New Year Musings

By Daniel A. Kaufman ___ Middle age is widely believed to be challenging, because it is the point at which we become uncomfortably aware of our mortality. I turned 50 this year, and my own experience has been that the hardest thing about middle age is that it is the time when one simultaneously has... Continue Reading →

Bernard Williams, Blackadder, and Latkes

by Daniel A. Kaufman Terrific piece on the philosophy of Bernard Williams https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/public/bernard-williams-ethics-human-point-view/ Bad Religion, Live in 1989 (Complete show) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ff3vOOPj4ek&t= Talk Talk, “Life’s What You Make it” Live in 1986 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzUkRwmvbNQ Hilary Putnam on Naïve Realism and Qualia https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJG1p_JyKsE Comprehensive Documentary on the Incomparable Black Adder https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yi2bX2u5HpA&t= Chanukah May be Over but Here’s a... Continue Reading →

The Imperative to Leave Academia

by Bharath Vallabha In the coming decades academic philosophy is going to dwindle significantly. When I see philosophy departments shutting down, I feel bad for the people losing their jobs and for PhDs looking for jobs. But as someone who left academia, I also think: “Let’s go! There is a lot of work to do... Continue Reading →

The End of Traditional Civil Rights?

by Daniel A. Kaufman ___ I’m concerned that we may be witnessing the beginning of the end of civil rights, as traditionally understood.  The fight for civil rights was born with the original women’s movement of the late 19th century** and may very well may die with the contemporary gender-identity movement that has engulfed both... Continue Reading →

Inventing Religion

by Mark English Nouns and adjectives like ‘religion’ and ‘religious’ can be seen as more or less useful classificatory terms. More – or less – useful, as I say. The standard view is that there are various sets of practices (customs and rituals) and grand narratives and beliefs (concerning spiritual or magical beings and powers)... Continue Reading →

A Duty to Laugh at Oneself and the View from Nowhere

by David L. Duffy [T]he main ideas of the European Enlightenment [include]...practicing irony and especially self-irony." –Karl Popper (1) I hope my thesis is self-evident from the title: that laughter (especially directed against yourself) is a good and requires some level of distancing. I exclude "low humor" involving various types of aggression to the butt,... Continue Reading →

Compassion and Resentment in the Age of #MeToo

by Mikhail Valdman The Walking Wounded People’s physical wounds are sometimes visible.  Their emotional wounds are hidden from view, sometimes buried so deep that not even their bearer can spot them.  But imagine that it was all visible.  Imagine that you had a pair of magic glasses with which you could see people’s physical and... Continue Reading →

The Many Cups of Coffee

E. John Winner 1. Semiotic interpretation is important, and yet it is somewhat variable and changeable, depending on the context in which it occurs. Consider the crucifix: if found in a Catholic church we interpret it one way; in a vampire movie another; and hanging around the neck of a Hell’s Angel motorcyclist something else... Continue Reading →

Radicalism and Religion

by Mark English Saul of Tarsus, later known as Paul, had been involved with a mystical form of Judaism (possibly Merkabah) before he joined the early-first-century Jewish sect which became (largely through his own writings and missionary activities) a new religion quite distinct from Judaism. Paul knew that his teachings were unacceptable to most devout... Continue Reading →

Course Notes – Paul Churchland, “Eliminative Materialism and the Propositional Attitudes”

by Daniel A. Kaufman https://ruccs.rutgers.edu/images/personal-zenon-pylyshyn/class-info/FP2012_readings/Churchland_EliminativeMaterialsm.pdf In the philosophy of mind, apart from sensations, with their perplexing “qualia,” intentional states, the so-called “propositional attitudes,” have proven materialism’s biggest headache.  Materialism’s greatest hope, functionalism – and particularly its computational variety – ran into trouble with the propositional attitudes by way of the Chinese (or at least, one... Continue Reading →

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