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Nationalism and Mythical Thinking


by Mark English A lot of nonsense is talked about “destiny.” I’m referring here to the idea that individuals or groups can be seen to have some kind of pre-existing or pre-ordained path to fulfillment that they may discover and embrace. Certainly, given an individual, say, at a particular stage of life, there are choices he or she may make – […]

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Please Welcome The Electric Agora’s Newest Contributor: Margaret Rowley


Margaret Rowley is a PhD student in ethnomusicology at Boston University, where she works variously on music and gender, nationalism, and torture. Her academic influences come from a broadening array of disciplines, including anthropology, philosophy, and sociology; she is a passionate, if concerned, advocate for the humanities in higher education. Prior to her time at Boston University, she completed degrees […]

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What Should We Do When Values Clash? Moving Forward On Campus Debates


By Daniel Tippens An abridged version of this essay originally appeared here on Quillette Magazine. In 2016, allegations of sexual harassment against Thomas Pogge, an internationally recognized professor of philosophy, came to public light. Accusations against him had been made by other students in the past, but the most widely publicized claims were brought by Fernanda Lopez Aguilar, who said […]

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Violence and Identity


by E. John Winner “I wouldn’t have it any other way” The Wild Bunch is a 1969 film directed by Sam Peckinpah (written by Peckinpah and Walon Green) [1]. Nominally a Western, it tells the story of a gang of aging outlaws in the days leading up to their last gun battle. After a failed payroll robbery, in which more […]

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Trigger Locke


by Dwayne Holmes A recent video discussion posted at The Electric Agora tried to pin down the history and definition of “classical liberalism.” [1] This largely agreed with my own understanding. However, at one point Dan and David addressed Social Contract theory, particularly as derived from John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government. There, Locke contrasted life in the state of […]

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Political Myth, Conspiracy and Foreign Policy


by Mark English Apparently a number of highly-placed representatives of the intelligence community were recently taken in by a fanciful report concerning Donald Trump’s sexual activities during a visit to Moscow. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov branded the former MI6 officer who authored the report in question a “swindler” who trades in “absurdities.” The Russian President also weighed in, suggesting […]

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What can Moral Psychology do for Normative Ethics?


By: Daniel Tippens A heated debate has arisen since the rise of moral psychology as a scientific discipline. Moral psychology examines, descriptively, how we come to make moral judgments and have moral intuitions (these two terms I will henceforth use interchangeably). Some thinkers argue that normative ethics — the study of what we morally ought to do — can be […]

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Classical Liberalism (Part One)


by Daniel A. Kaufman The first of two conversations with our own David Ottlinger on Classical Liberalism and American Society.  Here, we go into some depth on what Classical Liberalism is and how it is expressed in the work of its two most foundational thinkers: John Locke and John Stuart Mill.  In our second conversation, we focus on Classical Liberalism […]

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