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How to be Good
Luckily, or maybe unluckily, I don't know many pirates (over the age of three, anyway). But we all have these everyday ethics conundrums. If we learn of a wrong done in the past, do we have the responsibility to report it (pirate-related or not)? Is it possible to be too tolerant of other peoples' religious practices? How much privacy do we allow people in the age of the Internet? Randy Cohen, The Ethicist of the long-running New York Times column, addressed these issues and more when he was on NPR over the weekend to discuss his new book, Be Good: How to Navigate the Ethics of Everything. What struck me most was his claim that, despite our quickly changing world of social media and altered interpersonal communications, ethics themselves have not changed much over time. Etiquette changes; social mores shift. But whether you're a Googler or a gladiator, the basic line stays the same: When in doubt about how to act, be good. We all know (pretty much) what that means.
Listen to the whole interview to learn more about the book, "The Ethicist" column, and to find out which ethics question has provoked the most controversy in Cohen's career.
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