Conversational Implicature: What We Say vs. What We Mean

Tricky. South Vietnam’s President Nguyễn Văn Thiệu meeting President Richard Nixon on 2 April 1973. Flickr/AP By Dr. Maria Kasmirli / 04.20.2018 Philosopher and Teacher Imagine you have been asked to review the reference letters provided by the candidates for a lectureship in philosophy. One reads: ‘My former student, Dr Jack Smith, is polite, punctual and[…]

What Did Hannah Arendt Really Mean by the ‘Banality of Evil’?

Adolf Eichmann at his 1961 trial. / Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Thomas White / 04.23.2018 Visiting Professor in Philosophy and Economics Mount Holyoke College Can one do evil without being evil? This was the puzzling question that the philosopher Hannah Arendt grappled with when she reported for The New Yorker in 1961 on the war crimes trial of Adolph Eichmann, the[…]

Lady Philosophy: Boethius and Loving Wisdom in Early Medieval Rome

Lady Philosophy offers Boethius wings so his mind can fly aloft. The French School (15th Century). A favourite text during the Middle Ages was The Consolation of Philosophy, written by the medieval philosopher, Boethius. By Dr. Laura D’Olimpio Senior Lecturer in Philosophy University of Notre Dame Australia A favourite text during the Middle Ages was The Consolation of Philosophy,[…]

Understanding Scientific Theories

By Dr. Bryan W. Roberts Associate Professor of Philosophy, Logic, and Scientific Method London School of Economics & Political Science The Most Exclusive Club Getting to be called a “scientific theory” is like joining a very exclusive club. Not just anything can get in. Some claims that deserve to be called science have been called non-science. And[…]

The Limits of Science

By Dr. Bryan W. Roberts Associate Professor of Philosophy, Logic, and Scientific Method London School of Economics & Political Science Prolegomena One Sunday morning in Seattle, the rainy little city near where I grew up, a pair of newly weds sat down to have breakfast together. They drank their coffee. They ate their toast. They shared[…]

Race, Difference, and Religion: Is There a Universal Humanity?

A review of Theodore Vial’s Modern Religion, Modern Race By Dr. Ruth Jackson / 03.16.2018 Research Fellow Sidney Sussex College University of Cambridge In an episode from the third season of Mad Men, which is set in the early 1960s and follows a fictional advertising firm on Madison Avenue, a young and forthright accounts man proposes a marketing strategy[…]

Modern Empiricism

David Hume / Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Bryan W. Roberts Associate Professor of Philosophy, Logic, and Scientific Method London School of Economics & Political Science The Wolf in Grammatical Clothing One important concern of philosophy is the question of when one “knows” a proposition, as opposed to merely believing it. But a precondition for knowing a is that[…]

Philosophy and Religion: Often a Marriage of Inconvenience

Photo by David Evers, Flickr, Creative Commons Like academic philosophy itself, the idea that philosophy and religion are in conflict is recent, only gaining widespread appeal in modernity. By Samuel Loncar / 03.02.2018 PhD Candidate in Religious Studies Yale University We think of philosophy today as an austere, secular, and narrowly academic enterprise. Because of its secularity[…]

The Self-Reliant Individual is a Myth that Needs Updating

Henry David Thoreau in 1856 / Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Kimberly Brownlee / 02.04.2016 Professor of Philosophy University of Warwick Great loners are fascinating. Henry David Thoreau at Walden Pond, Buddhist monks in their hermitage, and fictional heroes such as Robinson Crusoe are all romantic figures of successful solitary survival. Their setting is the wilderness.[…]

It Wasn’t Just the Philosophers Like Diderot Who Invented the Enlightenment

Presocratic Natural Philosophers from History of Science – Science in Ancient Egypt and the Aegean By Dr. Paola Bertucci / 03.04.2018 Associate Professor of History and History of Medicine Yale University The Greek philosopher Plato tells in his Theaetetus that the astronomer and early philosopher Thales was looking at the sky on a starry night, when he stumbled[…]

What is “Information” in Information Philosophy?

