February 2018

[VIDEO] Baldwin on the American Dream

James Baldwin is one of the most extraordinary thinkers of the 20th century. His writings are a must-read for anyone interested in issues of race in America. In this video, Baldwin tackles the question, "Is the American Dream at the expense of the American Negro?"

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Robot Rights?

Saudi Arabia, a country not known for progressive women's rights, recently granted the female robot Sophia citizenship. The company behind Sophia has capitalized on this opportunity, as Sophia has become an advocate for women's rights.

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Misogyny and Gender Inequality

All over the world, men enjoy power and privilege relative to women. It’s always been that way, and probably always will be. But one could also have more hope, given that in some countries women have made a lot of progress.

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What Makes a Monster?

It's been 200 years since we've been captivated by Mary Shelley's tale of a man creating a living being. From the moment the creature is "born" Victor Frankenstein calls it a monster. But why did the outcome of Frankenstein's prized experiment have to turn out so repulsive?

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Sexism Versus Misogyny

The words "misogyny" and "sexism" are often used interchangeably. But do they really mean the same thing? In an interview with Vox, Cornell philosophy professor Kate Manne draws a distinction between the two.

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What Makes a Film Philosophical?

Why are some films philosophically important? People often assume there’s only one answer to that question: because they reveal important truths about life. But that assumption is profoundly and importantly mistaken.

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The Temptation to Feel Baffled

Yet another school shooting. This one happened on Valentine’s Day in Parkland, Florida, an otherwise attractive suburb north of Ft. Lauderdale. I hear many voices expressing bafflement about the lack of legislative response. But I think it’s the wrong response.

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Is Yoda a Stoic?

It might surprise you, but according to philosophy professor William Stephens, “The code of the Jedi is Stoicism 101.” The Stoics taught that “true power is self-mastery.” To live a good life, they also believed that one must live in harmony with nature.

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Is There a Case for Bullshit?

In Harry Frankfurt's famous paper "On Bullshit" he argues that because bullshit is "indifference to the truth," silence is better than bullshit. Stefano Zorzi challenges this view arguing that bullshit can actually help us reach the truth.

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James Baldwin and Racial Justice

James Baldwin, essayist, novelist, playwright, and searing social critic, has been enjoying a resurgence of interest recently. There is no doubt that Baldwin’s thinking is just as relevant today as it was in the mid twentieth century. Sadly, there is so much that has not yet changed.

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Millennials and Social Media, a Deadly Mix?

Millennials are taking part in a dangerous and bizarre activity, the "Tide Pod challenge," which has gone viral across social media. Perhaps a far more interesting and real hysteria is the moral panic that ensued among the public in reaction to the challenge.

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A Comic Book for 17th-Century Philosophy

Interested in learning more about 17th-century philosophy, but from a graphic novel? Father-son duo Steven Nadler and Ben Nadler co-authored Heretics!—a graphic novel that explains the history of philosophy during this period.

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#FrancisOnFilm: Three Billboards

People who have been grievously harmed may be angry and may believe that such anger is morally justified. But under what circumstances is such anger justified? In what forms may it be permissibly expressed? Three Billboards provides a rich basis for considering themes about the morality of anger.

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Fatal Attraction

Regular readers know that I have a longstanding interest in the appeal of Donald Trump, and the social and psychological forces that catapulted him into power. What is this personal magnetism certain people who rise to leadership positions seem to exude that many find irresistible?

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The Urbanist Delusion

In a polemical critque, author Nikil Saval argues that Amazon has bankrupted "the ideology of urbanism." So what was this ideology? And how has Amazon's search for new urban headquarters revealed "the urbanist delusion"?

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Reasons to Donate to Philosophy

A recent donation by a billionaire investor challenges the common perception that philosophy is impractical and disconnected with the pursuit of economic gains. Bill Miller gave $75 million to the philosophy department at Johns Hopkins University, saying that philosophy benefitted him incredibly as an investor.

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