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“Special” People

by Mark English I don’t know if it makes much sense to talk about some people having a privileged background. These days this usually means having rich parents. And while I think that – all other things being equal – having rich parents certainly beats having dirt-poor parents, I’m not convinced that having rich – as distinct from just average-income – […]

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Vicarious Grief

by Daniel Tippens A few months after my dad’s death in March 2011, I stood on the porch outside of my family home in Maryland. The sun had just risen, and I looked up and took in the scene: an acre of glistening green grass bordered by a thin lining of pine trees, their branches reaching downward to touch the […]

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Dangerous Times: Thoughts on the US Presidential Election

by Mark English “Could fear of Trump rattle Stoics, while fear of death finds no purchase?” Dwayne Holmes was alluding to self-styled Stoic Massimo Pigliucci’s readiness – in the face of the possibility of a Trump presidency – to endorse over-the-top, emotion-driven political analysis. [1] Panic levels are certainly high in liberal and progressive circles, and if current trends continue […]

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Moral Reflections Inspired by (some of) the Ten Commandments

by Daniel A. Kaufman Reflection on the explicitly moral commandments in the Decalogue raises a number of interesting considerations, in the area of Ethics.  I am thinking, specifically, of the following (translation is the 1985, Jewish Publication Society’s Tanakh): You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. One thing to note is that when translated […]

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First Party Spoilers

by Dwayne Holmes With Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump placed as front runners to be the next president of the United States (POTUS), voters are being warned against voting for third party candidates. Exploiting fear of “third party spoilers” is routine in any close election and is meant largely to keep party members from straying. That both major parties chose divisive […]

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Course Notes — Plato, Meno

by Daniel A. Kaufman Well, school is back and session and that means that it’s time to resume publishing Course Notes!  My courses have undergone a significant transformation this year, and I am looking forward to sharing some of the more interesting developments with the Electric Agora audience. Most importantly, I have completely revamped my Introduction to Philosophy course, after […]

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Science and Natural Language

by Mark English I once watched a nature documentary about a group of lions in the wild. At one stage a lioness and her cubs found themselves separated from the group. After a period of time during which she almost starved and her cubs were killed, she finally managed to rejoin the group. The other lions certainly recognized her and […]

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Voting and the Lesser of Two Evils

by David Ottlinger Everyone is saying it — from senior politicians, to top military brass, to hoary political commentators, to editors of The Electric Agora: “I can’t vote for Hillary and I can’t vote for Donald Trump.”  I can understand why so many have been moved to make this statement and God knows I empathize with the sentiment behind it. […]

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