Stanford University / Creative Commons By Dr. Bob Doyle Associate, Astronomy Department Harvard University Information The simple definition of information is the act of informing – the communication of knowledge from a sender to a receiver that informs (literally shapes) the receiver.By information we mean a quantity that can be understood mathematically and physically. It corresponds[…]

Culture, Heritage, and Ethics

By Dr. Constantine Sandis[1] Professor of Philosophy University of Hertfordshire Introduction Heritage is that which has been or may be inherited, regardless of its value. Unfortunately, the term ‘heritage’ (the thirteenth-century English word is derived from the Latin haeres, meaning heir or heiress) is nowadays frequently used for purposes best described as touristic, to sell everything[…]

Civil Liberties and Civil Rights in Political Science

Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 02.25.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief 1 – Civil Liberties and the Bill of Rights 1.1 – The Bill of Rights 1.1.1 – Overview The Bill of Rights of the United States of American: The United States Bill of Rights, which are the first 10 amendments to the US Constitution, and[…]

Confucius Has a Message for Those Who Want to Succeed: REFLECT

Confucius deemed reflection the best way to wisdom / Creative Commons By Dr. Khatera Sahibzada / 02.09.2018 Adjunct Lecturer of Leadership Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences University of Southern California One of the most admirable and arguably underrated qualities of leadership is the capacity for reflection. Confucius called it the most noble way to learn[…]

A History of Federalism in the United States

Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief 1 – Federalism in the Constitution 1.1 – Introduction Federalism is the system of government in which sovereignty is constitutionally divided between a central governing authority and constituent political units. It is based upon democratic rules and institutions in which the power to govern is shared between[…]

States of Consciousness

Photo Credit EMSL, Creative Commons Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 02.22.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief 1 – Introduction to Consciousness 1.1 – Introduction 1.1.1 – Philosophy of Consciousness Despite the difficulty in coming to a definition, many philosophers believe that there is a broadly shared underlying intuition about what consciousness is. Philosophers since the time[…]

The History of Blackness in Art and Philosophical Thought

Robert Fludd’s black square representing the nothingness that was prior to the universe, from his Utriusque Cosmi(1617) — Wellcome Library Should we consider black a colour, the absence of colour, or a suspension of vision produced by a deprivation of light? Beginning with Robert Fludd’s attempt to picture nothingness, Eugene Thacker reflects* on some of the ways[…]

What was the Beguiling Spell of Jung’s ‘Collective Unconscious’?

Detail from the Mandala of Jnanadakini, 14th century, Tibet. / Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York By Dr. Antonio Melechi / 02.19.2018 Honorary Research Fellow, Department of Sociology University of York The first decades of the 20th century saw a raft of psychological terms fall into popular usage. Freudian notions of ‘denial’ and ‘displacement’, ‘projection’[…]

An Introduction to Political Science and American Government

Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 02.14.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief 1 – Forms of Government Forms of government are categorized by the power source and power structure of any given state. 1.1 – Government and Its Forms Countries of the World, by Type of Government in 2011: This map shows all the countries of the word,[…]

The Dreams of an Inventor in 1420

Johannes de Fontana, Bellicorum instrumentorum liber (1420), BSB Cod.icon. 242, f. 59v Bennett Gilbert peruses the sketchbook of 15th-century engineer Johannes de Fontana, a catalogue of designs for a variety of fantastic and often impossible inventions, including fire-breathing automatons, pulley-powered angels, and the earliest surviving drawing of a magic lantern device. By Bennett Gilbert Instructor in Philosophy[…]

The Concept of ‘Oriental Despotism’ from Aristotle to Marx

Terracotta Army detail, Xi’an, China / Photo by Peter Morgan, Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Rolando Minuti / 05.03.2012 Fernand Braudel Fellow, Professor of History European University Institute Abstract The concept of Oriental Despotism has shaped the European interpretation and representation of Asiatic governments and societies for many centuries. Its origins can be found in Aristotelian[…]

You Thought Quantum Mechanics was Weird: Check Out Entangled Time

Photo by Alan Levine, Flickr, Creative Commons By Dr. Elise Crull / 02.02.2018 Assistant Professor in History and Philosophy of Science City College of New York In the summer of 1935, the physicists Albert Einstein and Erwin Schrödinger engaged in a rich, multifaceted and sometimes fretful correspondence about the implications of the new theory of[…]

Songs in the Key of Human

A new Harvard study suggests that people around the globe can identify lullabies, dancing songs, and healing songs — regardless of the songs’ cultural origin — after hearing just a 14-second clip. / Image by Adobe Some musical meaning may transcend cultural boundaries and be universally human. By Peter Reuell / 01.26.2018 Poet and Harvard[…]