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Music, Humor, and Politics

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by Mark English P.D.Q. Bach was the youngest and oddest of J.S. Bach’s many children. His best known work is probably the dramatic oratorio, Oedipus Tex, featuring the “O.K. Chorale.” Another of his works is the Pervertimento for Bagpipes, Bicycle and Balloons. Peter Schickele, Professor of Musicology and Musical Pathology at the University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople, who […]

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Zen Master With His Pants on Fire

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by Mark English The commentary, in many cases, is more important than the thing itself. This applies especially to competitions of various kinds. For example, for me the main attraction of the Eurovision Song Contest was listening to Terry Wogan describe it. It certainly was not the music. For many years, Wogan covered the event, gently ridiculing just about everyone […]

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This Week’s Special: George Orwell’s, “Politics and the English Language”

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by Daniel A. Kaufman Orwell’s influential essay, published in 1946, when considered alongside his “The Prevention of Literature” (1946) and the Appendix to 1984, “The Principles of Newspeak” (1949), offers a powerful picture of language and its abuse, especially in the arena of politics.  It is one of those essays that seems more prescient with each year that passes, which […]

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Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll

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by Mark English The phrase “sex, drugs and rock and roll” came up on this site recently. People seemed to be generally in favor, as I recall. It’s just a jokey mantra, I know, but nonetheless it could be seen to express a certain view of the world. And to the extent that it does encapsulate a view of life, […]

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The Dark Side of Medical Research

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by Daniel Tippens I graduated from New York University in 2014 and subsequently began working as a research technician in a lab at the medical school. While our lab is a part of the Department of Surgery and has only one researcher with a Ph.D. (most are M.D.s), we apply for and secure a large number of grants. So, as one […]

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A Modest Critique of Quine’s Web of Belief

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By Daniel Tippens Most of W.V.O Quine’s landmark essay, “Two Dogmas of Empiricism” is devoted to a critique of the analytic/synthetic distinction.  Quine defines an analytic statement as either a logical truth – “Bachelors are bachelors” – or a statement that can be turned into a logical truth by exchanging synonyms –“Bachelors are unmarried men.”  One of the features of […]

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Provocations

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by Daniel A. Kaufman What could the election of Donald Trump possibly have to do with the plight of academic philosophy?   Well, nothing … and everything. First, though, regarding philosophy’s plight.  We’re in trouble, but unfortunately, our leadership seems not to realize it.  Or if they do, they don’t care.  Or are too confused to know how to address it. […]

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Popper on Logic and Truth

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by Mark English It is often said that the foundations of logic are the conventions that we (as users of logic) agree upon. I see problems with this view. For a start, the word ‘logic’ is used in different ways. It is often used to refer to formal logic and applications and developments thereof, but it is also used to […]

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