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“The Good” Writing Workshop

November 3, 2019 @ 11:30 am - 12:30 pm


2000 years ago, Socrates asked “What’s a good life?” From Stoicism to our own philosophies, how has Ethics developed through the ages?

For five Sundays, The Blue House hosts a writing workshop around prominent and participant-written ethics. We’ll focus on distinctly philosophical work: works that give us a system of reasons rather than passion-driven Great Truths. Each discussion presents a new topic, comparing historical texts to our own contemporary beliefs. Our progress through history is determined by the group. Participants are welcome to suggest new readings or include their own writing in discussions that hopefully move us to understand ethics through the ages.

This first Sunday, the topic is:

Beyond God’s Command (in Ordinary Language)

We’re going to look at different ethical philosophies. Let’s qualify an “ethics” as a work that reasons why we should act in a certain way. Sacred texts, like the Bible, are not ethics in themselves; their command comes without reason (God sayeth!).

Our group will focus on the reasons why choices are made by looking at different ethical frameworks. Good and evil are just one framework of ethics (moral ethics). Beauty and ugliness (aesthetics) and technical concerns (mechanics) are other frameworks.

We’ll start with an ancient approach to “the good life,” reading Plato’s Republic. Some background on ethics in Plato can be found on Stanford’s Encyclopedia of Philosophy. In addition to Plato, we’ll discuss selections from Genesis and I Ching to understand the difference between philosophical ethics and sacred text.

I also suggest reading an introduction to ordinary language. Conversations around ethics can be meta-meta-complex. A.J. Ayer’s “On Making Philosophy Intelligible” proposes that complexities are unnecessary in most philosophical discussions. Hopefully, we can keep chats simple, no matter how seemingly complex the subject matter is.

In addition to the suggested readings, participants are welcome to bring in their own work or suggested readings that will help guide future meetings. For inspiration, see this running document: A Bibliography of Ethics.

Possible Next Readings: Plato’s later work? Selections from Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle?


  • Be Respectful: It goes without saying that we must be respectful of all the ideas presented. With that said, we should always…
  • Be Critical: Thoughtful criticism can elevate a conversation, especially with the understanding that…
  • There are no hard feelings: We have a license to bash ideas within the context of the conversation. Bashing ideas, even if the idea is a hard held belief, is completely permitted as long as you…
  • Leave dogma at the door: We’re after a critical understanding of ethics. A discussion on ethics can quickly be subsumed by dogmatic belief, and dogma hampers…
  • Progress through (intellectual) history: Every meeting moves onto new ideas, as they developed through time. Note: we’re concerned with intellectual history. That means we’re concerned with the progress of patterns of ideas – a progression that may move differently than a linear timeline. (Read: What is Intellectual History?)

Schedule & Updates

From November 3rd, meetings will be held for five Sundays at 11AM. Participants are invited to come to any meeting with readings they find interesting. Links to all readings and a summary of the discussion will be added to this Google Doc. Feel free to sign up for our email list for info and updates.

& now a bit about our sponsor…

These discussions are sponsored by The Blue House, a shared workspace that encourages everyone to explore diverse interests through critical discourse, friendly banter, and however else humans feed curiosity. While membership to the Blue House is not required to join a discussion, we strongly encourage you to become a Blue House member. For just $50/mo, Blue House members receive 4 coworking days/month, evening and weekend access, space rental discounts, and of course free coffee and tea. Contact The Blue House anytime to book a tour.

For further information…

Feel free to contact me.




November 3, 2019
11:30 am - 12:30 pm
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Blake Bertuccelli


The Blue House
1700 S. Rampart Street
New Orleans, LA 70113 United States
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