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.
People from opposing ends of the political spectrum claim Jesus as their own. But is Jesus’s moral philosophy broad in scope, such that it includes a political morality, or narrower, consisting only of private virtues?
A look at performance artist Marina Abramović might shed some light on the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas.
A look at how poverty was valued, in connection to virtue and to justice, within Jesus’s philosophy.
What is infinite responsibility? And can we live with it?
Jesus’s continued critique of the imperial economic system identifies what immoral uses of money look like.
Jesus’s critique of the imperial economic system presents an idea of how money can be used morally.
Researchers at MIT are pooling our moral intuitions, and we need to talk about it.
Paulo Freire’s pedagogical philosophy was premised upon a notion of not just what it means to be human, but also what it means for humans to be incomplete beings, subjects in a dialectical relationship with the objective world, or social order, that shapes and yet can also be consciously transformed by us.
It seems that an explanation is one kind of thing, given that all explanations share a name. The popular approach to scientific explanation is to treat all successful explanation as giving information about the relevant cause or causes of the phenomenon to be explained. But if we look to the natural and social sciences, we find explanations that look quite different. What scientists call “explanations” differ with respect to the form and structure of the explanation and with respect to the information given. Given that in many sciences there are explanations that refer explicitly to the function of a phenomenon and not its cause, we should ask: are functional explanations just another way of giving causal information, or are they noncausal?
Is transhumanism just dangerous over-confidence in technology?
What causes feelings of alienation? How do we resolve them? Eighteenth- and nineteenth-century discussions of alienation focused on society’s role in alienating the individual. The story goes: Your society delineates the routes of your world; its possibilities and lifestyles. The routes aren’t well-worn paths made from natural behavior, but instead, drawn lines, burdening and concealing the person’s true self. The psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan understands the root of alienation differently. He finds it in normal psychological development.
When it comes to ethics and human choice, there is “a serious candidate for truth” that we haven’t considered properly.
Speak Now is NYU Law Professor Kenji Yoshino’s detailed recounting of Hollingsworth v. Perry—the 2009 California federal district court trial over a ballot initiative banning gay marriage in the state of California. While primarily a scholarly work of legal history, Speak Now is also a literary work of art and rich with important philosophical questions and thoughts regarding constitutional law and legal theory.
How a single Greek word can explain why we don’t like the Sophists, why Socrates was accused of being one of them, and what makes rhetoric successful.
The return to the soil, to nature, is a recurring preoccupation of the civilized. Whenever a society reaches a state of high development it seems a repeating pattern that a segment of the population begins to yearn for the good ol’ days of yore. Ironically, even the ancients knew this temptation. Recall Cicero’s lament: “O the times! O the morals!” Continue Reading …