strong economic numbers in America, and high European unemployment. But the European system of benefits, such as health insurance and pensions seems now less like a drag upon the economy, than something America should emulate in the future, given how hard the economic downturn has hit many Americans. The crisis also speaks of the powerful relevance of America in the world economy, although globalization seemed to make it seem less relevant. America's recession and the behavior of its banks had seismic effects across the world. The devaluation of the dollar and the ascent of the European Community seem like a faint memory.
R.K Saul's discussion of the rebirth of nationalism in Europe and the Middle East is a sobering reminder of the continuing reality of terrorism to affect our nation's borders, and how the Iraq War caused many of America's allies to turn away from a close alliance with our nation, and to reemphasize European homogeneity. However, unity may come again, now that the Obama Administration has come to power, and perhaps. The need to work with America has become a manifest, terrible necessity as Europe and the developing areas of the world are even more hard-hit by the current crisis. America may be on top again, as other nations turn to it for leadership -- although it is on top of what often seems like economic quicksand.