Philosophers Defend Philosophy At The Amazing Meeting 2013

I really enjoyed the video above of Susan Haack, Russell Blackford, Peter Boghossian, Massimo Pigliucci, and DJ Grothe from TAM 2013 talking a lot about the value of philosophy. There were a number of excellent points made. And I was heartened to hear Boghossian go off on how no one can follow each other’s papers [Read More...]

Kinds of Pleasures

Thomas Hurka is one of my favorite moral philosophers.  His essay on Nietzsche found in the compilation Nietzsche and Morality is meaty and challenging both as a stark reading of Nietzsche and as a strong perfectionist view of ethics, developed on Nietzsche’s behalf.  I’ve also read most of his first book, Perfectionism, which was excellent. [Read More...]

Power, Language, and Obscurity in Judith Butler

With Judith Butler slated to receive Frankfurt’s Adorno Prize next week, Kenan Malik summarizes controversies related to her work, focusing on Martha Nussbaum’s criticisms of her philosophy and others’ criticisms of her politics on Israel. I have never read Butler, but Malik’s selections make her sound more interesting than her reputation for obfuscation would indicate: In 1998 [Read More...]

Moral Psychologist Joshua D. Greene and Experimental Philosopher Joshua Knobe

Below is a great dialogue between Harvard psychologist Joshua Greene and Yale “experimental philosopher” Joshua Knobe laying out some of the basics of moral psychology. I took notes as I watched the video, summarizing the major points for myself and for your use, dear blogreader.  It will be easier to just watch the video, of [Read More...]

How Science Inspired Democracy In The Modern World

Summary of the video and the contents of the whole lecture: Timothy Ferris, Former Editor of Rolling Stone and Professor Emeritus at U.C. Berkeley, makes the case that science inspired the spread of democracy. Just as the scientific revolution rescued billions from poverty, fear, hunger and disease, Ferris argues that the Enlightenment values it inspired [Read More...]

Further Towards A “Non-Moral” Standard Of Ethical Evaluation

In reply to a recent post, Tyler writes: Your definition of ethics and morality is well taken and allows for further interesting debate on culture and moral systems but it still requires assumption of benefit. Defining phrases like “fully flourishing life” and “most excellent characters we can develop” require a standard of evaluation which I [Read More...]

What It’s Like To Be A Bat

Researchers on echolocation are trying to tap what they think is our untapped potential to learn what it’s like to be a bat. A team of researchers from the University of Alcalá de Henares (UAH) has shown scientifically that human beings can develop echolocation, the system of acoustic signals used by dolphins and bats to [Read More...]

Moral Integration, or the Pros and Cons of Moral Absolutism and Ethical Pluralism

Aaron writes this wonderfully thought provoking reply to my post about moral motivation apart from reference to God: I had an argument a few years back with someone over this. She thought I’d go to hell for not believing in Jesus, even thought she thought I was a great person. I found that troubling. It [Read More...]

On Equity: Plato, Aristotle, and Sotomayor

Some day down the road, I hope to sift all my thoughts on empathy and “wise Latinas judges” in light of Nietzsche’s wealth of insights into perspectival knowledge as a more virile knowledge than the emasculation that comes through objectivity.  (Genealogy of Morals III:12)  But to hold us over in the meantime, here is Joseph [Read More...]


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