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

philosophy_discussion

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...]

“Give Us More To See”

"But how George looks. He could look forever As if he sees you and he doesn't all at once."

Yesterday, I used Georges Seurat (as imagined by Stephen Sondheim in Sunday in the Park with George) to open up a discussion about the difficulty of pursuing intimacy with God (or, often, other people).  Play!George might approve of my framing a discussion of truth through artifice, since that's exactly how he manages to see and comprehend others in the show.  In "Finishing the Hat" (below), George explains that he can only understand or interact with people from a distance.Entering the wo … [Read more...]

Can you Cyrano de Bergerac your moral philosophy?

school of athens

Yesterday, I linked to Luke Muelhauser's commentary on the inability of philosophers to come to consensus.  He's continued on the topic, proposing a curriculum for building better philosophers in "Train Philosophers with Pearl and Kahneman, not Plato and Kant."His list of recommended topics include Bayesian statistics, machine learning, mathematical logic, game theory, cognitive neuroscience, etc.  (Go to the link to see his syllabus).  When you look over all the prerequisites, you can see wh … [Read more...]

The First Thing We Do, Let’s Kill All the Philosophers

"What sat in those three chairs was three men, though hard to recognize as men till you looked closely. Their hair, which was gray, had grown over their eyes till it almost concealed their faces, and their beards had grown over the table, climbing round and entwining plates and goblets as brambles entwine a fence, until, all mixed in one great mat of hair, they flowed over the edge and down to the floor. And from their heads the hair hung over the backs of their chairs so that they were wholly hidden. In fact the three men were nearly all hair."

I know there are some rumblings in yesterday's thread about sin, judgment, and necessity about my being tardy to reply to comments.  When there's such a fast discussion (over 100 comments in 12 hours, I can't pop in and out as much as I'd like to.  I did quite appreciate Steve Schuler's comment that, even though my tardiness was frustrating, "For my purposes the best aspect of Leah’s blog are the comments threads and the overall civil and thoughtful exchanges I am able to read here."  Ag … [Read more...]


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