Is Philosophy Therapy, or Is It Simply a Search for Truth?

Robert Huffstutter/Flickr/Creative Commons    By Dr. Nigel Warburton (left) and Dr. Jules Evans (right) / 01.18.2016 Warburton: Philosopher, Writer, Podcaster Evans: Policy Director of the Centre for the History of Emotions, Queen Mary, University of London Nigel Warburton: There’s been a lot of interest in reviving Stoic philosophy recently, particularly the therapeutic aspects of it. I’m skeptical[…]

Is Great Philosophy, by Its Nature, Difficult and Obscure?

Statue of Hume by Alexander Stoddart on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh / Photo by Bandan, Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Keith Frankish / 11.11.2015 Visiting Research Fellow Open University Great philosophy is not always easy. Some philosophers – Kant, Hegel, Heidegger – write in a way that seems almost perversely obscure. Others – Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein – adopt an aphoristic[…]

Socrates in Plato’s ‘Apology of Socrates’ and ‘Phaedo’

The Death of Socrates, by Jacques-Louis David (1787) / Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York By Dr. Gregory Nagy Francis Jones Professor of Classical Greek Literature Professor of Comparative Literature Director, Center for Hellenic Studies Harvard University Socrates in Plato’s ‘Apology of Socrates’ [[“It is, in short, music which observes neither end nor beginning, music with neither real climax nor[…]

Whence Comes Nihilism, the Uncanniest of All Guests?

Metis as subak. The traditional Balinese irrigation system for rice farmers. / Wikimedia Commons By Lou Keep / 01.02.2018 Friedrich Nietzsche was most famously concerned with the problem of nihilism. All societies, in his view, rely on implicit value judgments. If the foundations of these are lost, he predicts terrible consequences: widespread apathy or violent, fanatical attempts[…]

“Aristotle’s” Bestselling Sex Manual

By Elizabeth Richins / 09.12.2016 Freelance Information Professional Freud Museum London Sex, childbirth and reproductive health were topics of considerable interest to people in early modern England. The Wellcome Library has a substantial collection of different editions of a hugely popular printed work addressing these issues in 17th- and 18th-century England, ‘Aristotle’s Masterpiece’. To people[…]

Kant and the Categorical Imperative

By Dr. James Fieser / 10.01.2017 Professor of Philosophy University of Tennessee at Martin INTRODUCTION Photo by CollegeDegrees360, Creative Commons Pam and Sheila were students at a large state university that had math and foreign language requirements. Pam was strong in languages, but lousy in math; Sheila had the opposite abilities. The two struck a deal: Pam would[…]

Let’s Talk Free Will

“Two roads diverged in a wood” – Frost / Creative Commons By Dr. James Fieser / 04.01.2011 Professor of Philosophy University of Tennessee at Martin A marketing company called Acxiom has collected detailed personal information on over 500 million consumers. Aside from the usual data such as your name, address and phone number, Acxiom knows your income,[…]

Justice and Liberty Have No Better Spokesman than Cicero

By Dr. Gary M. Galles / 09.30.2017 Professor of Economics Pepperdine University ohn Adams said of Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BCE) that “All ages of the world have not produced a greater statesman and philosopher combined.” Anthony Everitt called him an “architect of constitutions that still govern our lives.” Thomas Jefferson said the Declaration of Independence was[…]

Would Life Be Worth Living if Work Dominated Your Every Moment?

Workers Leaving the Factory Lithograph, 1903 by Théophile Alexandre Steinlen. Image courtesy www.famsf.org By Andrew Taggart / 12.20.2017 Trainer Banff Creative Arts Center Imagine that work had taken over the world. It would be the centre around which the rest of life turned. Then all else would come to be subservient to work. Then slowly, almost imperceptibly,[…]

An Introduction to the Origins and History of Philosophy

Busts of Sokrates, Antisthenes, Chrysippos, Epikouros / Photo by Matt Neale, Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Philip A. Pecorino / 08.22.2015 Professor Philosophy Queensborough Community College, City University of New York Philosophy and Wonder Aristotle thought that Philosophy begins in wonder.  Wonder is some thing children do quite well.  It comes natural to them.  Unfortunately as a lot of us grow older we[…]

H.G. Wells vs. George Orwell: Is Science Humanity’s Best Hope?

