Begin typing your search above and press return to search. Press Esc to cancel.

Monthly Archives:

September 2014

1. A defense of majoring in philosophy, by Joseph Tinguely (South Dakota).
2. Artist Tino Seghal’s latest installation places philosophers in the Roman agora in Athens to engage people in dialogue.
3. Don’t think for yourself, says Caleb Cohoe (Metropolitan State University of Denver).
4. Aristotle, the biologist. (via Johann A. Klaassen)
5. How to get your students to do the reading.
6. How Stoical was Seneca? Mary Beard takes up the question.
7. “Placing the question of violence at the forefront almost inevitably serves to obscure the issues that are at the center of struggles for justice.” — an interview with Angela Davis.
8. An iPad app that “provides the tools you will use most often in introductory symbolic logic courses,” by D.K. Johnston (University of Victoria)
9. A script for a sketch of talk show starring Zach Galafianakis as Socrates, with guest “Justin Beaver,” based on Plato’s Ion.
10. Embodied cognition, featured on Australian public radio (transcript, too). (via Philosophy Matters)
11.  “The philosopher’s misfortune is to be a part of nothing. To stand apart from everything.” — Another review of Wittgenstein Jr. by Lars Iyer.
12. For the combative moral philosopher.


1. Has a time travel simulation resolved the grandfather paradox? Philosophers of science, let us know (via Ben Stein, Manolo Martinez).
2. A philosopher defends Zionism.
3. Meanwhile, the rabbinical ruling refusing to reverse Spinoza’s excommunication from Judaism has been made public.
4. PBS Newshour discusses philosophy and athletics with Mark Edmundson (Virginia).
5. While we’re on sports, check out David Papineau’s post on game theory and team reasoning.
6. Developments in human enhancement, part… let’s just say we’ve lost count: using electricity to improve your memory.
7. “The older people got, the more happiness ordinary experiences delivered.”
8. “When you’re a philosopher, you work so much with abstractions. You feel a longing for something more concrete. I think [art] is a nice complement to the abstractness of philosophy” — a brief interview with philosopher and artist Karsten Harries (Yale). Here’s one of his paintings.
9. What does informed consent have to do with self-driving cars?
10. I think they mean the first rule of philosophy club.


Philosophy Tag

In our last game of Philosophy Tag, Valerie Tiberius (Minnesota) tagged Dan Haybron (St. Louis University). Dan has been thinking about well-being lately (haven’t we all?) and that informs his move.

Most theories of well-being are defended entirely by good old-fashioned philosophical reflection. Michael Bishop (Florida State) defends his “network theory” of w..


1. Human civilization is over, says Noam Chomsky.
2. But in case it’s not: a forum on parenthood and academia, at Times Higher Education.
3. Using statistics in your philosophical work? Need help? You can get free one-on-one stats consulting.
4. “Philosophy emerges in society when it loses meaning and fails to provide a unified and coherent picture of reality” — from an interesting review of newly translated lectures by Jean-Francois Lyotard (that’s right, Lyotard; get over it) on the value of philosophy.
5. The “most memorable” conversation one retired airman ever had was with Marjorie Grene, who earned her doctorate in 1935; “unable to find work in philosophy she farmed near Chicago and raised her daughter and son while writing several books about philosophy between 1944 and 1959.” Eventually she became chair of the philosophy department at UC Davis.
6. A recently republished 2009 interview with Judith Butler about Israel (with a rather sycophantic introduction).
7. Should the military use a version of deep brain stimulation to modify soldiers? Matthew Liao (NYU) discusses the issues.
8. Need to get the creative juices flowing? This article explains why you should go for a walk.
9. If you have some time to kill you can see what people have to say about their “philosophy professor” on Twitter.
10. The canon of philosophy karaoke songs ❤.  (via Jeff Engelhardt)

Philosopher-Celebrity Lookalikes

Read more

Philosopher-Celebrity Lookalikes

Brian Talbot (Washington University in St. Louis) has been pairing up well-known philosophers with the celebrities who look like them. He kindly agreed to let me share the idea with you. Here’s my favorite so far:

That’s David Hume and Jon Lovitz.

This match, owed to Julia Staffel, is also quite good:

Descartes and Richie Sambora, of course.



