Some Thoughts on the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

by Daniel A. Kaufman ____ [1] Whatever one thinks of the idea that Russia requires some “buffer zone” around its country (in the age of missiles, drones, and air and sea power, the notion that land-contiguity offers some special threat from major powers strikes me as making little sense), Russian expansion will just mean that... Continue Reading →

Caring and Catering

by Daniel A. Kaufman ___ Recently, I was involved in an exchange between several philosophers, on the subject of conversations between ethical vegans and meat eaters about the rightness or wrongness of eating meat. The following remarks by one of the participants caught my attention: “…it definitely seems gauche to defend eating meat while eating... Continue Reading →

Twenty-Five Things Everyone Used to Understand

by Daniel A. Kaufman ___ What strikes me more than anything about our current moment is how utterly alien the dominant zeitgeist is from that of just a few decades ago. Increasingly, I find myself unable even to comprehend people’s reactions to social, political, and cultural developments, let alone identify with them. This rather abrupt... Continue Reading →

Two Introductory lectures on ethical theory

by Daniel A. Kaufman ___ This semester, I am once again teaching all-online [hopefully for the last time].  Here are the two opening lectures for my Ethics and Contemporary Issues course, in which I give a brief overview of ethical theory.  Below them you will find the lecture notes that accompany the videos and which... Continue Reading →

Lives and Principles

by Daniel A. Kaufman ___ The older I get, the more I appreciate the importance of having principles and of living a life of integrity and honor. I recognize this quality in my friends, too, and it’s admirable. People who lack these qualities are sad, and likely are surrounded by others without scruples. --Nicholas A.... Continue Reading →

Prolegomena for a Pluralist Metaphysics: One More Thing (Some Stuff about God and Intelligibility)

by Daniel A. Kaufman ___ Of all things the measure is man, of the things that are, that they are, and of things that are not, that they are not.    --Protagoras 1. A common mistake that people (and philosophers, especially) make is to look for intelligibility in the wrong place. This is made worse by... Continue Reading →

Hedonism

by Daniel A. Kaufman ___ Civilization has…no need of nobility or heroism.  These things are symptoms of political inefficiency.  In a properly organized society like ours, nobody has any opportunities for being noble or heroic.  People are happy; they get what they want, and they never want what they can’t get. —Mustapha Mond (1) 1.... Continue Reading →

Provocations

by Daniel A. Kaufman Last month, while preparing for our big Thanksgiving feast for over a dozen guests, the following item from Vox caught my eye. How to host Thanksgiving dinner when everyone has a dietary restriction by Julia Belluz On holidays like Thanksgiving, we bring our weight loss diets, health issues, aversions, religious beliefs,... Continue Reading →

Course Notes – G.E.M Anscombe’s “Modern Moral Philosophy”

by Daniel A. Kaufman http://www.pitt.edu/~mthompso/readings/mmp.pdf We are nearing the end of the semester in my Theories of Ethics course and have just completed our discussions of my favorite reading, Elizabeth Anscombe’s “Modern Moral Philosophy.” (MMP) Not only do I think it is Anscombe’s greatest philosophical accomplishment – beyond her translating, editing, and publishing of Wittgenstein,... Continue Reading →

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