What Can Avicenna Teach Us about the Mind-Body Problem?

Illustration by Fumitake Uchida By Dr. Peter Adamson / 09.09.2016 Professor of Philosophy Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich Philosophers of the Islamic world enjoyed thought experiments. If the heavens vanished, they wondered, would time continue to pass? If existence were distinct from essence, would that mean that existence itself must exist? Can God turn your[…]

Plato’s ‘Republic’ and an Ancient Athenian Immigrant

Wikimedia Commons By Dr. David V. Johnson / 03.20.2017 Writer/Editor Stanford Social Innovation Review When it comes to immigration, not all foreigners are the same. The treatment of non-citizen legal residents, for example, raises very different moral and political questions from the larger debate about who should, and who should not, be allowed to enter.[…]

René Descartes was Wrong about Personhood

Detail from Young Moe (1938) by Paul Klee. Courtesy Phillips collection / Wikimedia Commons By Abeba Birhane / 04.17.2017 PhD Student in Cognitive Science University College Dublin According to Ubuntu philosophy, which has its origins in ancient Africa, a newborn baby is not a person. People are born without ‘ena’, or selfhood, and instead must acquire it through[…]

Logic: Categorical Propositions and Syllogisms

Image via Shutterstock By Dr. Garth Kemerling / 11.12.2011 Professor of Philosophy Capella University Philosophy Pages Categorical Propositions Now that we’ve taken notice of many of the difficulties that can be caused by sloppy use of ordinary language in argumentation, we’re ready to begin the more precise study of deductive reasoning. Here we’ll achieve the[…]

We Could All Do with Learning How to Improvise a Little Better

Well improvised; Dizzy Gillespie at Deauville, France in 1991 / Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Stephen T. Asma / 05.29.2017 Professor of Philosophy Columbia College Chicago The Chinese philosopher Han Fei Zi (c280-233 BCE) had a deep influence on the development of Chinese bureaucracy, because he proposed that decision-making be taken out of the hands of[…]

Simone de Beauvoir’s Political Philosophy Resonates Today

Simone de Beauvoir in Paris in 1949. / Photo from Elliot Erwitt, Magnum By Dr. Skye C. Cleary / 03.10.2017 Lecturer Columbia University, City College of New York Simone de Beauvoir is rightly best known for declaring: ‘One is not born, but rather becomes, woman.’ A less well-known facet of her philosophy, particularly relevant today, is[…]

Logic: Arguments, Language, Meaning, and Fallacies

Photo by JacoTen, Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Garth Kemerling / 11.12.2011 Professor of Philosophy Capella University Philosophy Pages Arguments and Inference The Discipline of Logic Human life is full of decisions, including significant choices about what to believe. Although everyone prefers to believe what is true, we often disagree with each other about what that[…]

Not All Things Wise and Good are Philosophy

Fresco showing a sceptical looking young man with a scroll labelled “Plato”, from Pompeii / Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Nicholas Tampio / 12.13.2016 Professor of Political Science Fordham University I have published widely on Islamic political thought, including an encyclopedia entry on the topic. Reading the Quran, Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh), philosophy (falsafa) and Ibn Khaldun’s[…]

What Can We Learn from the Medieval Attitude to Pagans?

Dante and the Three Kingdoms by Domenico-di-Michelino / Wikimedia Commons By Dr. John Marenbon / 02.23.2016 Fellow, British Academy Senior Research Fellow, Trinity College, Cambridge Visiting Professor of Philosophy, Peking University, China In a world like that of mediaeval Christian Europe, where everyone was a religious believer, how was the moral standing of non-Christians to[…]

Arabic Translators Did Far More than Just Preserve Greek Philosophy

Socrates and his Students, illustration from ‘Kitab Mukhtar al-Hikam wa-Mahasin al-Kilam’ by Al-Mubashir, Turkish School, (13th c) / Photo by Bridgeman By Dr. Peter Adamson / 11.04.2016 Professor of Philosophy Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich In European antiquity, philosophers largely wrote in Greek. Even after the Roman conquest of the Mediterranean and the demise of paganism,[…]

