The Erotic Dreams of Emanuel Swedenborg

Portrait of Swedenborg painted in 1817, after Swedenborg’s death, by Carl Frederik von Breda – Wikimedia Commons During the time of his ‘spiritual awakening’ in 1744 the scientist and philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg kept a dream diary. Richard Lines looks at how, among the heavenly visions, there were also erotic dreams, the significance of which has been[…]

‘What Ish My Nation?’: Towards a Negative Definition of Identity

A timeline of Shakespeare’s plays / Creative Commons Defining national culture and identity. By Dr. Eugene O’Brien Senior Lecturer in English Mary Immaculate College There is hardly a more quoted line from Shakespeare in the overall context of Irish Studies than the above question from Henry V. Given the agonies of identity that have plagued Irish[…]

Rhetoric: What Was All the Talk About?

Aristotle s definition of rhetoric in one founding text in the rhetorical tradition. The role of rhetoric was pedagogical, or rather persuasive: to teach, but also always to move—and if need be, to please or delight. By Dr. Matthew Sharpe / 03.05.2016 Associate Professor of Philosophy Deakin University A little case of 1616 repeatin’ Shakespeare’s gravestone and[…]

Stoicism 5.0: The Unlikely 21st Century Reboot of an Ancient Philosophy

Keep calm and get your stoic on: more people today are heeding the advice than perhaps ever before. Stoicism has recently been described as one of the best “mind hacks” ever invented. Amazingly, it is back, more popular today than ever, in a series of fast-growing internet communities. By Dr. Matthew Sharpe / 07.12.2017 Associate Professor of Philosophy Deakin University From Cynicism[…]

Living Life as an Artist: Nietzsche on Creativity

The tragedies of ancient Greece underpin Nietzsche’s understanding of what it means to be an artist. Hans Runge/Flickr Love or loathe him, philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) offered a unique way of considering creativity. By Dr. Laura D’Olimpio / 02.04.2015 Senior Lecturer in Philosophy University of Notre Dame Australia Love or loathe him, philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) offered a unique way of[…]

Is Nature Continuous or Discrete? How the Atomist Error was Born.

Opening from Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura at the Cambridge University Library, manuscript dated to 1563. / Wikimedia Commons The modern idea that nature is discrete originated in Ancient Greek atomism. By Dr. Thomas Nail / 05.18.2018 Associate Professor of Philosophy University of Denver The modern idea that nature is discrete originated in Ancient Greek atomism.[…]

George Berkeley and Liber Mundi

Hartmann Schedel (German, Nuremberg 1440–1514 Nuremberg) Registrum huius Operis libri cronicarum cum figuris et ymagibus ab inicio mundi, July 12, 1493 German / Metropolitan Museum of Art By Dr. Costica Bradatan Professor of Humanities Texas Tech University Introduction The paradoxical (and also ambitious) aim of this paper consists in attempting to point out the vigorous presence[…]

What is Philosophy?

Busts of Sokrates, Antisthenes, Chrysippos, Epikouros / Photo by Matt Neale, Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Peter O’Hara / 05.29.1997 Psychiatrist Introduction Philosophy has two main meanings, of an attitude to life, and of a type of knowledge. This lecture is concerned largely with the second meaning, that is, a type of knowledge. However the attitude or[…]

Science with Aristotle

By Dr. Michael Fowler / 07.23.2015 Maxine S. and Jesse W. Beams Professor of Physics , Physics Education,Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics University of Virginia Beginnings of Science and Philosophy in Athens Let us first recap briefly the emergence of philosophy and science in Athens after around 450 B.C. It all began with Socrates, who was born in 470[…]

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[…]