Skip to content

Repugnant Thoughts

By: Daniel Tippens When I was a teenager, I regularly attended church, I was actively engaged in the youth group, and even played the drums in the church band. One thing that I was taught and took as unquestionable moral dogma was that having certain thoughts was morally bad, simply by virtue of having them. It wasn’t just that acting […]

Read More →

This Week’s Special: C.P. Snow’s “The Two Cultures” (1959)

By Michael Boyle http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/students/envs_5110/snow_1959.pdf In 1956, Charles Percy Snow, physicist, novelist, and civil servant, published an article in the New Statesman, which, three years later, he would turn into a Rede Lecture and then publish as a book, The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution. The lecture and the book had a significant impact on the intellectual life of Britain […]

Read More →

A Course for Critical Thinking

By Michael Boyle In light of Dan Kaufman’s recent essay on the humanities, I’d like to sketch out an example of one kind of response, in one small humanities course, to some of the problems that he has identified. Not coincidentally, we are friends and colleagues, teaching in the same department, and so his concerns regarding the challenges facing humanities […]

Read More →

This Week’s Special: Meditation One, in Rene Descartes’ “Meditations on First Philosophy.”

By Daniel A. Kaufman http://selfpace.uconn.edu/class/percep/DescartesMeditations.pdf On tap this week is the (in)famous first Meditation, from Rene Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy.  Specifically, I want to draw attention to the logic at the heart of what is – on its own merits – a critique of our claims to knowledge that is both simple and thought-provoking. Descartes’ self-described aim in the […]

Read More →

On Some Common Rationales for Liberal Education (and why they aren’t very good)

By Daniel A. Kaufman With the exception, perhaps, of those who teach at our most elite universities and liberal arts colleges, it should be apparent to everyone in the higher education business that the humanities and liberal arts are in trouble.  Deteriorating numbers and declining esteem tell the story of subjects that are increasingly perceived as being largely useless to […]

Read More →

Vision is (probably) Informationally Encapsulated from Flavor (Part II)

By Daniel Tippens Some notes on attention and sensory penetration I intend to argue that vision is informationally encapsulated (just “encapsulated” from here on out) from flavor. In the last post, we discussed the ideas of encapsulation and sensory penetration. The notion of encapsulation that I am working with takes place at the level of experience, and sensory penetration takes […]

Read More →

This Week’s Special: Jerry Fodor’s “Special Sciences (Or: the Disunity of Science as a Working Hypothesis)”

By Daniel A. Kaufman http://fitelson.org/woodward/fodor.pdf On tap this week is one of the most influential essays in the philosophy of science, since the Second World War:  Jerry Fodor’s “Special Sciences,” which appeared in the journal Synthese, in 1974. The paper did two very important things.  First, it struck a crippling blow against a certain kind of positivist view of the […]

Read More →

Vision is (probably) Informationally Encapsulated from Flavour (Part I)

By: Daniel Tippens Introduction Let’s understand our sensory systems in a common sense way to refer to the 5 senses we are familiar with: vision, touch, audition, and so on. A sensory system, understood in this paper, is characterized by certain sense organs, specific brain-areas dedicated to processing the information that those sense organs receive, and a certain kind of […]

Read More →