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Course Notes – Susan Wolf, “Moral Saints”

by Daniel A. Kaufman http://www.rationalites-contemporaines.paris-sorbonne.fr/IMG/pdf/Wolf1.pdf I am currently teaching Ethics and Contemporary Issues, a course devoted to ethical theories and moral controversies that is part of the university’s General Education curriculum.  The opening unit is devoted to theory, and one of the essays we take up, towards the unit’s end, is Susan Wolf’s “Moral Saints,” originally published in 1982. Up […]

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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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Thoughts on Israel and the Current “Situation”

by Daniel A. Kaufman ___ An extended (and somewhat frustrating) conversation in the discussion thread on Robert Wright’s latest video on BloggingHeads.TV finds me needing to address something I’ve been wanting to talk about for some time. [1]  The subject is Israel and its “situation” and what our attitude towards both should be.  Rather than put together a formal essay, […]

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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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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) Talk Talk, “Life’s What You Make it” Live in 1986 Hilary Putnam on Naïve Realism and Qualia Comprehensive Documentary on the Incomparable Black Adder Chanukah May be Over but Here’s a Great Latkes Recipe https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1015533-classic-potato-latkes

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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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