1. Why study paradoxes? Roy Cook (Minnesota) answers.
2. An argument for the following: “The maxim ‘my country must fight a war to end this episode of political violence and politically-induced suffering’ is approximately equivalent to the maxim ‘the political elites of my country may fight wars at the times and places of their choosing, for the reasons of their choosing, whether their motives are good, wicked, or opportunistic,'” by Jacob Levy (McGill).
3. NorMind is a new informal network of philosophers of mind and cognitive science working in the Nordic countries (and nearby). (via Ole Koksvik)
4. How Rudolf Carnap ended up in philosophy, according to Hilary Putnam.
5. Why is there something rather than nothing? Jim Holt explains in a recent TED talk.
6. “Wittgenstein Jr is about a Wittgenstein-wannabe, a pseudo-Ludwig, a despairing, tormented philosopher in contemporary Cambridge struggling to produce a proper thought, who is nicknamed Wittgenstein by his students.” The Guardian has a review of this new novel by Lars Iyer.
7. In the Dust of This Planet: Horror of Philosophy, Volume 1, by Eugene Thacker, is, according to Radiolab, “an academic treatise about the horror humanity feels as we realize that we are nothing but a speck in the universe.” Who knows, but apparently it is kind of a big deal in some entertainment circles.
8. Some people are trying to electrically stimulate  their own brains to become smarter and happier. Please note that “plugging a 9-volt battery directly into your head is a bad idea, of course.” (via Matt Burstein). In other brain news, doctors have discovered a normal functioning woman with no cerebellum.
9. Would philosophers be good on this upcoming game show?
10. What it is sometimes like putting together the heap of links.


1. Greasy spoons and Gricean maxims. (via Gerald Dworkin)
2. The regress problem for consequentialism, robot version.
3. “In a deeper and more troubling way, it is canny and subversive artifice, spiced with a moralistic claim to personal liberation. A tattoo is a personal statement but also an anthropological position that accords with the prevailing transvaluations of our time.” — from “A Theory for Tattoos.”
4. Data on the use of “he” and “she” over time in Philosopher’s Index abstracts, as analyzed by Eric Schwitzgebel at The Splintered Mind.
5. The philosophical origins for parts of the U.S Constitution, particularly the proscription against cruel punishments in the 8th Amendment, may be in Italy.
6. Marina Warner, former professor of creative writing at University of Essex and current chair of the Man Booker Prize, writes about resigning from higher education, “where enforcers rush to carry out the latest orders from their chiefs in an ecstasy of obedience to ideological principles which they do not seem to have examined, let alone discussed with the people they order to follow them.” Additional piece here.
7. Political epistemology gets a special double-issue of Critical Review.
8. The latest episode of the BBC’s Philosopher’s Arms is on trolleyology.
9. PhD(isabled) is “a space for PhD students with disability or chronic illness to share their experiences.” The latest post is by a grad student in a philosophy program.
10. 8-Bit Philosophy takes a clip from True Detective as an opportunity to illustrate Nietzsche’s idea of eternal recurrence.
11. By Bentham.


1. Martha Nussbaum (Chicago) is interviewed by Russ Roberts at EconTalk.
2. Chris LeBron (Yale) is interviewed at 3am Magazine on philosophy of race and “the struggle of humanity vs. humankind.”
3. Was Sartre indifferent to the slaughter of Jews? [Update: apparently this article was moved behind a paywall, so just below is a late addition to the heap:] 3a. Composer Scott Johnson’s latest work, “Mind Out of Matter,” features the words and voice of Daniel Dennett (Tufts). The chamber ensemble Alarm Will Sound will perform the piece as part of the Peak Performances Series this coming weekend at Montclair State University.
4. A philosopy major and bioethics MA from NYU is the “mostly vegetarian” owner of Happy Valley Meat Company.
5. Gabriele Contessa has restarted Yet Another Philosopher’s Blog and has a post on analytic philosophy by people for whom English is a second language.
6. An interview with Nancy Sherman (Georgetown) about doing philosophy with the military.
7. A conversation between two AI chatbots on love, beauty, identity… they’ve got a ways to go.
8. Philosophy’s Western bias and what can be done about it: here and here.
9. Jacques Derrida interviews Ornette Coleman (from 1997).
10. Cynicism 101: “as much an anti-philosophy as it is a philosophy.”
11. Armand Leroi, the biologist and author of The Lagoon: How Aristotle Invented Science, is interviewed on NPR’s On Point.
12. A theory about why academic writing is so awful.
13. Stoic parenting. (A “cover” of this.)


Scam Journals and Publishers

Scholarly Open Access is a website run by Jeffrey Beall, a librarian at Auraria Library at the University of Colorado Denver, that provides “critical analysis of scholarly open-access publishing.” In other words, it lists and discusses journals and publishers that look highly suspect, some of which may just be scams. (via David Boonin)

Asking some basic questions a..