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The Defining Issue of the Day: Immigration into the West of Unassimilable Elements

From Robert W. Merry's review of The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam, Douglas Murray, Bloomsbury Continuum, 352 pages: You should carefully study the whole piece. Here are some excerpts. Emphases added. [...] No, the defining issue...

The Predictive Powers of the Trumpianly Deranged

Not good: Since the day Donald Trump was elected president in November 2016, the Dow Jones industrial average has risen by some 35 percent, making the last 14 months one of the greatest bull market runs in history. Some $6...

"Lead Us Not into Temptation"

I have said some rather unkind things about Pope Francis, but when he called for a better translation of the traditional rendering of the Greek, I felt some sympathy for him. For it has long struck me as very strange...

On 'Spirituality'

The trendy embrace the term 'spirituality' but shun its close cousin, ‘religion.’ I had a politically correct Jewish professor in my kitchen a while back whose husband had converted from Roman Catholicism to Judaism. I asked her why he had...

Naturalistic vs. Manufactured Ends

It turns out that, in the last chapter of her book, On Virtue Ethics, Rosalind Hursthouse responded to the Darwinian objection to her theory. In her response, she seems to see only three options: (1) Darwinian theory underwrites theShow More Summary

Islam in the Public Square

William Kilpatrick:... Islam is now well on its way to controlling the public square in parts of Europe. And, were it not for the election of Donald Trump and the defeat of the Muslim Brotherhood-friendly Clinton machine,...

Donald Trump and the baker

President Donald Trump divorces Melania, and becomes engaged to the beautiful Svetlana Putina, the 27-year-old daughter of Vladimir Putin. He contacts Fabulous Cakes and Designs, owned by evangelical Christian baker Jack Graham, who is asked to bake a YUGE cake for a wedding at Trump Tower. Show More Summary

The Neurathian Procedure for Moral Justification

The Neurathian Procedure applies to attempts to answer the question of how we can know something to be true. If "It is wrong to lie under oath" is true (or, more precisely, under conditions where it is true), the Neurathian Procedure...Show More Summary

God, Pronouns, and Anthropomorphism

I was delighted to hear from an old student of mine from 35 years ago. He writes, In your writings, you often refer to God in pronouns bearing gender. Does such language result in God’s anthropomorphism? I would reformulate the...

Spinoza's Neurobiology: The Emergence of the Mind in the Body and the Brain

The human mind is the idea of the human body. This assertion by Spinoza in his Ethics (particularly, part 2) can be judged as a claim about human biology open to confirmation or falsification by recent research in neurobiology. If this...Show More Summary

Andrea vs. Hillary on Female Genital Mutilation: Who is right?

• How can I argue against a culture I haven't tried to understand? Is it relevant that I, an outsider, may find [ clitorectomies ] cruel? As hard as it is for me to admit, the answer is no. To treat the issue as a matter of feministShow More Summary

Acting Virtuously

In my last post, I promised to say something about "acting virtuously". I have been discussing Rosalind Hursthouse's thesis that: An action is right iff it is what a virtuous agent would characteristically (i.e. acting in character)Show More Summary

Philosophy From the Twilight Zone: "The Lonely"

Rod Serling's Twilight Zone was an outstanding TV series that ran from 1959-1964. The episode "The Lonely" aired in November, 1959. I have seen it several times, thanks to the semi-annual Sci Fi channel TZ marathons. There is one in...

Does Virtue Benefit the Virtuous?

A key claim of Aristotelian virtue is that virtue benefits the virtuous. Indeed, the very reason to become virtuous is to live a good life. I find a curious inconsistency in this way of talking. Is one being virtuous for the sake ofShow More Summary

2017 in review

(Past annual reviews: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, and 2004.) Off the blog... Mostly I've been occupied this year by the arrival of this little guy: Professionally, I was delighted to finally find a good home for my 'Willpower Satisficing' paper (in Noûs!). Show More Summary

Darwinian Neurobiology Supports Spinoza: Self-Preservation, Freedom of Philosophizing, and Lockean Liberalism

In the fall of 1972, I was in the second year of my graduate work in political science at the University of Chicago; and I was a student in Joseph Cropsey's course on Benedict de Spinoza's Ethics. I wrote a paper for the course entitled...Show More Summary

Saturday Night at the Oldies: Varia

Leo Kottke, Embryonic Journey. As good as it is I still prefer Jefferson Airplane, Embryonic Journey Punch Brothers, Rye Whisky Lonely Heartstring Band, Ramblin' Gamblin' Willy Bonnie Owens, Philadelphia Lawyer Cowboy Jack Clement, A Girl I Used to Know Bobby...

David Benatar on the Quality of Human Life, Part II

This is the fifth in a series on David Benatar's The Human Predicament (Oxford UP, 2017). This entry covers pp. 71-83 of Chapter Four, pp. 64-91, entitled "Quality." In our last installment we discussed whether Benatar is justified in his...

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