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Ape Interpretation

Do apes really have “a theory of mind”? This research, reported in the Guardian, suggests that they do. We don’t mean, of course, that chimps are actually drafting papers or holding seminars, merely that they understand that others can have beliefs which may differ from their own and which may be true or false. In […]

The Discursive Framework, Logic, and Whether the Via Negativa is the Path to Nowhere

The Historian of Logic comments: It seems to me that what you call the ‘Discursive Framework’ is what I and others call ‘logic’, and that it reflects a Kantian view of logic that prevailed before Russell and Frege, namely that...

"I Swear, If You Existed, I'd Divorce You."

If the recipient of this insult had been a philosophy professor instead of a mere history professor, he might have responded as follows. "Darling, by the Existence Symmetry of Relations, if a relation R holds, then either all of its...

Pride and Power

325 days until the start of class. I recently encountered a meme on Facebook that compared the Wikipedia entries for Black Pride, Gay Pride, and Asian Pride with that for White Pride. While the first three were presented in substantially positive terms, the last was presented in negative terms linking it to white supremacy and racism. Show More Summary

Do We Naturally Desire Eternal Life? Or Is the Natural Limit of 115 Years Enough?

Is it natural for us to want to live forever? If that is so, is there any way to satisfy that natural desire--perhaps through a scientific conquest of nature or through a religious transition into an immortal afterlife?Or should we see,...Show More Summary

The 'Liberal' Speaks

If it ain't totalitarian, then it ain't government!

Thinker, Thought, Sentence

If the thought is to the sentence as soul to body, then thinker is to thought as God to soul.

George Orwell on the Renegade 'Liberal'

The more things change, the more they remain the same. Here is the great Orwell from 1945 in The Freedom of the Press: One of the peculiar phenomena of our time is the renegade Liberal. Over and above the familiar...

The Academic Curtain

Thomas Sowell on the sad state of our elite universities. Excerpt: There is no barbed wire around our campuses, nor armed guards keeping unwelcome ideas out. So there is no "iron curtain." But there is a curtain, and it has...

Thinking and Speaking about the Absolute: Three Views

Univocity. There is an absolute reality. We can speak of it literally and sometimes truly using predicates of ordinary language that retain in their metaphysical use the very same sense they have in their mundane use. For example, we can...

On the Left: No Wisdom, No Common Sense

What follows, from Victor Davis Hanson, is the correct view on illegal immigration. But you will never get a destructive, hate-America leftist to accept it: Illegal Immigration. No country can exist without borders. Hillary and Obama have all but destroyed...

An argument against religious morality

Some would make this argument. The parts of morality that are productive for society are those parts that religious and nonreligious people agree with (murder, theft, etc.). The parts of morality that religious people accept and nonreligious people reject are the parts of morality that are really harmful (such as opposition to homosexuality). Show More Summary

Whose notion of virtue is this?

“If throughout your life you abstain from murder, theft, fornication, perjury, blasphemy, and disrespect toward your parents, church, and your king, you are conventionally held to deserve moral admiration even if you have never done a single kind, generous or useful action. Show More Summary

Implicit and Explicit Biases

327 days until classes start. I have finished Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments, and I have begun Henry Sidgwick's Methods of Ethics. As a defender of classic utilitarianism, Sidgwick is not as famous as John Stuart Mill or Jeremy Bentham, but he is considered a better philosopher in terms of the quality and consistency of his arguments. Show More Summary

It’s not Intelligence

The robots are (still) coming. Thanks to Jesus Olmo for this TED video of Sam Harris presenting what we could loosely say is a more sensible version of some Singularity arguments. He doesn’t require Moore’s Law to go on working, and he doesn’t need us to accept the idea of an exponential acceleration in AI […]

On 'Nativism'

Publius Decius Mus: For the record, I cop to being a “nativist.” I prefer policies that explicitly favor the existing American citizenry, the people born here, i.e., the natives. I’m somewhat impressed that Pethokoukis and his ilk have managed to...

Is the Real a Tricycle? Plantinga versus Hick, Round One

In his Warranted Christian Belief (Oxford UP, 2000), Alvin Plantinga mounts a critique of John Hick's Kantianism in the philosophy of religion. In this entry I will begin an evaluation of Plantinga's critique. I will focus on just two and...

Chesterton on Progressives and Conservatives

"The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected." "The Blunders of Our Parties", Illustrated London News, 19 April 1924.

A Moral Philosopher's View of the 2016 Presidential Election

I have been looking at this year's presidential election through the eyes of a moral philosopher, and have found it distressing. First, there is the issue of basic moral wrongs - issues about which it would be difficult to argue that there is a principled partisan difference. Show More Summary

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