Traditions

Being Well

¶ This article originally appeared in Tableau, the Division of the Humanities at the University of Chicago’s quarterly publication, as Being Well | Want a more fulfilling life? Put down your phone and look another human being in the eye by Courtney Guerra. ¶ It’s easy to ignore the sign-offs at the end of email correspondence—they’re essentially content-neutral beyond conveying “message over.” But Candace Vogler, David B. and Clara E. Stern Professor in Philosophy, has a different style. She ends nearly all of her emails with “be well,” and, after talking with her, you get the sense that it’s intended as an actual imperative—albeit a kind and hopeful one. ¶   ¶ It’s a small, subtle habit, but that’s the point. If you’re seeking to live more meaningfully, you might as well begin by imbuing meaning into the tiniest gestures of your everyday life. ¶   ¶ As coleader of the Virtue, Happiness, and the Meaning of Life project, Vogler is an expert on living meaningfully. She and her collaborators study universal issues: “questions about the relations between being a good person and enjoying your life or having happiness, and having a sense of meaning or purpose,” she says. “We want to think about what it takes for those to line up.” And because the issues are universal, she’s eager to share the project’s work beyond the academy (through a blog, a podcast, a lecture series, and a culminating conference open to all). ¶   ¶ The alignment of...

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The Human Sense of Smell

On Thursday 13 April 2017, a workshop organized at Columbia University by the Centre for Science and Society and the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America sought to explore an important and still partly unresolved question: How does our brain make sense of scents and flavors?Importantly, a key goal of the exploration was to debunk some myths about the human sense of smell. Most notably, it targeted the view that our olfactory abilities are underdeveloped and lack cognitive significance. An eminent advocate of this proposition was Immanuel Kant, who wrote the following:"Which organic sense is the most ungrateful and also seems to be the most dispensable? The sense of smell. It does not pay to cultivate it or refine it at all in order...

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Non-Apprehension of Existence as a Means of Knowledge - Anupalabdhi

The landscape of the pramana anupalabdhi accepted by Advaita is a strange one lit up by flashes of understanding. As ever negation is the way to knowledge. The Nyaya school do not accept non-apprehension of existence as a distinct valid means of knowledge holding that it is based on perception.First...

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Gods of Confusion

Honestly my parents were hard-working and good people but very sad, very beaten by life and not ones to give me a crisp explanation.  Not of life, not of anything.  Don’t tell a lie, sure but why not, get a job, but why, not quite “just because” but not... Read More @ Eric Linus Kaplan


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Being Well This article originally appeared in Tableau, the Division of the Humanities at the University of Chicago’s quarterly publication, as Being Well | Want a more fulfilling life? Put down your phone and look another human being in the eye by Courtney Guerra. It’s easy to ignore the sign-offs at the end of email correspondence—they’re essentially content-neutral beyond conveying “message over.” But Candace Vogler, David B. and Clara E. Stern Professor in Philosophy, has a different...


Gods of Confusion Honestly my parents were hard-working and good people but very sad, very beaten by life and not ones to give me a crisp explanation.  Not of life, not of anything.  Don’t tell a lie, sure but why not, get a job, but why, not quite “just because” but not much more than it either.  If you’ve ever experienced that I think you know. So I went to the school and they explained it to me....


Non-Apprehension of Existence as a Means of Knowledge - Anupalabdhi The landscape of the pramana anupalabdhi accepted by Advaita is a strange one lit up by flashes of understanding. As ever negation is the way to knowledge. The Nyaya school do not accept non-apprehension of existence as a distinct valid means of knowledge holding that it is based on perception.First though the positive thesis. Here I follow the line laid down by the Vedanta Paribhasa by Dharmaraja Adhvarindra. Put at its simplest it may seem...


The Human Sense of Smell On Thursday 13 April 2017, a workshop organized at Columbia University by the Centre for Science and Society and the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America sought to explore an important and still partly unresolved question: How does our brain make sense of scents and flavors?Importantly, a key goal of the exploration was to debunk some myths about the human sense of smell. Most notably, it targeted the view that our olfactory abilities are...


Linhas de animismo futuro, the cover Which one should we choose?


The paradoxico-metaphysics of the other - a teaser Working with Jon Cogburn on a paradoxico-metaphysics of the other. This is just a teaser from the text just after defining metaphysiks as the project Heidegger criticizes and métaphysics as the project Levinas wants to embrace (to relinquish all forms of ontologism):The central metaphilosophical question concerns the relation between métaphysics and metaphysiks? It is about how totality and transcendence relate. How can a project attending to totality and another attending to transcendence be put together?...


Submissions for APA Newsletter Issue on Matilal due June 1 Back in February I posted about a forthcoming newsletter on the work and legacy of B. K. Matilal.  As the June 1 deadline for submissions is fast approaching, I thought I’d post a reminder.  Here are the details from the original post: I have agreed to guest edit, along with Prasanta Bandyopadhyay, the Fall 2017 edition of the APA Newsletter on Asian and Asian-American Philosophers and Philosophies.  The theme of the issue will be “B. K. Matilal: The...


