Traditions

Mild Autism

A mother asked me about her child who has been professionally diagnosed with mild autism.1 She was particularly upset about the little boy’s fear of strangers at the playground. ¶ While I know almost nothing about autism, and I’m sure that his stranger anxiety is troubling, I was hesitant to reply at all. But she specifically asked me to provide any comforting ideas I might have. So I suggested that the little boy might outgrow his fears, as least somewhat, or, to put a positive spin on things, I proposed that fear of strangers isn’t all bad and may be a sign of intelligence—recognizing that people and animals much bigger than he is are threats. Next, I shared the view that this anxiety (or the repetitive behaviors she observes) are just a few of the many psychological traits this little boy possesses. I know his biological parents to both be exceptionally intelligent and the little boy is both physically adept and attractive. So, from a larger perspective, assuming we all have to play life largely with the hand we’re dealt, his disability is mild. In fact, given that he will be blessed with a loving family in good socio-economic standing, he may end up doing well. (Again let me emphasize that I don’t know much about autism as I stressed to the mother.) Moreover, as a philosopher, I would say something like this. Get him all the professional help you can and learn as much about autism as you... -

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What is mathematics about?

I commend to you James Franklin’s latest article “Mathematics as a Science of Non‑abstract Reality: Aristotelian Realist Philosophies of Mathematics.”  It’s a helpful brief survey of different ways that an Aristotelian alternative to Platonist and nominalist approaches to mathematics might be developed.  (Franklin explores these issues in greater depth in his book An Aristotelian Realist Philosophy of Mathematics.)  ¶ Franklin approaches the dispute between these three views, and between alternative ways of spelling out the Aristotelian view, by way of the question: What is mathematics about?  The Platonist says that it is about a realm of abstract objects distinct from both the world of concrete material things and the human mind.  The nominalist says that it is not really about anything, since mathematical entities... -

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Valuing and the World

As a latecomer to philosophy (I waited until retirement, after 30 odd years of working, before re-engaging actively with philosophy, both contemporary and historical) I have had to play catch-up. It meant reading a lot of stuff I'd missed after graduating college (and moving out into the world), and... -

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John Rawls

[Revised entry by Leif Wenar on April 12, 2021. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] John Rawls (b. 1921, d. 2002) was an American political philosopher in the liberal tradition. His theory of justice as fairness describes a society of free citizens holding equal basic rights and cooperating within an egalitarian... -

Read More @ Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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The Human Paradox In this episode, Fiona Hughes and Adrian Moore discuss Alan Montefiore’s latest book, Philosophy and the Human Paradox The Forum -


John Rawls [Revised entry by Leif Wenar on April 12, 2021. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] John Rawls (b. 1921, d. 2002) was an American political philosopher in the liberal tradition. His theory of justice as fairness describes a society of free citizens holding equal basic rights and cooperating within an egalitarian economic system. His theory of political liberalism explores the legitimate use of political power in a democracy, and envisions how civic unity might endure despite... Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy -


IT IS HARD TO KEEP IT TOGETHER I am so sickened by the endless killing of black men and women by police officers that it is difficult for me to offer thoughtful, high – toned commentary on theoretical issues.  The Philosopher’s Stone -


Valuing and the World As a latecomer to philosophy (I waited until retirement, after 30 odd years of working, before re-engaging actively with philosophy, both contemporary and historical) I have had to play catch-up. It meant reading a lot of stuff I'd missed after graduating college (and moving out into the world), and learning (and re-learning) things I had otherwise forgotten -- or missed entirely. It meant wrestling with philosophers at a depth I hadn't engaged in for decades... Serious Philosophy -


Mild Autism A mother asked me about her child who has been professionally diagnosed with mild autism.1 She was particularly upset about the little boy’s fear of strangers at the playground. While I know almost nothing about autism, and I’m sure that his stranger anxiety is troubling, I was hesitant to reply at all. But she specifically asked me to provide any comforting ideas I might have. So I suggested that the little boy might outgrow his... Reason and Meaning -


THE FATE OF ANALYSIS, #43–Is the Later Wittgenstein a Behaviorist? No. TABLE OF CONTENTS I. Introduction                                                                                                 II. Classical Analytic Philosophy                                                                II.1 What Classical Analytic Philosophy Is: Two Basic Theses                                           II.2 What Classical Analytic Philosophy Officially Isn’t: Its Conflicted Anti-Kantianism              II.3 Classical Analytic Philosophy Characterized in Simple, Subtler, and Subtlest Ways II.4 Three Kinds of Analysis: Decompositional, Transformative, and Conceptual                 II.5 Frege, The First … [continue reading] Against Professional Philosophy -


Talk at Bilkent, April 15: Matti Eklund on Maps and Alien Languages (Online Event) Title: Maps, Predication, and Alien Structure By Matti Eklund (Uppsala, Philosophy)   Date: Thursday April 15, 2021 Time: 1430-1630 (GMT+3) This is an online event. All are welcome. For the Zoom meeting access information, click here. Abstract: In the talk, I will do two things. First, I will introduce the general questions I am trying to address at the moment. Can there be languages structurally different from familiar ones – alien languages? Might the metaphysical structure of reality be better captured... Hesperous is Bosperous -


