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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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) to which different human groups […]

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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, where “taking the joke” on […]

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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 altogether, depending on what we […]

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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 Jews and would be perceived […]

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