Controlled Falling Controlled falling I just had the good fortune to take a modern dance class at Washington University with David Marchant. The class was a wonderful mix of an introduction to a variety of modern dance techniques and their history, along with dance improvisation, and doing David’s always inspired choreography. The central focus of the class, however, has been presence. David asked us to reflect on the first day on the following question: what makes a...


MICHAEL CHABON ROAMS THE WEST BANK WITH SAM BAHOUR Michael Chabon in Literary Hub: The tallest man in Ramallah offered to give us a tour of his cage. We would not even have to leave our table at Rukab’s Ice Cream, on Rukab Street; all he needed to do was reach into his pocket. At nearly two meters—six foot four—Sam Bahour might well have been the tallest man in the whole West Bank, but his cage was constructed so ingeniously that it could fit...


AC Grayling: What happens when our military machines are not only unmanned but autonomous? AC Grayling in Prospect: War, then, has changed in dramatic respects, technologically and, consequentially, in character too. But in other fundamental respects it is as it ever was: people killing other people. As Theodor Adorno said, thinking of the development of the spear into the guided missile: “We humans have grown cleverer over time, but not wiser.” Every step of this evolution has raised its own ethical questions, but the next twist in the long...


Bio-Hackers, Home Made Cyborgs and Body Modifications: A New Frontier for Ethics and Policy echnologies are increasingly being incorporated into the body. ‘Grinder’ and biohacking movements are gaining momentum as more and more individuals are beginning to practice increasingly extreme body modifications;using technology to enhance, extend and modify the capabilities of the human body. … Continue reading →


MORE WORK, LESS HOAX: the case of Badiou The “Badiou hoax” only proves that there are shady intellectuals willing to exploit the difficulty of his thought to swindle people intellectually (and perhaps financially). Badiou’s philosophy is untouched by this. Badiou never claims to be scientific, he is a philosopher. However, he repeatedly asserts that no philosophy can be taken seriously if it gets the science wrong, and includes his own philosophy under that prescription.


AGAINST SARCASM: the myth of the pomo French intellectual I live in France and lead a very active intellectual life here. I am constantly inspired by the rich and creative work being published here, and quite surprised by the image of it that I see on various Anglophone media. There are no social constructionist French philosophers publishing today. Michel Serres, Alain Badiou, Bruno Latour, Bernard Stiegler, François Laruelle are the major pluralist philosophical thinkers, and they are all very critical of social constructionism, as...


Robert Alyngton [Revised entry by Alessandro Conti on May 24, 2017. Changes to: Main text] Robert Alyngton was one of the most important authors of the generation after John Wyclif. He was deeply influenced by Walter Burley's logico-ontological system and Wyclif's metaphysics. His major extant work, a commentary on the Categories, heavily depends on Burley's last commentary on the Categories and Wyclif's De ente praedicamentali. Yet he was able to develop new logical and semantic theories as...


In Phenomenological Reviews, Gregory Jackson reviews Mahon O’Brien's Heidegger, History and the Holocaust. Heidegger’s concept of Gelassenheit is born out of his attempts to come to terms with what went wrong during the National Socialist regime in Germany. This concept is also born out of Heidegger attempts to confront the technological view of the meaning of being, and so offers us a potential way out of the force of its Gestell. O’Brien points out, however,...


When Philosophy Needed Muslims, Jews and Christians Alike, by Peter Adamson From The Three Philosophers, attributed to Giorgione, ca. early 1500’s. It likely portrays a young Italian philosopher, Averroes, and Plato If you were asked to name the most important philosopher of 10th-century Baghdad, you would presumably not hesitate to say ‘al-Farabi’. He’s one of the few thinkers of the Islamic world known to non-specialists, deservedly so given his ambitious reworking of Platonic and Aristotelian metaphysics and political philosophy. But if you were yourself a resident...


APA Newsletters, Spring 2017 Edition – Part One The latest edition of the APA newsletters was posted online recently. In case you haven’t had a chance to check them out yet, I’m going to provide a brief synopsis of each issue in a series of posts over the next few weeks. The APA newsletters are often overlooked, but they don’t deserve to be. Their pages contain a wide variety of scholarly material, discussion on relevant and timely topics, book reviews, and much more....


An embarrassing moment for the skeptical movement Twentyone years ago physicist Alan Sokal perpetrated his famous hoax at the expense of the postmodernist journal Social Text. It was at the height of the so-called “science wars” of the ’90s, and Sokal, as a scientist fed up with... Read More ›


On Cobwebs and Coxcombs: Adam Smith's criticism of Metaphysical technicality At any rate, I cannot allow myself to believe that such men as Zeno or Cleanthes, men, it is said, of the most simple as well as of the most sublime eloquence, could be the authors, either of these, or of the greater part of the other Stoical paradoxes, which are in general mere impertinent quibbles, and do so little honour to their system that I shall give no further account of them. I am...


Political Realism in International Relations [Revised entry by W. Julian Korab-Karpowicz on May 24, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] In the discipline of international relations there are contending general theories or theoretical perspectives. Realism, also known as political realism, is a view of international politics that stresses its competitive and conflictual side. It is usually contrasted with idealism or liberalism, which tends to emphasize cooperation. Realists consider the principal actors in the international arena to be states, which are...