The Practical Ontologist
»The Practical Ontologist« is a compendium of online philosophical production. Every few hours it automatically aggregates, analyzes, and updates.

Featured Article · Alexander Pruss

Learning whether p by bringing it about that p

Alice is driving to an appointment she doesn’t care much about. She is, however, curious whether she will arrive on time. To satisfy her curiosity, she stops driving, since she knows that if she stops driving, she won’t arrive on time. ¶ It seems a bit perverse to bring it about that p in order to know whether p. Yet there are cases where people do that. ¶ A straightforward family of cases is very pragmatic. You can only make preparations for something if you know what will happen, so you force a particular thing to happen. For instance, you can only book vacation travel when you know where you will decide to go—so, you decide where to go. ¶ One family of cases is linked to anxiety. Not knowing whether p can induce a lot of anxiety, and knowing for sure can relieve that anxiety. This is, presumably, one of the reasons why peopel turn themselves in for...

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Recent Media · Podcasts & Lectures

A Confederacy of Dunces: quotes (38) : We do correspond quite regularly, the usual theme of Myrna’s correspondence tending to urge me to participate in lie-ins and wade-ins and sit-ins and such. Since, however, I do not eat at lunch cou ...
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Conflicts and their Resolutions: C+T Online Conference 2021 : Details here. classical liberalismcosmos+taxisJoseph SchumpeterSpontaneous order ...
sci Man Without Qualities -


Jews Don’t Count : Forthcoming David BaddielJew hatredJewish Identityregressive left ...
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Zeno’s Conscience: quotes (37) : “I will never forget that, even without loving me, you married me.”I didn’t protest because the matter was so obvious that protest was impossible. But, filled with compassion, I embraced her.None of this was e ...
meta pro trad Man Without Qualities -


Hadrian the Seventh: extracts (5)
value Man Without Qualities -


Challenges to Metaphysical Realism: [Revised entry by Drew Khlentzos on January 25, 2021. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, model-theory-completeness.html, model-theory.html, notes.html] According to metaphysical realism, the world is as ...
meta sci Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy -


Killing and letting die: It is murder to disconnect a patient who can only survive with a ventilator without consent and in order to inherit from them. Every murder is a killing. So, it is a killing to disconnect a patient who can only surviv ...
meta trad Alexander Pruss -


Learning whether p by bringing it about that p: Alice is driving to an appointment she doesn’t care much about. She is, however, curious whether she will arrive on time. To satisfy her curiosity, she stops driving, since she knows that if she ...
meta Alexander Pruss -


THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE: There are two possibilities and I have not the slightest idea which one of them is correct, but we will find out quite soon. The first possibility is that Biden genuinely believes that he can reach out across the aisle a ...
meta The Philosopher’s Stone -


Solidarity, Not Charity: Mutual Aid’s An-archic History: Cover image: Molly Costello Although mutual aid has long been practiced by community organizers and activists, it gained prominence in U.S. media over the last year as hundreds of mutua ...
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Philosophy Anonymous
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Cognitive Control: An Introduction: The flexibility of human behavior In the early part of 2020, millions of people around the world radically altered their daily behavior in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We acquired new means of remo ... Brains Blog -



Now Featured
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The Kiki-Bouba effect: Look at the picture above. Which one of the two figures would you call Kiki and which one would you call Bouba? I guess that you’ll say that the left one with jagged shapes is Kiki and the right one with round shapes is ...
meta sci Philosophy by the Way -


First as Farce, Then as Tragedy?: We all know Marx’s remark that history repeats itself first as a tragedy and then as a farce. Marx had in mind the tragedy of the fall of Napoleon I and the later farce of the reign of his nephew Napoleon III ...
meta trad The Philosophical Salon -


First as Farce, Then as Tragedy?

We all know Marx’s remark that history repeats itself first as a tragedy and then as a farce. Marx had in mind the tragedy of the fall of Napoleon I and the later farce of the reign of his nephew Napoleon III. Back in the 1960s, Herbert Marcuse remarked that the lesson of Nazism seems to be the opposite one: first as a farce (throughout the 1920s, Hitler and his gang were mostly taken as a bunch of marginal political clowns), then as a tragedy (when Hitler effectively took power). Obviously, the intrusion of the mob into the Capitol also wasn’t a serious coup attempt, but a farce. Jake Angeli, the QAnon supporter known to all of us as the guy who entered the Capitol with a horned hat similar to a Viking helm, personifies the fakeness of the entire mob of protesters. Viking warriors are associated with horned helmets in popular culture, but there is no evidence that Viking helmets really had horns. They were invented in this shape by early 19th century Romantic imagination: so much f... Read More ›

