What Topics Are Missing?

from 1000 Word Philosophy?

1000 Word Philosophy is a collection of 1000-word essays meant to introduce people to various philosophical subjects.

There are about 170 essays currently in the collection, and lead editor Nathan Nobis (Morehouse) is looking for suggestions on which other topics to commission essays on.

The essays are listed here.

Professor Nobis writes:

We need to figure out what very important topics are missing from “1000-Word Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology” so we can ensure that we’ve covered those topics. So we need to figure out what topics people would really want to teach in introductory philosophy and/or ethics classes about which we don’t yet have essays.

Here’s the ask: if you teach introductory philosophy or ethics, can you look at our offerings to see which, of the topics you want to teach, we are missing?

(And students: if you’ve taken a philosophy or ethics class, or would like to, can you see what topics we might be missing?)

We’ve got a lot, but we don’t have everything, and we need to figure out what important things we are missing!

You can list your suggestions in the comments or email them to Professor Nobis.

AI Safety Newsletter

Hedgehog Review
Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
11 months ago

Something in the philosophy of music (Definition? Ontology? Animal music? Mashups and covers?).

Something on truth in fiction.

Something on the fiction/non-fiction distinction.

Something on cultural appropriation (intersects with ethics and social/political).

Something on whether moral defects are aesthetic defects (moralism/immoralism/autonomism).

The puzzle of good-bad art (e.g. movies so bad they’re good).

11 months ago

Justice could be done to a 1000-page essay on theories of ‘Wisdom,’ and also ‘Foolishness.’ I would also say theories of ‘Relevance’ deserve a place.

Jason Brennan
11 months ago

Fidelity and the ethics of marriage

Mate Penava
11 months ago

I don’t see an essay on truth and I think this should be included. Maybe I just missed it

11 months ago

There isn’t a single medieval philosophy essay (either topical or thinker-focused).

Medieval Guy
Medieval Guy
Reply to  ZVT
11 months ago

Not a single article on 1,000 years of rich philosophy – much of it more careful than philosophy today?

This should be seen as an embarrassment…

… It leaves “enlightened” philosophers endarkened.

Philip-Neri Reese, OP
Reply to  ZVT
11 months ago

That’s the first thing that jumped out at me, too.

Here are just a couple possible topics:

Aquinas’s doctrine of esse
Scotus’s formal distinction
Abelard on what makes an action good
Avicenna’s proof for the existence of God
Bonaventure on what is first known
Meister Eckhart’s theory of Ground
Medieval accounts of the transcendentals
Medieval debates on pagan virtue
Medieval debates on universals
Medieval debates on individuation
Medieval discussions of logical paradoxes (‘insolubilia’)

Reply to  Philip-Neri Reese, OP
11 months ago

Yes, these are great. (Although wouldn’t envy the one who is asked to write the formal distinction paper in 1000 words… 🙂 )

We also need some Augustine (free will) and/or Boethius (foreknowledge?).

Last edited 11 months ago by ZVT
Colin Chamberlain
11 months ago

I’d love to see some essays on particular topics in early modern women philosophers–such as Margaret Cavendish, Mary Astell, Anne Conway, etc!

V. Alan White
11 months ago

I didn’t see a piece covering emotivism/expressivism, which I think is certainly a basic for an intro ethics course.

Maja Sidzinska
11 months ago

Most topics from philosophy of biology are missing.

11 months ago

Agree with Michel on many of his aesthetics suggestions. Some topics which have an established literature and seem to be hot right now:

– Fiction
– Horror
– Musical Versioning
– Musical Authenticity
– Genre(s)
– immoral Artists & Immoral Art
– Aesthetics of the Everyday
– Kitsch/Camp/Trashy/Cheesy/So-Bad-it’s-Good/Ironic liking
– Nature Aesthetics
– Aesthetic Disagreement

cd brown
11 months ago

mental causation and the causal closure argument for physicalism

something on whether AI have minds/what sort of minds they might have

something on the metaphysics of causation generally (though this might be too hard for intro-level material, but otoh I see essays on linguistic and metaphysical vagueness, Bayesianism, and modal epistemology, so…)

11 months ago

moral fictionalism
moral abolitionism
gender-critical feminism

11 months ago

I would venture to say serious philosophical discussions of telepathy (a topic, e.g. Sanders Pierce didn’t endorse but treated with due seriousness), in light of announced discoveries such as is: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2023/may/01/ai-makes-non-invasive-mind-reading-possible-by-turning-thoughts-into-text

Reply to  Ludovic
11 months ago

I apologize for mistyping Peirce’s name.

Tim O'Keefe
11 months ago

Plato’s ideal state / Plato’s philosopher-kings
Plato’s Allegory of the Cave
Aristotle on Happiness / Aristotle’s function argument
Aristotle on friendship
Subjective experience / qualia and the mind/body problem
Natural law theories of ethics
Natural law theories of law
Sartre’s Existentialism is a Humanism / Sartre on existence and essence
Divine foreknowledge and free will
William James on the will to believe 

Manuel Vargas
11 months ago

Great to see Africana, Chinese, and Buddhist phil get coverage. I’d very much welcome the addition of entries on philosophy in the Americas south of the United States over the past half millennia or so. That could include Indigenous thought anywhere in the Americas as well.

11 months ago

Apology and forgiveness
Conceptual engineering

11 months ago

I love this website! I think the following could work well:

1. Something on what constitutes sexual desire and sexual acts. The “plain sex” view and its “intentionality” rivals (e.g., Robert Solomon on sexual communication). The implications of these views for sexual ethics (e.g., are all sexual norms reducible to more general, non-sexuality-specific norms or are there rather some norms that are distinctive of sexual acts, feelings, or desires?).
2. Something on the nature and value of education. What is education? What is the highest aim of education for an individual? What should constitute the highest aim of public education in a liberal democracy?
3. Something on how reasons work. Generalist vs particularist views. Holistic and atomistic. Weighing vs non exclusively weighing conceptions of evaluating the force of competing reasons. Anscombe, Raz, Dancy, etc

Terence Rajivan Edward
11 months ago

Something on the a priori. I have added a section to my academia.edu website! Oh, you knew that already?!