THE BLOG@PHILOSOPHERS' CORNER

Pawns of ISIS

Who exactly are the pawns of ISIS? There's the stereotypical image of a Muslim young man, whose mind has been infected by ISIS propaganda. But there are also the Islamophobes, who take themselves to be fighting against any form of Islam, but who are unwittingly executing ISIS strategy.

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Habermas and the Fate of Democracy

Habermas has thought about the rise of a sort of authoritarian populism and the value of an inclusive and equal public sphere. On top of his intellectual pursuits, he has made a concerted effort to not to restrict his thoughts on democracy to the philosophy seminar room.

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Racial Profiling and Implicit Bias

We might agree that the practice of racial profiling—police or security targeting individuals for investigation because of their race, ethnicity, or national origin—is wrong. But the question is, exactly why is it wrong?

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[AUDIO] How Important is Privacy?

We have a tendency to desire at least some degree of privacy, allowing us to live part of our lives outside of the public eye. Is privacy foundational to our lives? How much does privacy deserve to be protected when greater safety often comes with its sacrifice?

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Why Do We Work 40 Hours a Week?

How did the standard 40 hours a week work schedule become so ubiquitous? Should we keep this standard or abandon it? Would we be more productive if we worked less? Does more time to reflect increase or decrease productivity?

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#FrancisOnFilm: Guardians of the Galaxy 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. is a fun movie with psychedelic colors, battles in space, and great ’70s music played on a Walkman. But it also touches on the famous brain in a vat thought experiment, which raises the skeptical problem: how do you know all your experiences aren’t illusory?

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Psychopathy and Evil

How ought we to understand psychopathy, especially child psychopathy? If some unlucky children are wired to lack empathy or remorse, can we justifiably call them evil? To what extent can an action be labeled evil in the absence of choice?

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Conceptual Penises and Failed Hoaxes

Recently, an assistant professor of philosophy at Portland State University named Peter Boghossian and a PhD in math named James Lindsay attempted to reinvent the Sokal Hoax in an effort to discredit an entire field of academic study. Turns out the joke's on them...

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Should Philosophers Get Political?

Do politically engaged philosophers tend to become part of self-righteous, moralizing, and vindictive internet mobs? Is there a way for philosophers to engage politically without losing the clarity, rigor, and reasonableness that is distinctive of philosophy?

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Truth and Progress in Philosophy

Students of philosophy might sometimes get frustrated because they don’t get definitive answers to the sorts of questions that philosophers ask. But are these frustrations based on a misconception of the relationship between truth and progress in philosophy?

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Ai Weiwei: How Censorship Works

How does censorship really work? And what are its effects? To what extent are ordinary citizens responsible for government censorship? Dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei takes to The Stone to make his case.

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Queerness

Is queerness something that all lesbian, gay, bi, and trans people have in common? Is it a sexual identity, a political identity, both, or something else entirely? Sometimes “queer” is used as a slur, yet there are many people who proudly self-identify as queer.

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[VIDEO] What Makes for a Good Life?

It's one of philosophy's greatest and oldest questions: how should we live our lives? Seeking pleasure? Knowledge? Self-actualization? Is there meaning to be found in this life? Must we create it ourselves?

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A Deep Dive into Democracy

America’s so-called democracy is under serious strain these days. Some fear that the system may soon be stressed to the breaking point. So we thought we’d start out the summer with a deeper look at Democracy in America.

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Nietzsche, Schmitt, and the Alt-Right

Journalist Graeme Wood recently interviewed Richard Spencer, one of the leaders of the alt-right and a noted fascist. Spencer draws inspiration from philosophers Friedrich Nietzsche and Carl Schmitt. But is his interpretation of those philosophers fair?

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The Lifespan of a Genre

Why do your musical tastes get frozen over in your twenties? What does this stagnation have to do with the evolution and historicization of music genres? Should we encourage ourselves to listen to new music past our 30s?

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[AUDIO] When Driverless Cars Go Wrong

Driverless cars promise to make driving safer. Biut with the inevitability of accidents, who is to blame for the harm caused by them? Does responsibility lie with the car manufacturers, or must we simply accept that we cannot sometimes accidents will happen?

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Does Work Give Our Lives Meaning?

The possibility of a world without work is making plenty of people nervous: what would it look like, will it actually be good for us, will life even be meaningful anymore? Is meaning the value by which we should be evaluating a world without work?

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Envisioning Eastern Hegemony

What would a world run by Eastern values look like? Would the world look meaningfully different under Eastern versus Western hegemony. Or would there just be different groups of people running roughly similarly structured institutions?

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[COMIC] Postmodernism Attacks!

There lingers an ominous line a thought in today's minds... it has infected experienced intellectuals and millennials alike, putting a spoke in the wheels of centuries of intellectual progress. Can the metaphysicians of the past join their powers to defeat this dangerous foe?

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Can Free Speech Exclude?

Do bigots have an equal right to free speech? Do the marginalized have the right to silence bigots? Is excluding certain voices the best way to fight against oppression and marginalization?

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Should Belief Aim at Truth?

Should your beliefs aim at the truth? Or should you just believe whatever makes your life better, whether it’s true or not? How could false beliefs ever make your life better?

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Because You Are, I Am

The phrase "I think, therefore I am" or "Cogito ergo sum" might make Descartes the most-quoted philosopher of the last 400 years. But what’s the role of other people in the self? Does the self really come from one person’s solitary mind—or do the people around us inform who we refer to when we use the word “I”?

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Watered-down Philosophy for Tech Bros

So-called "practical" philosophy is gaining popularity in Silicon Valley among tech executives who want to eliminate "bullshit" in their business lives. But is this trend doing more harm than good for the discipline? Does the notion that there is a "practical" philosophy imply that any philosophy not catering to the tech bro is therefore "impractical"?

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Nozick, Libertarianism, and Philosophy

What are the merits of Robert Nozick's libertarian, small-government philosophy? Why did Nozick move away from libertarianism as his views on philosophy changed? And what was his vision for the future of analytic philosophy?

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