Ethics, Criteria, and Moral “Thickness”

by Daniel A. Kaufman When speaking of morals, the overwhelming view among philosophers is that they are criterial.  Something – some action or a state of affairs – is right or wrong, obligatory or prohibited, because it satisfies certain criteria; criteria that typically come from a larger moral theory.  Thus, for a Utilitarian, actions are right or wrong, obligatory or […]

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Astro Boy and the Mark of the Human

by E. John Winner Astro Boy is a conscious robot, nuclear-powered, with synthetic skin giving him the appearance of a twelve-year-old boy, and plastic hair that sticks out like horns from the top and the left of his head. He has lasers in his fingertips, rockets in his limbs, blasters in his arms, a super-computer for a brain, “100,000 horsepower” […]

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A Discussion with Bill Nye

by Paul So After having been resurrected from the dead by Athena and brought up to speed on thousands of years worth of philosophy, science, and culture, Socrates has been touring the globe, confronting philosophical fools, fakes, and frauds.  Today, he finds himself with science popularizer, Bill Nye, live on Big Think’s YouTube channel.  The topic is Nye’s recent comments, regarding […]

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Course Notes – Donald Davidson, “On the Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme”

By Daniel A. Kaufman Well, we’ve arrived at the last set of Course Notes for the Knowledge and Reality course I taught this past Spring.  I look forward to picking the series up again, with the upper-division Aesthetics course I will be teaching in the Fall. In our last installment, we talked about Quine’s account of conceptual and ontological relativity, […]

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Technological Man and The Jungle Book

by David Ottlinger **For those who have not seen the recent Jungle Book film, this essay includes Spoilers. When I was in school, I attended a lecture by a well-respected historian. The subject of the lecture was gardens in eighteenth and nineteenth century France and England. [1] It wasn’t as dull as it might sound, and the implications were surprisingly […]

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Provocations

by Daniel A. Kaufman Righteous Business Ideological do-goodism has infected American business – or at least some of American business – to the point that I find myself pining for rapacious capitalists. Just this past April, my parents were visiting us, for Pesach, as well as for my daughter’s fourteenth birthday.  (This year, the birthday and first-night Seder were just […]

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On Philosophy and Its Progress (a response — of sorts — to Massimo Pigliucci)

by Daniel A. Kaufman Massimo Pigliucci has just finished publishing his book, The Nature of Philosophy: How Philosophy Makes Progress and Why It Matters, in serial form over at his blog, Plato’s Footnote. (1)  Just the other day, the first of three video-dialogues on the book aired on the Sophia program, over at MeaningofLife.TV.  (2)  Needless to say, I’ve been […]

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