Paris Commune at 150 These days we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Paris Commune which lasted exactly 2 months and 10 days (from March 18 till May 28 1871). After the infamous defeat of France in the war with Germany, with Germany army at the doors of Paris, the people of Paris took over and quickly organized outside the coordinates of existing state power. Once the French government forces crashed the Paris Commune (and killed many Communards in... The Philosophical Salon -


Rejecting Śāntideva’s ethical revaluation The key goal of my dissertation was to understand Śāntideva’s thought as it was and how it could be applied in a contemporary context. Now, for my book, I want to actually apply Śāntideva’s thought, which requires asking where he is right and where he is wrong. And that, it turns out, changes my understanding of some of the dissertation’s key concepts – especially the one in its title. The dissertation is entitled “Ethical revaluation... The Indian Philosophy Blog -


Rejecting Śāntideva’s ethical revaluation The key goal of my dissertation was to understand Śāntideva’s thought as it was and how it could be applied in a contemporary context. Now, for my book, I want to actually apply Śāntideva’s thought, which requires asking where he is right and where he is wrong. And that, it turns out, changes my understanding of some of the dissertation’s key concepts – especially the one in its title. The dissertation is entitled “Ethical revaluation... Love of All Wisdom -


PART VISS: WHAT MARX GOT WRONG A number of readers have raised important questions that I need to address, but before turning my attention to that I have decided to finish my exposition. I am sure it is clear that I have vastly more to say than I am putting into this little multipart essay – I mean, I have published two books and a number of lengthy articles on the subject. My purpose here has been simply to highlight my... The Philosopher’s Stone -


Intensive Meditation Danger  A teacher I encountered in India had large limestone slabs scattered around the ashram set into the ground like tombstones with short messages painted on to them.  On one of them was the short injunction: START EARLY, DRIVE SLOWLY, REACH SAFELY.  The self torture of Goenka style intensivegoenka risks harpers 10 hours daily for 10 days meditation would not be recommended for the ordinary seeker.  Meditation there was for 10 minutes after evening hymn singing (Bajans)The... Ombhurbhuva -


LaCapra on the history, memory, and the Holocaust Dominick LaCapra's History and Memory after Auschwitz is an important contribution to the topic of "history's responsibility in front of the Holocaust". His aim in this book, and elsewhere in many of his other writings, is to express his "conception of the relations among history, memory, ethics, and politics" (6). Here is an especially arresting sentence from the introduction:I discuss Heinrich Himmler's famous Posen speech of October 1943, addressed to upper-level SS officers, for it may... Understanding Society -


Think for yourself, Forget your Self: Ancient Buddhist advice for modern uncertainties (Video of a talk on April 8, 2021) I gave a talk (on Zoom) on April 8, 2021 as part of a Living Philosophically series for my academic department at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Check out the video below, which includes the discussion after the talk as well. More information, including the abstract for the talk, can be found after that.Living PhilosophicallyWe welcome you to two events for Philosophy, Religious Studies, and Humanities-Liberal Arts alumni, students, and friends this semester. Each event... Examined Worlds -


Hadrian the Seventh: extracts (16) baron corvoCatholicismFrederick Rolfehadrian the seventh Man Without Qualities -


What is mathematics about? I commend to you James Franklin’s latest article “Mathematics as a Science of Non‑abstract Reality: Aristotelian Realist Philosophies of Mathematics.”  It’s a helpful brief survey of different ways that an Aristotelian alternative to Platonist and nominalist approaches to mathematics might be developed.  (Franklin explores these issues in greater depth in his book An Aristotelian Realist Philosophy of Mathematics.)  Franklin approaches the dispute between these three views, and between alternative ways of spelling out the Aristotelian... Edward Feser -


Recently Published Book: Banshee and the Sperm Whale Jake Camp is a writer and community college philosophy professor who lives in Colorado with his sons.  He talked with Heidi Schmidt about his new work of fiction that highlights philosophy, life, and big questions of living. This is a work of fiction, but it deals with some central philosophical ideas. How did you set […] The post Recently Published Book: Banshee and the Sperm Whale first appeared on Blog of the APA. Blog of the APA -


Leo Strauss [Revised entry by Leora Batnitzky on April 9, 2021. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Leo Strauss was a twentieth-century German Jewish emigre to the United States whose intellectual corpus spans ancient, medieval and modern political philosophy and includes, among others, studies of Plato, Maimonides, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Spinoza, and Nietzsche. Strauss wrote mainly as a historian of philosophy and most of his writings take the form of commentaries on important thinkers and their writings. Yet as... Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy -


Punishment, criticism and authority It is always unjust to punish without the right kind of authority over those that one punishes. Sometimes that authority may be given to us by them (as in the case of a University’s authority over adult students, or maybe even in the case of mutual authority in friendship) and sometimes it may come from some other relationship (as in the case of the state’s authority over us). But in any case, such authority is... Alexander Pruss -


All Art Is Ecological Final Cover  Look look! This is the first book that acknowledges my non-binary-ness!  Ecology Without Nature -