February 2019

#FrancisOnFilm: Minding the Gap

What are friends for? Should friends be supportive and non-judgmental? Should they attempt to improve one another? Or should friendship wane with the recognition that the friend has harmed another? Minding the Gap suggests that these questions do not have simple "yes" or "no" answers.

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Five Types of Climate Change Deniers

Why do people deny climate change? A common view is that such people reject science. But in most cases, it’s not all science they reject. After all, most climate deniers believe in electricity and that the earth goes around the sun. So what is going on? As I see it, there are at least five types of climate denier.

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Finding Yourself in a Virtual Fiction

Last week I went to the Night of Philosophy and Ideas at the Brooklyn Public Library. One of the experiences on offer was a short CGI virtual-reality film called BattleScar. What is most compelling about BattleScar is the way it plays with your perspective. You are, as a viewer, implicated in the same physical space as the characters in the film.

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What Do We Owe Future Generations?

Exactly how much should we care about future generations? It seems obviously wrong to say that we shouldn’t care about them at all. It also seems wrong to say that we should care about them as much as we do about ourselves. After all, they don’t even exist—at least not yet.

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#FrancisOnFilm: Aquaman

Can an action flick like Aquaman be philosophically interesting? Could it, for example, contribute to environmental preservation by actually motivating people to do something about oceanic pollution? Answering this question requires theorizing about moral motivation.

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The Puzzle of the Unconscious

Most of Freud’s contemporaries believed that the human mind was all conscious. Historians of ideas who write about the development of psychology often get Freud's original contribution wrong because they don’t attend carefully enough to what was meant by terms like “subconscious mind” and “unconscious states.”

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