‘Man Combating Ignorance’ – what’s science’s role? Century of Progress Records, 1927-1952, University of Illinois at Chicago Library, CC BY-NC-ND By Dr. Richard Gunderman, MD, PhD / 12.21.2017 Chancellor’s Professor of Medicine, Liberal Arts, and Philanthropy Indiana University In the midst of contemporary science’s stunning discoveries and innovations – for example, 2017 alone brought the editing of[…]

Virtues in Philosophy

By Dr. James Fieser / 04.01.2011 Professor of Philosophy University of Tennessee at Martin INTRODUCTION A driver’s education instructor became enraged when his car was cut off by another vehicle. He was teaching a female student driver at the time, and he told her to chase down the vehicle. They caught up to it, the instructor got[…]

Moral Relativism and Objectivism

Creative Commons By Dr. James Fieser / 04.01.2011 Professor of Philosophy University of Tennessee at Martin INTRODUCTION In the early twentieth century, journalist Robert L. Ripley traveled around the world gathering stories of strange rituals, which he published in his popular newspaper column “Believe It or Not.” One man sat and stared at the sun for fifteen[…]

Identity and Self-Knowledge

PublicDomainImages, Pixabay, Creative Commons By Dr. John Perry / 10.22.2016 Henry Waldgrave Stuart Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus Stanford University Abstract Self, person, and identity are among the concepts most central to the way humans think about themselves and others. It is often natural in biology to use such concepts; it seems sensible to say, for example, that the job[…]

An Extended Overview of Hinduism

Wikimedia Commons Hindū Dharma or Hinduism (Sanskrit: हिन्दू धर्म, is often referred by its practitioners as Sanātana Dharma, सनातन धर्म; Vaidika Dharma, वैदिक धर्म; or Vedic Tradition) is the spiritual, philosophical, scientific and cultural system that originated in Bharatavarsha (the Indian subcontinent), that is based on the Vedas, and it is the oldest of all living religious traditions still practiced today. A Hindu, as per[…]

Hinduism at a Glance

Wikimedia Commons Hinduism (Sanskrit: Hindū Dharma — हिन्दू धर्म, also known as Sanātana Dharma, सनातन धर्म and Vaidika Dharma, वैदिक धर्म) is a religion originating in bharatavarsha (the Indian subcontinent), based on the Vedas. Modern Hinduism evolved from the ancient vaidika paramparā (Vedic tradition). Brief Overview Hinduism is mankind’s oldest spiritual declaration, the very fountainhead of faith on the planet. It emphasizes dharma (the right way of living) rather[…]

Indian Philosophy in the Global Cosmopolis

Vyasa grants Sanjaya divine vision, by Ramanarayanadatta astri / Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Christian Coseru / 12.12.2017 Associate Professor of Philosophy College of Charleston What is the current thought on the nature, scope, and reach of Indian philosophy? Handbooks and histories of a given area, subfield, or tradition in philosophy are always good places to start[…]

Disciplines, Fields, and Virtues: The Full Stoic System in One Neat Package

The statue of Marcus Aurelius Piazza del Campidoglio in Rome / Photo by Jeff, CC BY-NC-ND By Dr. Massimo Pigliucci / 12.11.2017 Professor of Philosophy City University of New York I’ve been studying Stoicism as a practical philosophy fairly intensely for several years now, and up until recently I accepted what has become received wisdom in the modern Stoicism[…]

Let’s Talk Ethics

By Dr. James Fieser / 04.01.2011 Professor of Philosophy University of Tennessee at Martin Introduction Larry Phillips Jr.& Emil Mătăsăreanu (the High Incident Bandits), 1997 Robbery / Creative Commons One February morning two armed gunmen wearing black ski masks entered a Los Angeles bank, fired their machine guns and ordered everyone to the ground. Bank personnel gave[…]

An Introduction to Information Philosophy

By Dr. Bob Doyle Associate, Astronomy Department Harvard University What is Information Philosophy? The Information Philosopher has established that quantum mechanics and thermodynamics play a central role in the creation of all things. This finding has enormous implications for philosophy and metaphysics. Instead of a closed universe that is winding down deterministically from an initial state[…]

Mind-Body Dualism: What is Consciousness?

Photo by Saad Faruque, Creative Commons By Dr. James Fieser / 05.01.2016 Professor of Philosophy University of Tennessee at Martin Introduction A 47 year old man named Carl Miller died of cancer, and at the moment he was pronounced dead, a series of carefully-orchestrated procedures was performed on his body. A team standing by began cardiopulmonary support to[…]

Will Artificial Intelligence Become Conscious? What is Consciousness?

What’s the link between technology and consciousness? AlexLMX/Shutterstock.com By Dr. Subhash Kak / 12.07.2017 Regents Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Oklahoma State University Forget about today’s modest incremental advances in artificial intelligence, such as the increasing abilities of cars to drive themselves. Waiting in the wings might be a groundbreaking development: a machine that is aware of itself and[…]

An Introduction to Basic Logic

Image by Thebiologyprimer, Wikimedia Commons By Dr. James Fieser / 04.01.2016 Professor of Philosophy University of Tennessee at Martin Introduction In ancient Greece, a group of traveling teachers called Sophists had the reputation of being able to argue for any point, no matter how absurd. One Sophist offered this argument: (1) Fido is Joe’s dog. (2) Fido[…]

Death and Dying 101

Students from the author’s class on death and dying explore Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts. / Photo by Anita Hannig A study of cross-cultural attitudes toward mortality can help young people accept death as a part of life. By Dr. Anita Hannig / 10.03.2017 Assistant Professor of Anthropology Brandeis University Back in February, on[…]