Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Act I, Scene I

by Joe Miller

Welcome to Bellum et Mores. For starters, please forgive the pretentious title. I’m an academic philosopher; our contract requires that we never use normal terms when jargon will do. Extraneous use of Latin terms is a necessary (though at my institution thankfully not a sufficient) condition for tenure. Roughly translated, the title of the blog comes to War and Custom, or if you stretch just a little bit, War and Morality. That, of course, is the title of the course that I’m teaching this semester and thus also the reason for the existence of this blog.

Perhaps a bit of explanation is in order. I’m Joe, or Dr. Miller if we’re being formal, but, as my students can attest, I’m not all that much for formality. So Joe is fine. I’m a philosophy professor at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. I specialize in moral and political philosophy, with particular interests in Mill and utilitarianism and in just war theory. I’m also an avid blog reader (which may explain why my list of publications is slimmer than it could be). This blog is an experiment in combining interests. At least, that’s my official story. Unofficially, of course, the existence of this site means that I can now read all the blogs that I was reading anyway while calling it “background research.” I’m not wasting time: I’m working! Integrating technology into the classroom. Bringing the university to the wider world. Actually, I guess we really are doing those things. It just sounds pretentious. Again.

So what will you see here at Bellum et Mores? You’ll read a lot of my thoughts on political philosophy generally and on just war theory more specifically. But you’ll get lots more than just me. I’m going to have help. Each student enrolled in my course will be a co-blogger this semester. I figure that since they have to write papers anyway, I might as well exploit them to make it look like I post a, rather...take advantage of the learning opportunity afforded by the wonders of the internet. The plan is that I will post each student's papers here (with his/her permission, of course). And then I’ll make everyone comment on each paper that is posted. So we’re going to have some rousing debates here. The fact that the debate will (let’s be honest) consist pretty much entirely of the people already in the course is beside the point. After all, it’s possible that someone else could randomly drop by and make some constructive comments. Like maybe some of our recent graduates. Or current students who are off interning. (You all know who you are.)

So that's it, then. The first post is all finished up. Here's to a successful experiment.


Anonymous Jeremy Bentham said...

I'm a little teapot, short and stout.

7:17 PM  
Anonymous john stuart mill said...


7:23 AM  

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