In the last article, we saw how William of Ockham developed his nominalist philosophy in the context of disputes within the medieval Franciscan order. Ockham’s nominalism—the thesis that there are no real, abstract universal concepts, but that these terms refer only to ideas that we have—undercut Aristotelian arguments about the naturalness of property ownership, based as they were on the Continue Reading …
Both opponents and proponents of the use of this rhetoric make a mistake that obscures what’s really at issue. The purpose is to point out some often-ignored current disparities, historical occurrences, and facts about how people feel, not to claim that injustices are literally caused by a mechanism of privilege.
How an important element of both modern philosophy and science emerged from an obscure dispute within the medieval Franciscan order involving Plato, Aristotle, the Roman Catholic Church, and William of Ockham, among others.
What is the “lust of the mind” and how does it fit in with the modern university?
“Next to the word ‘Nature,’ ‘The Great Chain of Being’ was the sacred phrase of the eighteenth century, playing a part somewhat analogous to that of the blessed word ‘evolution’ in the nineteenth.” –Arthur O. Lovejoy
From, whence, then, could arise the solitary and strange conceit that the Almighty, who had millions of worlds equally dependent on his protection, should quit the care of all the rest, and come to die in our world because, they say, one man and one woman had eaten an apple. –Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason
We are often told that Europeans, in the medieval times, believed that Earth was at the center of the universe, and therefore especially good and important. An anthropocentric point of view flattered human vanity, according to this story. Sigmund Freud was perhaps its most famous representative. He wrote: Humanity has in the course of time had to endure from the Continue Reading …
In the previous article, we saw how geometry set the standard for knowledge in the world of ancient Greek philosophy, and how Christian theology emerged out of an effort to harmonize the very different traditions of Greek and Hebraic thought. Plato’s theory of the forms is perhaps his most famous contribution to philosophy, and requires no extensive discussion. But, as Continue Reading …
Start with the South Parkesque absurdist beginning of this series, if that’s the kind of thing that you’re into. Satire and Irony as Political Tools I’ve already written on humor for this series; shouldn’t this topic have already been covered? Well, no. As Wikipedia tells us (citing Robert Corum writing about French satire), satire need not be actually funny. Animal Continue Reading …
Are insults largely interchangeable, or do they have fixed descriptive content, in addition to their normative (insulting) content? Can the two elements of meaning be isolated? Thoughts on innovations in language.
Mark muses on why cursing, or ideological humor, might be not funny for everyone, and why it’s partially THEIR GODDAMN FAULT due to their lack of aesthetic self-development. Motherfuckers. JK! 🙂
“Let no one ignorant of geometry enter.” –Said to have been inscribed above the doorway of Plato’s Academy
It is our moral duty to call things as they are, and stop giving the asshole power by polluting the air with his name. Stop the erosion of our political discourse by using the hashtag #theasshole.
Why does happiness so often present itself as a problem?
“Serious scholarship in the history of science has revealed so extraordinarily rich and complex a relationship between science and religion that general theses are difficult to sustain. The real lesson turns out to be complexity.” –Jonathan Hedley Broke
Yes, capitalism has provided a high standard of living, but how should goods other than monetary ones play into a public policy debate? Mark riffs off of Adam Smith and a video by Walter Williams.
“Batman is haunted by his dark past yet perseveres in fighting crime.” We know that Batman is a fictional character, but nonetheless talk about him as if he were a real person. But is Batman real or not? Instead of accusing him of non-existence, or granting him reality as an abstract object, could we not instead regard fictional characters as software running on the hardware of our brains?
“I need the binocular approach of science and religion if I am to do any sort of justice to the deep and rich reality of the world in which we live.”
–John Polkinghorne (Physicist, Anglican Priest)
The Romantic film-philosophy of Cavell, Mulhall, Sinnerbrink, and Smith completes the triangulation of values among the ethical, cognitive, and aesthetic: in the same way that film links Smith’s innovations in the disciplines of aesthetics, philosophy, and culture, authenticity links the ethical, cognitive, and aesthetic values of film.
“Surely if liberalism has a single desperate weakness it is an inadequacy of imagination: liberalism is always being surprised.” –Lionel Trilling