In our last two articles, we’ve explored one book in the exciting new field of cognitive science of religion. And we’ve seen how one of the findings in this area is that belief in God, or something like God, is natural to us, given the types of minds we have. Of course, this doesn’t show that one ought to believe Continue Reading …
An excerpt from the recently released book The Character Gap: How Good Are We?, which explores what “character” really means in today’s world and how good our character tends to be.
The excerpt focuses on the powerful impact that empathy can have on helping people in need.
In our last article, we explored some recent findings in the cognitive science of religion (CSR). We saw how current research suggests that belief in God, or something like God, comes naturally to most human beings, most of the time, in virtue of the types of brains we have. I’d like to explore Justin L. Barrett’s arguments on this front Continue Reading …
Can philosophy avoid theoretical speculation to focus solely on pursuit of the good life, or is that goal inherently problematic? Confining oneself to a particular branch of philosophy is something one should outgrow.
Because the ordinary is always at hand, it is, in fact, too familiar for us to perceive it and become fully aware of it. The ordinary is what most needs to be discovered and yet is something that can never be approached, since to do so is to immediately change it. Art of the Ordinary explores how philosophical questions can be revealed in surprising places—as in a stand-up comic’s routine, for instance, or a Brillo box, or a Hollywood movie.
“Belief in God is an almost inevitable consequence of the kind of minds we have.” —Justin L. Barrett
“Faith is not to be contrasted with knowledge: faith (at least in paradigmatic instances) is knowledge, knowledge of a certain special kind.” —Alvin Plantinga
“To preach skepticism to us as a duty until ‘sufficient evidence’ for religion be found, is tantamount therefore to telling us, when in presence of the religious hypothesis, that to yield to our fear of its being error is wiser and better than to yield to our hope that it may be true. It is not intellect against all passions, then; it is only intellect with one passion laying down its law.” —William James
Imagine a ship owner who sells tickets for transatlantic voyages. He is at the dock one day, bidding his ship farewell, when he remembers a warning he had received from his mechanics the week before, that the integrity of the ship’s hull was questionable and that it might not be seaworthy. But on some plausible grounds or other he forms Continue Reading …
“If it is to be established that there is a God, then we have to have good grounds for believing that this is indeed so. Until and unless some such grounds are produced we have literally no reason at all for believing; and in that situation the only reasonable posture must be that of either the negative atheist or the agnostic.”
Roger Scruton famously rejected photography as an art form on the grounds that, being causal, photographs cannot represent an artist’s intentions. For Scruton, paintings can enable us to see lines, shapes and colors ‘as’ something other than lines, shapes and colors per se. Photographs cannot do this as they are tied to the visual scene they depict. Wilfrid Sellars’s ideas on the role of phenomenal content in visual perception provide a fruitful approach to questioning Scruton’s thesis.
In fifty years, what will seem most embarrassing about contemporary society? Three futurists weigh in on what is primitive about the present.
The Ancient philosophy of Stoicism, as the ultimate life hack, has taken the world by storm. It seems particularly suited to providing pithy quotes for Silicon Valley desktops, doors of CrossFit gyms, and the bedroom walls of disenfranchised youths. On the face of it, there is nothing wrong with that. But then again, didn’t the famous Stoic slave Epictetus warn us all about learning just a “little philosophy”?
Why do diamonds cost more than water, when water is essential to life? The answer eluded both Smith and Marx before its resolution arrived in the form of the Marginal Revolution.
Why do hippies seek transformation in tepees? Try as they might, they’re very much within the “mainstream” of Western art and ideology.
Jordan Peterson, professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, became arguably the most impactful public intellectual in the present-day online media sphere after speaking out against impediments to free speech in the fall of 2016. While the “father figure” of the YouTube world is revered as a conservative warrior against “social justice”—and for inveighing against activists, postmodernists, neo-Marxists and those he labels “radical leftists”—closer inspection of his ideas suggests that, significant shortcomings aside, there are lessons even those of us who disagree politically and philosophically with Peterson can still learn from his public pedagogy.
A burning question: are the aesthetics of the Trump regime more “kitsch” or “camp”?
The recent boom of interest in alternative currencies has generated a dizzying amount of economic speculation, with a corresponding amount of confusion. The question that economists are asking right now is: what is the value of these currencies? Mainstream economics points to scarcity and utility as the primary sources of value, but these explanations don’t always yield satisfactory answers. The labor theory of value provides an alternative perspective on alternative currencies, one that might show us something of real worth in the emerging digital economy.
In a competition with already-famous poets, one of whom was her future husband, an 18-year-old Mary Shelley was asked to create a ghost story. Instead, she created a story of the perils of creative ambition, and the possibility that it might lead to a ghosting of the self.
Mark joins the folks at the Panpsycast Philosophy Podcast for a two-part holiday special on everyone’s favorite yuletide character, Friedrich Nietzsche!