Scientific Revolutions

The First Thanksgiving, by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, 1621 / Library of Congress By Dr. Bryan W. Roberts Associate Professor of Philosophy, Logic, and Scientific Method London School of Economics & Political Science The Trouble with Parables We all learn parables along the way to being educated. It’s part of everyone’s intellectual upbringing. The trouble[…]

When Philosophy Needed Muslims, Jews and Christians Alike

The Three Philosophers, by Giorgione, c.1506 / Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna By Dr. Peter Adamson / 05.24.2017 Professor of Philosophy Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich If you were asked to name the most important philosopher of 10th-century Baghdad, you would presumably not hesitate to say ‘al-Farabi’. He’s one of the few thinkers of the Islamic world[…]

An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science

Neural network / Creative Commons By Dr. Bryan W. Roberts Associate Professor of Philosophy, Logic, and Scientific Method London School of Economics & Political Science An Exercise in the Incredible Let’s start with an exercise: what would you say is the most important forces for human existence? Think about that for a moment. Try to[…]

Seeing Hera in the Iliad

Restored ruins of the Temple of Hera, ancient Doric Greek temple at Olympia, Greece / Photo by Carole Raddato, Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Seemee Ali Associate Professor of English Carthage College Hera is the most under-appreciated deity in the pantheon of Homer’s Iliad. Inseminating mortals with thoughts and understanding the secret plans of Zeus, Hera[…]

Political Ideologies and Isms

The SLECO (Socialism, Liberalism, Conservatism and Ecology) chart is a proposed alternative to the Nolan Chart and the Hans Slomp projection of the European political spectrum. It should be able to capture more political schools. / Ben Burgers, Wikimedia Commons By Dr. T.M. Sell / 11.30.2014 Pacific Northwest Political Science Association Introduction People sometimes develop[…]

A Brief Introduction to Epistemology

Photo by Tim Green, Creative Commons By Dr. Tom Kerns / 01.18.2012 Professor of Philosophy North Seattle College The history of western thought is usually divided into four main periods, the ancient, mediaeval, modern, and contemporary periods. We’ve been studying the ancient period and now we’re going to move past the mediaeval period and into[…]

Aristotle’s Ideal Regime as Utopia

By Dr. Steven Thomason Assistant Professor of Political Science Ouachita Baptist University Presentations and Lectures 6 (3-2016) Presented at the Southwest Political Science Conference, Las Vegas, March 2016 Although Aristotle’s ideal regime discussed in books seven and eight of his Politics seems much more feasible and less utopian than the regime outlined in Plato’s Republic,[…]

An Overview of Classical Eastern Philosophy

Taoist Temple / Photo by dbgg1979 of Flickr.com, Creative Commons By Dr. James Fieser / 02.19.2014 Professor of Philosophy University of Tennessee at Martin Introduction At the time that ancient Greek philosophy was blossoming, on the other side of the world a different set of philosophical traditions emerged within the Eastern Asian regions of India[…]

Is Humanity Naturally Good? Exploring Richard Dawkins’s ‘Selfish Gene’

Lecture by Dr. Alistair McGrath at the Museum of London / 04.04.2017 Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion University of Oxford What is the future of humanity? Nobody knows. For a start, we might suffer the same fate that is thought to have wiped out the dinosaurs – an ‘extinction event’ caused by collision[…]

Anaxagoras, Socrates, and the History of “Philosophy”

Plato, Anaxagoras, and Democritus / External Reference Dresden, Schisische landesbibliothek, MS Db 92-92, Wellcome Library By Dr. Christopher Moore / 11.01.2016 Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Classics The Pennsylvania State University The Tenuous Grip of a Name In all of extant fifth-century Greek literature, authors use the terms philosophos, philosopheô, and philosophia half a dozen[…]