The Philosophical Salon · Featured Blog

The R-Files 3.0: Reading Althusser Reading Hegel
Reading Louis Althusser is always a complicated task. Not only because of the complexity of his writings (which take the form of premises without conclusions, as well as conclusions without premises) but also due to the peculiar nature o...Read More ›

Getting Over The Bauhaus
Films, exhibitions, symposia, books, articles: the anniversary of the opening of The Bauhaus turned out to be a small but lucrative academic industry. The Bauhaus are more celebrated now than at any point since the design school opened i...Read More ›

Living-Dying in a Global Dump
Ours is the age of the global dump. And the information without form that sometimes lends a name to postindustrial societies, economies, and ways of crafting knowledge is but a brushstroke in its portrait, the still or already unframed w...Read More ›

It Is Not Humanity That Is Failing: A Manifesto
At some point we will have to admit that we have failed. We will not have averted catastrophic climate change. We will not have spread prosperity as far as it could be extended, educated all the young, or cared for the old. What we have ...Read More ›

Chile: Toward a New Signifier
Recently, two events that showed a glimmer of hope occurred in our depressing times: the elections in Bolivia and the APRUEBO referendum in Chile. (On October 25, 2020, voters were asked to choose between “apruebo” – approving changes of...Read More ›

We Need Air. Now.
During the unfolding crises, we struggle to make sense of our immediate surroundings. This year has exposed us to a far-reaching inhospitality. The situation, nonetheless, offers an opportunity to remove the noise-filled layers of our li...Read More ›

A Confederacy of Dunces: quotes (37) : She had chiseled quite a bit of money from her father to go away to college to see what it was like “out there.” Unfortunately she found me. The trauma of our first meeting fed each otherR ...
meta Man Without Qualities -


Despised: Why the Modern Left Loathes the Working Class : Given the top-notch endorsements from names of the calibre of Eric Kaufmann, Douglas Murray and Maurice Glasman, I’m very much looking forward to this read. Though written from w ...
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Sylvain Sylvain : New York Post — Rolling Stone glam rockguitarnew york dollspunkSylvain Sylvain ...
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Zeno’s Conscience: quotes (36) : consciousnessItalo Svevophilosophical literatureTriesteZeno’s Conscience ...
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Michael Oakeshott Association 2021: Call for Papers : See here. aestheticsEpistemologymetaphysicsMichael Oakeshottphilosophical jurisprudencePhilosophy of EducationPhilosophy of historyPolitical philosophy ...
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Hadrian the Seventh: extracts (4)
value Man Without Qualities -


What wine meant to Roger Scruton : Commemorating the one year anniversary since his passing, here’s an article in The Critic. alcoholhumeKantqualiaRoger ScrutonWine ...
pro trad Man Without Qualities -



Philosophers’ Non-Profit Offers Free Online Critical Thinking Course
pro Daily Nous -



Mini-Heap
meta pro Daily Nous -



Petition Opposing Suspension of Tenure in Kansas
pro Daily Nous -


DEEPLY DEPRESSING: This essay published five days ago by Anne Applebaum is deeply depressing and very persuasive. If she is right, and it is hard to disagree, this country has a far larger problem than even I realized....
pro trad The Philosopher’s Stone -



Online Philosophy Resources Weekly Update
pro trad Daily Nous -


A LITTLE SPECULATION WITHOUT BENEFIT OF MODERN MONEY THEORY: Biden wants to spend $1.9 trillion to address a variety of problems caused by the vaccine. Needless to say, Republicans are now objecting to spending so much money that the federal ...
meta The Philosopher’s Stone -


MORE IDLE THOUGHTS, SOME HAPPY: Biden has just issued an executive order mandating a $15 an hour minimum wage for all federal employees, including federal contractors. It was only one election cycle ago that the proposal for a $15 minimum wag... The Philosopher’s Stone -


Freedom and the good life: Following from his distinction between freedom and necessity, Martin Hägglund tells us that “The rational aim, then, is to reduce the realm of necessity and increase the realm of freedom.” (223) The rati ...
meta trad Love of All Wisdom -


My Ancestors Slept Here: by Lawrence Rifkin MD When I, mild-mannered guy, journeyed to wild remote Africa, I made sure my mind was revved up with knowledge of evolution, and my body was revved up with vaccinations of typhoid, yellow fever, he ...
meta sci Reason and Meaning -


Tenure under threat in Kansas: Consider signing a statement in protest: Please consider signing the statement below by going here. “As colleagues, students, alumni, donors and supporters of universities in general, we stand with the fac ...
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Same words, different meaning: I’ve been thinking a lot about cover versions lately. A cover is typically the same song as the original version. Even if the words are changed a little, the broader meaning is the same. An example I’ ...
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Realities ≤ Universes ≤ Worlds ≤ Cosmos
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``Picture a Scientist"
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The Argument from Religious Experience: An Analysis
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