February 2016

Justice Scalia and Judicial Diversity

Before the imposing body of Justice Antonin Scalia was even cold, acrimonious partisan anticipation over replacing him aligned liberals and conservatives in opposed phalanxes. Fight over the man’s legacy first, bury him later. The Republican Senate Majority, as I write, stands with spears bristling in front of the confirmation process, while President Obama is determined to send a hapless nominee their way, come what may.

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Is White Privilege a Distraction?

Everybody knows that the US has a long and sorry history when it comes to racial injustice. It also has a long history of privileging the needs, concerns and narratives of white people over those of people of color. But how exactly are white privilege and racial injustice related? That’s our question for this week.

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Freedom and Free Markets

This week our topic is freedom and free markets. We want to explore the extent to which these two things are or perhaps are not mutually dependent on each other. You might think that the answer is obvious, that freedom and free markets necessarily go together hand in glove. Clearly, free markets would not be possible without a great deal individual freedom – particularly the freedom to make contracts.

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Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir was probably best known as a novelist, and a feminist thinker and writer, but she was also an existentialist philosopher in her own right and, like her lover Sartre, thought a lot about the human struggle to be free.

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The Debt Crisis

  International Debt, the debts that nations, often quite poor, owe to other nations and banks, is leading to disaster.  There is something like 200 trillion dollars worth of such debt, and 24 nations in crisis because they can’t pay off their debts.  The burden of debt falls on the poor and disenfranchised, as debtor nations impose taxes and cut back benefits.  We’re talking massive human tragedy unfolding around the world.

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Are we a white supremacist nation?

In a recent episode of Philosophy Talk, Ken, John, and their guest, Naomi Zack, considered Cornell West’s criticism of Obama the crux of which is that Obama is afraid to acknowledge that the United States is a white supremacist society, which is the root of all other race-related problems in the United States.  Ken, John and Naomi all seemed to agree that West’s criticism was off-mark, citing the important differen

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Finding Meaning in a Material World

Modern science tells us there are no souls and nothing transcendent. There’s only dumb matter and energy, swirling aimlessly through the void. We humans are nothing but temporary arrangements of such matter – gone and forgotten in the blink of the cosmic eye! But what, then, is the point of it all? What, then, is the meaning of human life? That’s the question we’re grappling with today.

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