WeeklyTech #179

Pursuing the Good Life Through Good Books

As many of you know, my family and I moved (back) to Louisville a few months ago for me to start a new role teaching philosophy and ethics at Boyce College and Southern Seminary. It has been a busy summer of work travel, house projects, course preparation, and settling in so far. With the fall semester right around the corner, I have been working much of the summer to develop two new courses and plan out what we will be reading together in the classroom. I am really looking forward to teaching worldview analysis, religion in the public square, and introduction to ethics on campus and an online section of Introduction to Philosophy online. Over the next few weeks, I plan to share the reading lists for the courses and why I chose these particular volumes to study together with my students.

I wanted to start this week sharing some of the required reading from my upcoming introduction to ethics course which I am particularly excited to teach this fall. My goal in this course is to introduce the intricate relationship between theology, philosophy, and our pursuit of the good life through reflection on the vast foundation and implications of the moral life. This fall, we will work through the three main areas of ethics: metaethics (why), normative ethics (how), and applied ethics (what). One of the things that I try to emphasize in my courses and teaching is to engage with the primary sources, especially those at the very foundation of the moral tradition.

In addition to the texts below, we will also read from a number of works that have radically altered how we think about the study and nature of ethics, including selections from David Hume, Immanuel Kant, John Hare, Oliver O’Donovan, Judith Jarvis Thomson, Phillipa Foot, Rowan Williams, and Gilbert Meilaender. These selections and the texts below come from a wide range of philosophical beliefs and it is my hope that reading these texts will not only challenge us to think deeply about the uniqueness of the Christian ethic but also to cultivate virtue and wisdom as we engage competing ideas of ethics. One final note, I picked up the idea of requiring a Scripture journal for each of my classes from Dr. Coleman Ford at Texas Baptist College and have really loved this intentional and structured engagement with Scripture alongside my students each week as we start class session.

  • ESV Scripture Journal: Colossians. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2018.
  • Aristotle. Nicomachean Ethics. Translated by Robert C. Bartlett and Susan D. Collins. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011.
  • Mill, John Stuart. Utilitarianism. Edited by George Sher. 2nd ed. Indianapolis: Hackett Pub, 2001.
  • VanDrunen, David. Natural Law: A Short Companion. Edited by C. Ben Mitchell and Jason Thacker. Brentwood, TN: B&H Academic, 2023.
  • Wright, N. T. After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters. New York: HarperCollins, 2012.

If you or someone you know is interested in taking a class like this, make sure to check out the programs and offerings we have at Boyce College in Louisville, Kentucky. Learn more and apply now at boycecollege.com.

The Rundown

F.D.A. Approves First U.S. Over-the-Counter Birth Control Pill by Pam Belluck | New York Times

The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved a birth control pill to be sold without a prescription for the first time in the United States, a milestone that could significantly expand access to contraception.

Authors file a lawsuit against OpenAI for unlawfully ‘ingesting’ their books by Ella Creamer | The Guardian

Two authors have filed a lawsuit against OpenAI, the company behind the artificial intelligence tool ChatGPT, claiming that the organisation breached copyright law by “training” its model on novels without the permission of authors.

Why the Early Success of Threads May Crash Into Reality by Mike Isaac | New York Times

A big tech company with billions of users introduces a new social network. Leveraging the popularity and scale of its existing products, the company intends to make the new social platform a success. In doing so, it also plans to squash a leading competitor’s app.

‘Heart-stopping’: censored pages of history of Elizabeth I reappear after 400 years by Dalya Alberge | The Guardian

Now state-of-the-art imaging technology has enabled the British Library to read hidden pages of William Camden’s Annals for the first time, “a significant finding in early modern historical scholarship”.

The Viral AI App That’s Triggering Baby Fever by Dalvin Brown | Wall Street Journal

The app is Remini. It dethroned Meta Platforms’ new Twitter competitor, Threads, to become the most popular free-to-download app in Apple’s App Store. It lets users generate images of themselves in wedding dresses or pregnant in maternity wear. Remini will even serve up family portraits showing the user with AI-generated babies.