3-30-87 This morning I lectured on naturalism, including Roderick Firth’s ideal-observer theory. I confessed to the students that I’ve always been suspicious of Firth’s theory, and now I have good reason to reject it. Firth, in effect, creates a secular god, then asks: In what things would this being, this ideal observer with properties of disinterestedness, omniscience, and dispassionateness, be positively interested? Whatever the ideal observer is positively interested in, he says, is good. We’re just about done with [Fred] Feldman’s book [Introductory Ethics (1978)], so I told the students to begin reading Joel Feinberg’s Social Philosophy [1973] for Monday. After class, I met with four students to discuss their respective term papers. The papers are due Friday, and many students, apparently, have waited until the last week to get to work. That’s bad. I told them several weeks ago to start thinking about a topic and putting thoughts to paper.

The college basketball season is over. Indiana [the Hoosiers] defeated Syracuse [the Orangemen] by one point to win the crown, its third since 1976. I was disappointed, because I predicted that Syracuse would win the title and do not like Indiana’s authoritarian coach, Bobby Knight. But it was a close, exciting game, so I really can’t complain. It’s too bad that one of these teams had to lose. Indiana players and fans can relish the moment forever, while Syracuse players and fans will always have to live with the failure. As far as my wagers with Paul Baker are concerned, I lost six dollars on the entire tournament. There were sixty-three games. We agreed on the outcome of forty-two of them, which means that there were twenty-one games “up for grabs.” On six of them, both of us were wrong; on another six, I was right and Paul was wrong; and on another nine, Paul was right and I was wrong. Paul did much better at the beginning of the tournament, while I did much better at the end. In fact, I correctly predicted three of the four semifinalists and both of the finalists. But I missed the championship game. My overall percentage was .650, while Paul’s was .698. Now it’s on to baseball! [Indiana has reached the title game only once in the past 20 years, losing to the Maryland Terrapins in 2002. Syracuse has reached the title game twice in the past 20 years, losing to the Kentucky Wildcats in 1996 and beating the Kansas Jayhawks in 2003. Bobby Knight is now the coach of Texas Tech University.]