THE BLOG@PHILOSOPHERS' CORNER

Do Victims Have Obligations?

While victims may not be responsible for being chosen as the unlucky targets of perpetrators or unfortunate circumstances, once they escape their immediate ordeal, victims play an important role in restoring justice by holding perpetrators to account or informing bystanders and potential victims.

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[VIDEO] The Slippery Slope

When is the slippery slope argument fallacious and when is it—if ever—compelling? This video from Wireless Philosophy gives a helpful explanation of the slippery slope argument and how to avoid committing a logical fallacy.

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The Art of Non-Violence

This week we're asking about the Art of Non-violence. And it is an art -- the trick is knowing when and where it will actually work. After all, it looks like it’s worked just about everywhere it’s been seriously tried: non-violence brought down apartheid in South Africa, Jim Crow in America, and British Colonialism in India. 

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The Puzzle of Possibility

Now that we’ve launched into 2018, many of us are wondering what the year ahead has in store. What might happen, to you, your loved ones, the nation or the world as a whole? There seem to be a lot of possibilities, some to be hoped for and others to be feared.

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How to Keep Your 2018 Resolutions

Hint: It's not about willpower.

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Thoughts on Retirement

Retirement, as we think of it, goes like this. A person has a right, or maybe a duty, but at least a choice, to retire at a certain age, and between the government, his or her employers, and their own diligence, should have a pension to live on for the rest of their days.

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In Praise of Affirmative Consent

The recent Twitter popularity of the #MeToo movement has shone a public spotlight on ongoing conversations about rape and sexual assault. There is no single, magical solution to the problem of sexual assault, but an important piece of the puzzle is changing the way we understand sex and consent.

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Lethal Speech

“Can Speech Kill?” The obvious answer, it seems, should be: yes, but not directly. However, if one person engages in hate speech against another—using racial slurs or de-humanizing language such as “cockroaches” or “rats”—can that language be counted as killing or contributing to killing other people?

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An Argument for Regulating Automation

As automation displaces human labor, a universal basic income plan may seem like the perfect solution. But are we being too fatalistic in accepting that automation will eventually obviate the need for human labor?

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Can Words Kill?

Can mere words be used to kill? Words can hurt and offend, but can they be lethal weapons? I don’t mean that in a metaphorical sense. We all can admit that words can hurt or offend. But I’m asking if they can literally kill?

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Buddhism, Science, and the West

Why do many of us assume that Buddhism and science are polar opposites—that Buddhist teachings are so paradoxical and mysterious they are not even meant to be understood? Is it possible instead that the teachings of Buddhism actually predate certain scientific conclusions the West is just now discovering?

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Of Philosophy and Basketball

I’m reaching the end of a semester-long sabbatical, and will soon have to start thinking about preparing for the courses that I will be teaching in the spring semester. I love teaching. However, this time I’m rather less enthusiastic about climbing back in the academic saddle.

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The Midlife Crisis

What exactly is a midlife crisis? One way to think about it is that it’s the creeping feeling that what we’re doing with our lives isn’t worthwhile. Or worse: the midlife crisis can be the feeling that no choice of life could ever have been worthwhile.

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The Odyssey in Plain English

The first woman to translate The Odyssey, Emily Wilson, tells the famous story of Odysseus, Homer's cunning Trojan war hero, in a radically different way. She tells it in plain English. Wilson's translation is direct, and her effort raises important questions around the translation of classical works.

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Scrap Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving can be a joyous celebration of family and community. But its festivities can serve to cover up, and encourage, ongoing injustice. So how should we understand Thanksgiving? Is it a wholesome celebration of family and connectedness, or a cover-up for continued injustice?

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Do Scientists Need Philosophers?

What is the value of philosophy of science? What do philosophers even know about science? Shouldn't we just trust scientists when it comes to questions of science? Philosopher Subrena Smith says there are presuppositions in science worth analyzing from a philosophical perspective.

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#FrancisOnFilm: Thor Ragnarok

Thor: Ragnarok is funny, exciting, and visually nifty. The third in a series, it's a great two-plus hours of entertainment. But it's not just entertainment; there's more in Thor philosophically than you might think of when you are caught up in the action.

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Feminism and Philosophy's Future

Male philosophers may think feminist philosophy has nothing to offer them. Yet feminist philosophy has already enriched analytic philosophy and promises to deepen philosophers' "serious engagement" with continental thinkers, argues Gary Gutting.

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Two Models of Hypocrisy

What’s goes on in the mind of a hypocrite, like "pro-life" congressman Tim Murphy, who had to resign when it was discovered he encouraged his mistress to have an abortion? Is he a craven liar? Or is there another psychological model that explains his hypocrisy?

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Favorites in Continental Philosophy

Philosopher Simon Critchley offers his take on continental philosophy and some of its biggest hits. He discusses how the continental approach to philosophy is more practically relevant to lived experience and, interestingly, more aware of its history.

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The World’s Greatest Country?

Suppose we were to ask for each country on Earth how many people would willingly choose to live in it, given complete freedom of choice, but under a modified version of the veil of ignorance. Which country would you choose?

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The Curious Lives of Octopuses

Octopuses live in a world of paradox. Though colorblind, they change their pigment to match their surrounding area. Though brilliant, they average a lifespan of only 2 to 4 years. Other Minds: The Octopus, The Sea, and The Deep Origins of Consciousness, by Peter Godfrey-Smith, attempts to resolve these paradoxes.

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When Democracy Runs Wild

Do we have too much democratic politics in this country? What are the consequences of living in a society in which your every action has a political connotation? Philosopher Robert Talisse argues that there is such a thing as too much democracy.

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Basketball: Myths and Puzzles

Basketball fans have long held that players experience runs of success or failure. If a player succeeds at sinking a free throw, the theory goes, they’re having a successful streak, which makes them more likely to sink the next free throw. Simpson’s Paradox might explain why the “hot hand” phenomenon looks real, even if it’s not.

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Achieving a Measure of Insanity

British psychoanalyst Donald Woods Winnicott wrote in a review of Carl Jung's memoir Memories, Dreams, and Reflections: “I was sane, and…through analysis and self-analysis I achieved some measure of insanity.” How do we make sense of this strange claim?

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