Three short episodes (on Sartre, Nietzsche, and Machiavelli) by Mark Linsenmayer of a new potential podcast for the PEL network. We’d like your feedback, and even more importantly, the feedback of your friends for whom the long-form PEL discussions are or would be just TOO MUCH.
Watch a video introduction to David Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion where he considers the argument from design. Does experience ground the inference from the orderliness of nature to a divine creator?
Stoicism proposes an ongoing discipline of deliberately withdrawing one’s desires and aversions from external matters and applying them to what lies within one’s own person. Getting this distinction right—what is in our power and what is not—turns out to be integral to understanding and practicing Stoic philosophy as a way of life.
An excerpt from Christopher Yeomans’s
Michael Sandel is one of America’s best-known political philosophers, and helped establish his reputation with a widely respected and widely taught book, “Liberalism and the Limits of Justice.” That’s surprising, given that its central argument is based on some very obvious errors in reasoning.
An interview with philosopher Dave Shoemaker about his new book, Responsibility from the Margins, that discusses how our conceptions of moral responsibility depend on, or are even constituted by, our emotional reactions to the actions, omissions, and attitudes of others.
In “The Social Construction of What?” (1999), Ian Hacking argues that constructionist accounts of scientific theories tend to lose sight of a basic question: what, exactly, is it that’s supposed to be constructed?
In 1996, physicist Alan Sokal perpetrated a hoax by submitting a nonsense article to an academic journal of postmodern studies, and subsequently deriding the journal for publishing it. The hoax was, and remains, a significant salvo in the “Science Wars.”
In contrast to Jesus’s teachings on the virtue of prudence, there are also his parables that feature strong aspects of imprudence. Whereas prudence is an intellectual virtue that involves reasoning out one’s conscience, what Jesus urges in his imagery of imprudence is that we also act from sensitivity to our emotions.
According to the Parable of the Dishonest Manager, in the Gospel of Luke, the Kingdom of God is like a man who makes dishonest use of his boss’s money
Because many, if not most, of the things with which science has to deal cannot be directly observed, the central question of science is not “What is the truth about nature?” but “what counts as an empirically adequate explanation?”
Albert Camus often gets lumped in with twentieth-century French existentialists, a crew known for its hardline atheistic membership. But Camus was something different, something much more blasphemous: an agnostic who wouldn’t revere God even if He did exist.
Part 1 of this series ended with my arguments that because Jesus was not a systematic philosopher, it would be helpful to elaborate his moral teachings in the framework of an ethical system, and that virtue ethics is the system best suited to this purpose, as many Christians have traditionally thought. Taking up this approach, in Parts 2 to 4 Continue Reading …
Having the opportunity to speak with Nicholas Humphrey was a phenomenal experience (pun intended). His accounts of discussing dreams with Francis Crick, debating the best materialist arguments with Dan Dennett, working on blindsight, describing how personhood and ethics arise out of consciousness, and positing that our minds act as artists to make us fall in love with ourselves, make for a wonderful and enlightening listen.
The resolution to follow Epicurus is a resolution to protect one’s mind. We live in a dysfunctional consumerist society filled with anxiety and neuroses, where few people analyse their lives, most have a short attention span and are uninterested in disciplining their minds and curbing mindless desires. If philosophy is understood as the Epicureans understand it, then it becomes evident that people desperately need philosophy today.
Because German science held such a prominent place in culture before WWI, it could not escape the fallout when the war ended in disaster. German physicists needed a way to reestablish their prestige, and this meant repudiating their prewar past in order to make room for an up-to-date theory that would not be tarnished by earlier failures.A new mania for a romantic “life philosophy,” which rejected the mechanical and mechanistic attitudes of the British in favor of an experience-based, intuitive holism became fashionable. In physics, the new model incorporated the values of “life philosophy” by rejecting causality as the principle explanatory mechanism.
To say that Jesus was a philosopher is not to say that he was a philosopher and nothing else; he was also a religious preacher and healer. But philosophical argument is implicit in much of his teaching, especially when he is in dialogue. Moreover, his parables, as stimuli to deeper thought, are philosophical devices also.
In a series of essays written, Robert M. Young argued that scientific theories, like all other products of the human mind, arise out of a specific social context. Theories necessarily incorporate the values and concerns of the people who create them, which are themselves expressions of their specific historical context. Therefore, if we want to understand evolution, we need to understand the history of Victorian England.
How does Schopenhauer reconcile nature’s dependence on human minds (his idealism) with the belief that science can study the distant past before any minds existed?
According to Boyle, the best method in natural philosophy (and politics) was experiment and observation. Hobbes disagreed. He believed that observation could never displace deduction as a form of reasoning because observation always admitted of multiple explanations, and without rigorous definitions there was no way to decide between them. No number of experiments with air pumps could establish whether a vacuum was present or not unless Boyle could define what vacuum, air, etc., were.