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Knowledge and Reality

by Daniel A. Kaufman EDITORS NOTE:  This essay originally appeared on Dan Kaufman’s previous blog, Apophenia.  We are reprinting it here, as a preface to a video discussion bewteen Dan Tippens and Dan Kaufman on realism, anti-realism, and our knowledge of the world.  That discussion will be posted this Thursday. __________________________________________________________________ If you were to go to the trouble of asking ordinary people about […]

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Constitutional Originalism and Religious Fundamentalism — Two Sides of the Same Coin

By Steve Snyder “Originalism” has arguably been the most prominent theory of legal interpretation of the U.S. Constitution since Antonin Scalia became an associate justice of the Supreme Court some 30 years ago. Scalia has been a regular lecturer at conservative legal conferences of organizations like the Federalist Society, where he advances the originalist point of view. With the addition […]

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This Week’s Special: Susan Sontag’s “Against Interpretation”

By Daniel A. Kaufman http://employees.csbsju.edu/dbeach/beautytruth/Sontag-Against%20Interpretation.pdf On tap this week is Susan Sontag’s influential attack on a certain kind of intellectualist approach to art, in “Against Interpretation” (1964), reprinted in the collection Against Interpretation (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1966). The kind of interpretation that Sontag is against is not the common, largely unconscious variety that is always going on, […]

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Acceptance, Belief, and the Question of Informal Fallacies

By Daniel Tippens Introduction Informal fallacies have become a hot topic in some circles. An informal fallacy is an argumentative move that may be psychologically persuasive, but is logically incorrect. [1] For example, an argument from authority is an informal fallacy, because it involves basing one’s conclusion on the premise that one is an expert with regard to something related […]

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Critical Thinking Before the Second World War

By Michael Boyle One of the most frequently heard phrases in discussions of higher education today is “critical thinking.”  Whether the setting is a college classroom, a presentation by a university administrator, a political speech, or reports concerning what skills employers are looking for, there’s a good chance that the phrase “critical thinking” will crop up somewhere. This ubiquity, however, […]

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This Week’s Special: Quine’s “Two Dogmas of Empiricism”

By Daniel A. Kaufman http://www.ditext.com/quine/quine.html On tap this week is one of the most influential philosophy papers of the last century, Willard Van Orman Quine’s “Two Dogmas of Empiricism,” which initially appeared in the Philosophical Review in 1951 and was later reprinted in his book, From a Logical Point of View, first published in 1953. The paper is widely believed […]

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Interpretation and Identity in the Arts

By Daniel A. Kaufman The late and greatest of the post-Second World War aestheticians, Arthur Danto, believed that artworks are constituted by their interpretations; that what makes this artwork this one and not that one is that this one means one thing and that one means something else. (Danto: 1986)  The art-critical project, on this view, is crucial to the […]

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