Year: 2017

  • Ordinary and Scientific Views of the World and the Nature of Language

    by Mark English I have been engaged in some private and public discussions recently about the extent to which a scientific worldview relates to our ordinary non-scientific view of the world, and I want to pull together some provisional thoughts on the matter, especially as it relates to language. Science and ordinary thinking As I […]

  • Philistinism and Philosophy

    by Daniel A. Kaufman Art is a means of union among men, joining them together in the same feelings, and indispensable for the life and progress towards well-being of individuals and of humanity. If men lacked this capacity of being infected by art, people might be more savage still, and above all, more separated from, […]

  • Provocations

    by Daniel A. Kaufman Last month, while preparing for our big Thanksgiving feast for over a dozen guests, the following item from Vox caught my eye. How to host Thanksgiving dinner when everyone has a dietary restriction by Julia Belluz On holidays like Thanksgiving, we bring our weight loss diets, health issues, aversions, religious beliefs, […]

  • Two Inches off the Ground

    by Mark English Sorting through some old papers, I came across a letter from John Spencer Hill who taught a Master’s course on Romanticism that I took. The letter had been written not long after his return to Canada to take up a position at the University of Ottawa. He would have been in his […]

  • Sex / Gender / Politics

    By E. John Winner Introduction 1953 saw the release one of the worst films ever made – Glen or Glenda, written and directed by the master of bad cinema, Ed Wood. Promising to be an exploitation film about the then new transsexual surgery conducted in Sweden, it is really a boldly auto-biographical revelation of Wood’s […]

  • Course Notes – Bernard Williams, “The Human Prejudice”

    by Daniel A. Kaufman The last unit of my introductory level “Ethics and Contemporary Issues” course is devoted to the question of moral concern for non-human animals.  We begin with excerpts from Peter Singer’s Practical Ethics, then move on to Cora Diamond’s “Eating Meat and Eating People” (which I discussed in a This Week’s […]

  • Where the Beauty Lies

    by Mark English The neurologist treating my mother’s Parkinson’s disease, an old-school physician with a heavy Afrikaans accent, first suggested using music as part of her treatment some ten years ago. We probably would have got around to it anyway, as she had had some early training in music and retained a great love for […]

  • Bits and Pieces — ‘Exists’ / ‘Real’

    by Daniel A. Kaufman 1. You are talking with a friend who is, perhaps, a bit too taken with superhero comics. Halfway into an enthusiastic speech regarding the virtues of Captain America, you say to him gently, “You do realize that Captain America doesn’t exist, right?” What effect is this supposed to have on him? […]

  • The Price of Freedom?

    by David Ottlinger “This is the price of freedom.” Such were the thoughts of Bill O’Reilly upon receiving reports of nearly sixty people being fatally shot at an outdoor Las Vegas concert. (1) O’Reilly, it would seem, is able to crystallize his thoughts with enviable quickness. The quotation appeared in a short post only the […]

  • Degrees of Assimilation

    by Mark English In a recent essay, Daniel Kaufman recalled the days when he and a couple of friends used to climb through a hole in the perimeter fence of their junior high school on Long Island and have lunch at Andel’s Kosher Delicatessen – “Hebrew National hot dogs, potato knishes, and half-sour pickles, washing […]