“You’re Gonna Have to Serve Somebody”

RocknRoll3

In yesterday's post, I talked about the unenviable invulnerability of indifference, and, it so happened that the play I saw this weekend (Tom Stoppard's Rock and Roll at the Actors Ensemble of Berkeley) touched on similar themes.  The play is structured around (among other things) resistance to Soviet-dominated Communism in Czechoslovakia.  At one point in the play, Jan gets into an argument with his friend Ferdinand (recently released from prison) about who represents a larger threat to the go … [Read more...]

What Good is Sitting Alone at Your Desk?

grindstone-nose

In The Washington Post, Elsa Walsh takes issue with Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In.  Walsh thinks Sandburg's tactics are pretty good instrumentally, but she's a bit sickened by the kind of success Sandberg is using them for: I have to wonder if Sandberg does not realize that she is going to die someday. There is so little life and pleasure in her book outside of work. Even sex is framed as something that men will get more of if they pitch in and help their working wives.Success, particularly the … [Read more...]

Would you rather be wrong than boring?

bored dandy

In a post titled "The sad, sad tale of the philosophical meta-game" Eli of Rust Belt Philosophy does a useful job calling out our fascination with outrageousness and impatience with obvious sounding truth. Plus, his frame metaphor is awesome: Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3. (Don't worry, you don't need to know what that is to follow his point. Let me block quote a little: Now, Marvel is a game - I mean, a paradigmatic game, the kind where there's really nothing significant on the line except what … [Read more...]

Staring Doubts in the Face

Looking-Into-The-Crater

Before I left DC to start my new job, I arranged a The Great Divorce bookclub with an atheist friend.  Somehow, just in the lead up to the argument we managed to pull in Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell and the Grand Inquisitor scene from The Brothers Karamazov.  (And now I've got him reading Ted Chiang's "Hell is the Absence of God").But aside from the pleasure of a good fight, making my friend grant that this soteriology made more internal sense than he expected, and apparently inspi … [Read more...]

Darren the Humanist Explains it All to You

dancing humanist

This is a guest post, prompted my plea to hear more about how Humanists ground their philophies and people's interest in Darren's thought in the comments.  Thanks Darren for talking about what you defend!There was discussion on Leah’s blog of last week that the tenets of Humanism (or Secular Humanism, as I prefer) appear to lack a certain satisfying specificity. Having read through a few of the official manifestos, I am sympathetic to this view. It is all well and good to espouse Eq … [Read more...]

Straight from the Humanist’s Mouth

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James Croft and Vlad Chituc have both continued to contribute to the discussion of what exactly unites humanists.  Vlad's put up a new post, and James has posted a clarifying comment that I've quoted from below. You seem to think "Humanism" denotes a single, coherent moral system (particularly a metaethical system). He seems to think that it is some sort of equivalent to "virtue ethics" or "utilitarianism" or something.But this is a category error. Humanism, in my understanding, can mean … [Read more...]

Up for a Quest?

dungeons and discourses 1

Scott/Yvain has previously written a truly delightful Dungeons and Discourses game (inspired by these two Dresden Codak comics). Here's an excerpt (which doesn't even include any of the musical numbers or the ingenious solution to Nagel's question: What is it like to be a bat?) In his roundabout way, he identifies himself as Heraclitus, the Fire Mage, one of the four great Elemental Mages of Platonia. Many years ago, he crossed into Origin on some errand, only to be ambushed by his arch-enemy, … [Read more...]


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