Skip to content

Bits and Pieces – Consciousness and “Wittgenstein/Ryle-Style” (Dis)solutions

By Daniel A. Kaufman ___ The philosophical problem of consciousness is a problem concerning subjectivity. To be conscious is to be conscious of something: a color; a smell; a feeling or emotion; etc.  This is why it is alternatively described as “conscious experience,” “self-consciousness,” etc. Consciousness, therefore, is a kind of point of view. Specifically, it is a first-person point […]

Read More →

“OK Boomer”

by Daniel A. Kaufman ____ When I was in elementary school in the 1970’s, one way a kid might respond to an insult would be to say, “I know you are, but what am I?” The other kid would reply with another insult, to which the insulted would simply repeat the initial response.  This would go on, with escalating annoyance […]

Read More →

Remembering Hal Colebatch

by Mark English If you grew up in London or New York or any other city with a strong literary and/or cinematic tradition or even in towns (such as many in Europe) with strong local traditions and customs, the geography of your childhood has an enhanced reality. I grew up in possibly the most isolated and culturally tenuous capital city […]

Read More →

Exhaustion of the Dialectic as End of History

by E. John Winner ___ (1) Every field of human endeavor requires communication, and in communication, language generates ideas in the ordinary sense of that term (and sometimes in the technical philosophic senses of the term, as well).  Since communication is a process, developing over time and in concrete contexts of social involvement, every idea has a history.  Reviewing the […]

Read More →

Course Notes: Three Lectures on Knowledge

by Daniel A. Kaufman ___ As readers of Course Notes will know, I created an entirely new Introduction to Philosophy course this year. Profound changes in the student population over the last several years, including an apparent inability to understand or even just read classics from the history of philosophy, as well as a troubling increase in the number of […]

Read More →

Legal Fictions: Changing Sex by Changing Gender

by Miroslav Imbrišević A couple of years ago the question ‘What is a woman?’ entered the public imagination. Germaine Greer said in 2015 that transgender women are not women, and the novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie said in 2017: “A trans woman is a trans woman”. But the controversy about who falls under the category ‘woman’ doesn’t just originate with trans […]

Read More →

Random Reflections on Intellectual History, Abstraction and Social and Political Values

by Mark English Complexities Terms like “pragmatism” as it applies to philosophy and the history of ideas – most isms really – are intrinsically vague and useful only to the (necessarily limited) extent that they help to bring out persistent or more fleeting strands or commonalities in thinking within or across populations. Even the views of individuals are often difficult […]

Read More →

The Good Place: A Good Deed in a Weary World

by David Ottlinger We, here at the Agora, are not big fans of Justin Weinberg. He has been wrong about freedom of expression in academia. He has been wrong about whether people should able to make anonymous accusations against public figures. He has been wrong about whether public figures when criticized deserve a right of reply. But his latest take […]

Read More →

Gender: What is it good for? (Absolutely Nothing)

by Sonia Zawitkowski ___ Every time I see another “gender bread person” poster, or the thousandth parrot with no prior contemplation and zero actual understanding that “sex is between your legs and gender between your ears,” I become increasingly tempted to nominate inventor of gender, Dr. John Money, as the number one person I would remove from history if I […]

Read More →