Provocations

by Daniel A. Kaufman The clusterfuck that is the Indiana “bathroom bill” (and every other similar piece of legislation) has drawn a lot of negative attention to some pretty terrible people, which, I guess, is a good thing, but it also has brought to light a number of confusions that seem to surround issues of sex, gender, and segregated environments; […]

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Goldsteinism in San Francisco

By David Ottlinger On a bright, cold day in April (actually it was late March), undergraduate Cory Goldstein was on his San Francisco State University campus. [1] He was confronted by two fellow students, both African American, who stood in his path. Goldstein is white. The first, a young woman, looked up to the second and asked, “Do you have […]

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Some Thoughts on Linguistic Prescriptivism and Manners

by Mark English A commenter’s disapproving reference to a ‘comma splice’ in a discussion thread dealing with America’s increasingly polarized social and political environment [1] brought to mind Karl Kraus, the Viennese journalist and writer; and, in particular, this famous story about a 1932 meeting (told by the composer Ernst Křenek): ‘At a time when people were generally decrying the […]

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Course Notes – On Essential and Accidental Properties

By Daniel A. Kaufman Just got finished teaching Copi’s “Essence and Accident” (1) and Cartwright’s “Remarks on Essentialism” (2), in my Knowledge and Reality course, and the issues strike me as important – and interesting – enough, for an edition of Course Notes. The question of whether the things in the world have essential properties or “essences” is a longstanding […]

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This Week’s Special: John Stuart Mill’s “Utilitarianism.”

by Daniel A. Kaufman http://socserv.mcmaster.ca/econ/ugcm/3ll3/mill/utilitarianism.pdf One of the two most well-known, most influential works in moral philosophy – the other is Kant’s Groundwork  for the Metaphysics of Morals – Utilitarianism has the virtue of being highly readable, intuitively plausible (at least on first glance), and blissfully short.  Moral philosophy done at its very best. The theory is based on a […]

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