The coming-of-age story at the heart of the award-winning film Moonlight gets a lot of its power from the way it upends the prevailing inner-city narrative. This rejection of expectation helps illustrate the relationship between storytelling and identity formation described by Kwame Anthony Appiah.
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Speak what you think now in hard words and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day.” Does that mean the current POTUS is an Emersonian? Not quite!
In The Birth of Tragedy, Friedrich Nietzsche argues that, through his protégé Euripides, Socrates had injected into Greek tragedy the seed of questioning doubt that brought an end to the religious animus of drama, the fire that fueled its creation and sustained it. Thus, cold reason killed tragedy. Although he would later modify this view, it remains a powerful and influential polemic in the history of aesthetics.
Stating that the Presidential election and the person now occupying the office are illegitimate is a serious charge, but how accurate is it? The most prominent social theorist to articulate the concept of legitimacy is Max Weber, who outlined three ideal types of legitimate authority that comprise rightful rule. On any reading, Donald Trump comes into office with a severe legitimacy deficit.
Friend of PEL Doug Lain has been trying to score an interview with Slavoj Žižek on his Zero Squared podcast for years. Now, some think that Žižek’s stock is in decline, among other reasons because he said he’d vote for Trump if he could. Could he really have been only pretending to be some sort of radical leftist all along? Doug’s got the full story; find out how it all went down here.
In 1996, Samuel Huntington presented a theory of “clashes” occurring between different civilizational blocks. Huntington traced the mindsets of different people to solid religious sources. However, what if the difference between civilizational blocks is that some have read Nietzsche and others haven’t?
Some straightforward steps to take to not just help you grasp a fact or issue, but also arm you to survive—even thrive—in an era of limitless data, and limitless people who want to tell you how to interpret it.
It’s often been claimed that no dream should ever be a crucial feature of a narrative. Henry James famously advised, ”Tell a dream, lose a reader.” But why not? Perhaps the brain is not active in the same way when encountering someone else’s dream. Perhaps we are all too aware that it lacks the dramatic or instructive intention of a fully realized story.
Some have traced the origins of our “post-truth” era back to post-modernism and relativism. Could a look at Richard Rorty’s philosophy help us understand the “post-truth” phenomenon?
If the Internet is one of the basic cognitive resources we bring to bear on the everyday world, the websites we spend the most time on must be playing a proportionally large role in our everyday cognitive functions. So does Facebook constitute a cognitive system in its own right?
The popular Netflix show is rife with philosophical questions. “Can Aristotle teach Bojack a thing or two about self-love?” is one of them.
Although we spend most of our lives in a state of consciousness, as soon as we subject it to more careful scrutiny we realize that we know very little about it—how does it actually happen? And how does conscious experience fit into our scientific picture of the world?
Almost fifty years ago there was an influential woman who called pregnancy “barbaric,” described childhood as “hell,” and said giving birth was “like shitting a pumpkin.” Shulamith Firestone was a radical activist and remarkably prescient thinker who helped define feminism as we know it. Yet today she remains largely—and unfairly—unknown.
The abundance of moral concepts at play in the parable of the Vineyard Workers makes it a favorite among moral philosophers.
Dialog of hot-button topics with a family member doesn’t have to be unpleasant, or unfruitful.
What good are philosophy books? Can they make us any the wiser? A look at a humorous essay by Robert Wilson Lynd that demonstrates the difficulty of acquiring wisdom from books alone.
The physicist Paul Dirac believed that “it seems to be one of the fundamental features of nature that fundamental physical laws are described in terms of a mathematical theory of great beauty.” Not only that, he even believed that beauty was more reliable a measure than experimental evidence. He claimed “it is more important to have beauty in one’s equations than to have them fit experiment.”
“If you leave decisions to the public, you can be killed.” A 1974 performance art piece by Marina Abramović explores our deepest human instincts.
Not only do Jesus’s moral values make sense when applied to socioeconomic issues, but there is reason to believe they were intended to do so as part of a political call to solidarity with the poor.
Nationalism has a bad reputation. Varieties of nationalist thought have been responsible for many of the horrors of the last century. Nonetheless, important philosophers and political theorists have made the cases that more reasoned forms of nationalism can provide credible theoretical justification for determining the boundaries between those within a political community and those outside of it.