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This Week’s Special:  Frank Sibley’s, “Aesthetic Concepts”

By Daniel A. Kaufman http://rci.rutgers.edu/~tripmcc/phil/poa/sidley-aestheticconcepts-controversy.pdf On tap this week is a paper that has had an enormous influence on contemporary aesthetics:  Frank Sibley’s 1959 paper, “Aesthetic Concepts.” The central message of Sibley’s thesis is essentially critical: Aesthetic concepts are not ascribed by way of criteria, but instead, require taste / discernment / perceptiveness to apply.   Beyond aesthetics, Sibley’s critique is […]

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Provocations

by Daniel A. Kaufman  On Some Downsides of Unlimited Choice Even as I make use of the internet and benefit from its near-universal reach, I find myself quite gloomy about much of its impact.  In particular, I am concerned that it has expanded choice to a point beyond which it is an uncontroversial good. As is often the case, G.K. […]

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The Decline of Intergenerational Communication

by Mark English Prompted by some recent discussions on this site and elsewhere about generational divisions, I thought I would put together a few observations, personal thoughts and speculations on the general topic of intergenerational communication. It’s well known that someone who grows up in a non-literate society is ‘wired’ very differently from someone who grows up with the written […]

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Critical Thinking After the Second World War

by Michael Boyle In my first essay on critical thinking, I focused on the period prior to and during the Second World War. In this essay, I wish to follow the narrative into the post-war years, focusing on two somewhat forgotten scholars (at least in philosophy and, more specifically, critical thinking, as taught in philosophy departments in the US): Stephen Toulmin […]

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The Scrooge Charade

By David Ottlinger “Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias.” [1] Ladies and gentleman, I have lately been informed of a “grand deception” and “lie”, enthralling millions across the country. This epidemic is the cause of widespread un-critical thinking and is a major […]

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Let’s Cease the Santa Charade

By: David Kyle Johnson The notion that we should lie to our children about Santa Claus enjoys a kind of sacred protection that modern religious beliefs can only dream of in the Western world. Don’t believe me? This very year, a mother in California was threatened with a lawsuit because her son spilled the beans about Santa at school. [1] […]

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This Week’s Special: Cora Diamond’s, “Eating Meat and Eating People.”

by Daniel A. Kaufman http://www.laurentillinghast.com/DiamondEatingMeat.pdf Cora Diamond is one of the finest of the contemporary Wittgensteinians and more generally, one of the finest contemporary analytic philosophers.  On tap this week, is her outstanding – and influential – essay on the subject of animal rights, “Eating Meat and Eating People,” in which she presents a powerful critique of contemporary ethical arguments […]

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That’s Not Funny

By David Ottlinger One good thing to come in the wake of these frequently misguided and often intolerant student protests has been a real and surprisingly hopeful national conversation about public discourse. I can’t remember a time when so much energy (and printer’s ink) has gone into debating free speech and censorship. I want to focus on one small area […]

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