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204. Some Uses of Philosophy in the Wake of George Floyd’s Death, Part 3: J.S. Mill on Liberty

On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, died after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, knelt on his neck for nine minutes and twenty nine seconds while he was lying face down handcuffed on the street. His death, and many other Read more ›

203. Some Uses of Philosophy in the Wake of George Floyd’s Death, Part 2: Sartre on Racism

On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, died after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, knelt on his neck for nine minutes and twenty nine seconds while he was lying face down handcuffed on the street. His death, and many other Read more ›

202. Some Uses of Philosophy in the Wake of George Floyd’s Death, Part 1: Natural Law Theory

On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, died after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, knelt on his neck for nine minutes and twenty nine seconds while he was lying face down handcuffed on the street. His death, and many other Read more ›

193. Coronavirus and “The Masque of the Red Death”: Poe’s Cautionary Wisdom

Edgar Allan Poe, 1809-1849 It is March 21, 2020 and the coronavirus is a pandemic threatening everyone on Earth. In my relative isolation of social distancing, I have had more time to read and I was drawn to a tale Read more ›

168. Beware of intellectuals…they need propaganda!

Jacques Ellul, in his book Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes (Vintage, 1965), defines propaganda as follows: “Propaganda is a set of methods employed by an organized group that wants to bring about the active or passive participation in its Read more ›

118. Trump and Nietzsche: Alternative Facts, Power, and Tyranny

Sometime between 1883 and 1888 the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche made a startling observation: “No, facts is precisely what there is not, only interpretations.” This view, which Nietzsche called perspectivism, has recently found an unparalleled analogue in American politics. For example, Read more ›

112. Some Thoughts on John Locke’s Theory of Mind and Education

John Locke (1632-1704), in Book II of his Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689) writes: “Our observation employed either about external sensible objects, or about the internal operations of our minds perceived and reflected upon by ourselves, is that which supplies our Read more ›

55. Eros vs. Thanatos, Part 1: Archive Fever

Sigmund Freud, in Civilization and Its Discontents, claims, like the pre-Socratic Empedocles before him, that there are two “Heavenly Powers” or mutually opposing instincts: Eros and Thanatos. Freud characterizes these two principles as follows: eros is the instinct to conserve Read more ›

33. Tragic Conflict and Intelligence, Part 5

In the last few posts I noted the following virtues that John Dewey thought accompany intelligent action: Being conscientious or being interested in finding out what the actual good of a certain situation is Maintaining a bias toward fairness and Read more ›