Adolescent Politics

by Daniel A. Kaufman ___ The sub-heading of the late-Christopher Hitchens’ book, God is Not Great, reads: “how religion poisons everything.”  Now, maybe that’s true and maybe it isn’t.  I really don’t know.  But one thing I do know is this: Politics poisons everything. And the reason it does is that we are not serious or mature enough to engage […]

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Oliver Mayo, Evolution by Natural Selection and Ethics: What in evolution has ethical implications?

by David L. Duffy Mayo’s book is a meditation on/updating of Ferdinand Brunetière’s (1894) The morality of evolutionary theory. [1][2] Like Christian de Duve’s Genetics of original sin and the future of life,  Brunetière reckons Original Sin is explained by natural selection. [3] Mayo, however, prefers the Humean line on is-ought. This is an “outsider” book on ethics, in the […]

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Myths of Empire

by Mark English Even bad movies have their moments. The 1953 John Huston film, Beat the Devil, sustains itself well for about 35 minutes before descending into boring and predictable comedy-adventure territory. Roger Ebert thought the film had “effortless charm”. “Once we catch on that nothing much is going to happen,” he wrote, “we can relax and share the amusement […]

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Some Half-Baked Thoughts on Exchangeability and Identity

by David L Duffy ___ Exchangeability is a concept that is closely bound up with ideas of individuality and identity. In probability and statistics, it is a crucial formalized idea that underlies whole areas like Bayesianism and subjective probability. [1] In the mathematical context, exchangeable events or variables can be permuted without altering the properties of the system in which […]

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The Metaphysics of Liberalism

by Mark English I have long felt that there was something problematic about the modern concept of religion, but have only recently started to articulate these concerns and to draw out their potential implications for understanding the rise and decline of Western liberalism. My focus here is a particular tradition of 20th-century liberal thought. As a label for sets of […]

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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 to manage one’s children’s adolescence […]

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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 in the new era of […]

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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 feminist and gay and lesbian […]

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