The Philosophers Behind the Texts

by Bharath Vallabha ____ For sixteen years I studied and taught philosophy. As a professor I taught Plato, Descartes, Kant, Wittgenstein and Heidegger. I thought I knew Western philosophy. Boy, was I wrong. Though I taught the great texts, in an important sense I didn’t understand them or the thinkers who wrote them. For --... Continue Reading →

Frege’s View of the World

by Mark English ____ Gottlob Frege was a mathematician with strong philosophical interests and preoccupations. In an attempt to discover and make explicit the logical foundations of mathematics he developed -- almost singlehandedly -- the basic ideas of the predicate calculus. But he also had deep and compelling views on language and an appreciation of... Continue Reading →

Some Cranky Thoughts on Philosophers

by Daniel A. Kaufman ___ I haven’t written anything ill-tempered about philosophers in a while. Those who read me regularly will know that for the last two years, I have been managing an ongoing and increasingly bleak situation with my elderly and infirm parents, so the antics of philosophy’s Bright Young Things haven’t seemed very... Continue Reading →

Three Lectures in Aesthetics

by Daniel A. Kaufman ____ Three lectures from this semester's upper-division course in Aesthetics [PHI 320] at Missouri State University.  My topics include: Formalism; Clive Bell; The Wittgenstein-inspired view that 'art' cannot be defined; Morris Weitz; Maurice Mandelbaum; Relational Definitions; and The Institutional Theory of Art. Following the video lecture links are the three sets... Continue Reading →

The Healing of Philosophy

by John Clark Philosophy is in decline. You hear it all the time. The evidence is regularly trotted out: fewer graduates; no jobs; no prospects; a lack of interest from the culture, etc. It’s become a tedious verity. But hold on, how can that be? The oracle of the humanities cast out of public discourse,... Continue Reading →

More on Russell and Lawrence

by Mark English In his autobiography, Bertrand Russell wrote of the “devastating effect” certain criticisms which D.H. Lawrence once made of his social and political views had on him. These events occurred in 1915. “I was inclined to believe that he had some insight denied to me,” Russell wrote, “and when he said that my... Continue Reading →

Crankish Thinking

by Mark English The term ‘conspiracy theory’, though it no doubt serves a useful purpose when used in carefully-considered ways, is most often used in polemical contexts simply as a derogatory descriptor. I want to set down a few ideas on the problem of deciding which ideas in the political realm (and, by extension, which... Continue Reading →

Where the Beauty Lies

by Mark English The neurologist treating my mother’s Parkinson’s disease, an old-school physician with a heavy Afrikaans accent, first suggested using music as part of her treatment some ten years ago. We probably would have got around to it anyway, as she had had some early training in music and retained a great love for... Continue Reading →

In Beethoven’s Shadow

by Mark English “Are you mad?” “But you asked me to play.” “I asked you to play. If you can't think of anything better, play a chromatic scale or a five-finger exercise, but spare me your suburban shopgirl trash.” This exchange comes from a very popular movie of the 1940s, The Seventh Veil. (1) A... Continue Reading →

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