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Dangerous Times: Thoughts on the US Presidential Election


by Mark English “Could fear of Trump rattle Stoics, while fear of death finds no purchase?” Dwayne Holmes was alluding to self-styled Stoic Massimo Pigliucci’s readiness – in the face of the possibility of a Trump presidency – to endorse over-the-top, emotion-driven political analysis. [1] Panic levels are certainly high in liberal and progressive circles, and if current trends continue […]

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First Party Spoilers


by Dwayne Holmes With Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump placed as front runners to be the next president of the United States (POTUS), voters are being warned against voting for third party candidates. Exploiting fear of “third party spoilers” is routine in any close election and is meant largely to keep party members from straying. That both major parties chose divisive […]

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Course Notes


by Daniel A. Kaufman Well, school is back and session and that means that it’s time to resume publishing Course Notes!  My courses have undergone a significant transformation this year, and I am looking forward to sharing some of the more interesting developments with the Electric Agora audience. Most importantly, I have completely revamped my Introduction to Philosophy course, after […]

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Science and Natural Language


by Mark English I once watched a nature documentary about a group of lions in the wild. At one stage a lioness and her cubs found themselves separated from the group. After a period of time during which she almost starved and her cubs were killed, she finally managed to rejoin the group. The other lions certainly recognized her and […]

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Voting and the Lesser of Two Evils


by David Ottlinger Everyone is saying it — from senior politicians, to top military brass, to hoary political commentators, to editors of The Electric Agora: “I can’t vote for Hillary and I can’t vote for Donald Trump.”  I can understand why so many have been moved to make this statement and God knows I empathize with the sentiment behind it. […]

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The Elimination of Literature


E. John Winner Every now and then, I’ll be walking down a street and come upon a box of books being set out for trash, and if they’re in good condition, I’ll look through them for anything of interest.  Some time ago, I found a massive High School English text-book, which I took to be an anthology of literature, and […]

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Prescription, Reason and Force


By Daniel A. Kaufman Philosophy is largely a normative discipline, which means that philosophers expend a good amount of energy telling you what you ought to believe, say, and do.  Just look at the concepts with which philosophy is most preoccupied: ‘truth’ – something you should believe – ‘justification’ – a reason you should accept – ‘good’ – something you […]

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