Explanations in the Social Sciences

By Daniel A. Kaufman I want to sketch some ideas on explanations in the social sciences and how they differ from their counterparts in the physical sciences.  The point is to start a discussion, which I hope will further sharpen my own views on the subject and pave the way for a subsequent, academic paper, as well as a dialogue, […]

Read More →

Atheism – What is it, Exactly?

By Paul So Philosophy of Religion is not my cup of tea, but still I have noticed that there is a tendency among many atheists to define their view as either (1) lacking belief in the existence of God or (2) believing that the existence of God is improbable. As an atheist, I can understand where they are coming from; […]

Read More →

Privelobliviousness

By David Ottlinger What is above all needed is to let the meaning choose the word, and not the other way around. -George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language” *** The invention of new concepts on the internet has become something of a cottage industry. Certain terms of art like “privilege” and “punching up” have long been familiar in the […]

Read More →

Report from the Empire of Nice

by Daniel A. Kaufman The experimental psychologist, Steven Pinker, says that we are getting nicer.  Way nicer.  We kill and rape each other much less than we used to.  (The “rape culture” folks apparently didn’t get the memo.)  We’re less racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, sizeist, ageist, and ableist.  (We’re just less -ist in general.)  We don’t have comedians like Sam Kinison […]

Read More →

Passionate Thinking

by Mark English I want to say something about political and social commitments. In order to make the points I want to make, I will sketch out my own political and social views (and how they have changed) and refer to the views of Isaiah Berlin. But I am also making some general claims about human values and critical thinking. […]

Read More →

On the Value of (truly) Free Speech

by David Ottlinger In the increasingly surreal unfolding of student protests across the country, the provost of Brown University attempted to address students demonstrating over the status of racial minorities. [1] Having just announced a $100 million dollar plan to increase diversity at Brown, the administration could reasonably have expected some good-will from student activists. Instead the provost was submitted […]

Read More →

The Decline of Intergenerational Communication

by Mark English Prompted by some recent discussions on this site and elsewhere about generational divisions, I thought I would put together a few observations, personal thoughts and speculations on the general topic of intergenerational communication. It’s well known that someone who grows up in a non-literate society is ‘wired’ very differently from someone who grows up with the written […]

Read More →

Critical Thinking After the Second World War

by Michael Boyle In my first essay on critical thinking, I focused on the period prior to and during the Second World War. In this essay, I wish to follow the narrative into the post-war years, focusing on two somewhat forgotten scholars (at least in philosophy and, more specifically, critical thinking, as taught in philosophy departments in the US): Stephen Toulmin […]

Read More →