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Judaism and Reform

    My discussion on Judaism and Reform Judaism, with Rabbi Barbara Block, of Temple Israel, Springfield, MO.  Originally aired on MeaningofLife.TV, part of the BloggingHeads.TV network, January 11, 2016. *Featured Image:  Victoria Kaufman chanting Torah, during her Bat-Mitzvah, with her grandfather, Alexander Kaufman, her grandmother, Suzanne Kaufman, and Rabbi Barbara Block, looking on.  (April, 2015)

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Facts and Values

by Mark English Though we all obviously share a physical environment – a bluish, dirty-watery, middling sort of planet orbiting a medium-sized, middle-aged star – we live in very different worlds in terms of culture and so in terms of group-based and individual values. But what exactly does the existence of these multiple, and often conflicting, perspectives and value systems […]

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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, […]

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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; […]

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A Discussion on Star Wars

By Daniel A. Kaufman My discussion with Aryeh Cohen-Wade on Star Wars: the Force Awakens and more generally, on the cultural significance of the Star Wars (and Star Trek) franchises. Warning: Spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Originally aired on BHTV, January 2, 2016, on the “Culturally Determined” program.  

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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 […]

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This Week’s Special: Gottlob Frege’s, “On Sense and Reference.”

By Daniel A. Kaufman http://brommage.freeshell.org/tlp/Frege.pdf On tap this week is likely the single most influential paper in the philosophy of language, Gottlob Frege’s “On Sense and Reference” (Über Sinn und Bedeutung), originally published in 1892.  So many and wide-ranging are the paper’s implications that philosophers are still talking about it today.  While the tide certainly has turned against the Fregean […]

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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 […]

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