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Keith Burgess-Jackson
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In brief, we should not teach thought, but rather thinking; one should not carry, but rather lead [the student], as it were, so that one day he will be competent to proceed by himself. (Immanuel Kant, "Immanuel Kant's Report on the Organization of His Lectures for the Winter Semester of... Continue reading
Posted Oct 1, 2018 at Just Philosophy
I prepared this handout for my Logic students. I haven't used a logic textbook in many years. I prepare my own handouts, exercises, and other materials. Continue reading
Posted Sep 25, 2018 at Just Philosophy
Bill Vallicella has some interesting thoughts about graduate school. Continue reading
Posted Sep 25, 2018 at Just Philosophy
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As a defender of benevolent despotism Mill is no doubt put down by today's "liberals" as a forerunner of the imperialism of Disraeli and Joseph Chamberlain in the 1890's. The few lines in his essay, On Liberty, would seem to justify this sort of characterization. But it is invalidated by... Continue reading
Posted Sep 25, 2018 at Just Philosophy
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Singer presents what he takes to be an irrefutable, logically cogent argument for animal liberation and against speciesism. Many philosophers hold that a certain reciprocity exists between moral rights and moral obligations; not Singer. His entire argument depends on the use of different criteria to allot rights and obligations. According... Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2018 at Just Philosophy
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Contemporary moral philosophy seldom changes the moral views of philosophers, much less the world. By and large, the positions that are advocated reflect the moral views of white, middle-class, liberal academicians living in an affluent, technological society. Even when they express views that divide opinions—say on abortion—one feels that lives... Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2018 at Just Philosophy
A caller to the Rush Limbaugh show this afternoon said that John McCain was the Republican Party's Jane Fonda. Limbaugh hemmed and hawed and finally replied that, unlike Fonda, McCain loved his country. This misses the point. The caller's point (I take it) is that McCain was as disloyal to... Continue reading
Posted Aug 27, 2018 at Just Philosophy
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Students are swayed in the direction of their supervisors’ views due to their persuasive power or charisma, or because they sense that this is prone to improve their career prospects. Even students who started out in earnest, set on discovering the truth of some philosophical matter, may slide into defending... Continue reading
Posted Aug 24, 2018 at Just Philosophy
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The Proclamation is expressly premised on legitimate purposes: preventing entry of nationals who cannot be adequately vetted and inducing other nations to improve their practices. The text says nothing about religion. Plaintiffs and the dissent nonetheless emphasize that five of the seven nations currently included in the Proclamation have Muslim-majority... Continue reading
Posted Jul 12, 2018 at Just Philosophy
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There are two main lines of argument against traditionalism. The first is that it is so vague that it is hardly possible to disagree with and that consequently it does not have any substantial content. The conservative is not opposed to change as such and absolutely, but rather to large... Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2018 at Just Philosophy
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During the 1960s, I met frequently with students who said that we had nothing in common, because I was over thirty and I was running a corrupt university. I was fascinated that they kept insisting we had nothing in common. And I was troubled that we have educated students to... Continue reading
Posted Jun 21, 2018 at Just Philosophy
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The present work confines itself to the examination and exposure of only one class of fallacies: those relating to the adoption or rejection of some measure of government, whether of legislation or of administration. The latter pair are so intimately connected that for our purposes they need not be distinguished... Continue reading
Posted Jun 18, 2018 at Just Philosophy
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The first and most essential stage in achieving clarity, the stage of deep non-verbal reflection, is something about which, in the nature of the case, little can be said. To a few remarkable beings, clear presentational structures seem to come as the leaves to the trees. Mozart sometimes said that... Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2018 at Just Philosophy
Have they come for you yet? If not, give it time. The leftist mob will descend on you just as it has descended on hundreds of other unfortunates during the past few years. It doesn’t matter what your political views are. You may be a die-hard leftist yourself, but if... Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2018 at Just Philosophy
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The subjectivist about values, then, is not denying that there can be objective evaluations relative to standards, and these are as possible in the aesthetic and moral fields as in any of those just mentioned. More than this, there is an objective distinction which applies in many such fields, and... Continue reading
Posted Jun 14, 2018 at Just Philosophy
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Logical expressions, whether purely logical or not, can be divided into strong and weak ones, just as success-words can; and as I have said, some of them are success-words as well. Examples of strong logical expressions are "entails", "proves", "verifies", "has as a special case". Weak ones include "is consistent... Continue reading
Posted Jun 13, 2018 at Just Philosophy
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In this chapter we are concerned with certain recurrent mistakes in reasoning which, just because they are very common, have been singled out by logicians and labelled with more or less appropriate names. The world 'fallacy' has unfortunately often been used in different senses. It is used sometimes as a... Continue reading
Posted Jun 12, 2018 at Just Philosophy
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Stoic, Jewish, and Christian thought are . . . substantially agreed in this: that there is a set of rules or precepts of conduct, constituting a divine law, which is binding upon all rational creatures as such, and which in principle can be ascertained by human reason. This universal or... Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2018 at Just Philosophy
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Sadly, there is no uniformity of opinion in philosophy. A German aphorism defines a professor as someone who thinks otherwise, and this aphorism certainly applies to professors of philosophy. The historian Peter Geyl said that history—the academic field—was “argument without end.” This description fits philosophy better than it fits history.... Continue reading
Posted May 29, 2018 at Just Philosophy
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'Give me, O Lord, an undivided heart', asks the Psalmist. Integrity is perhaps the hardest virtue to achieve—not merely making sure that one is steadfast in sticking to one's principles (or examining them critically when honesty so requires), but striving to make sure that all parts of our outlook fit... Continue reading
Posted May 28, 2018 at Just Philosophy
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At the very outset, it should be observed that, as a person, Kant was not the crusty old bachelor and Puritanical, ascetic, humorless prude that utilitarians and others have usually assumed him to have been. The historical records show that, in fact, he was quite the opposite. He always dressed... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2018 at Just Philosophy
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We are always making assumptions, without knowing that we are doing so, and arguing from them. And this fact is responsible for half the error and half the misunderstanding of each other which ever takes place. It is the work of Philosophy to produce the attitude of mind which makes... Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2018 at Just Philosophy
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Since logic is not simply valid argument but the reflection upon principles of validity, it will arise naturally only when there is already a considerable body of inferential or argumentative material to hand. Not every type of discourse provokes logical inquiry. Pure story-telling or literary discourse, for example, does not... Continue reading
Posted May 4, 2018 at Just Philosophy
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Justice is concerned with the individual, but only under certain sorts of description. A just man gives each individual his due and decides each case on its merits: but what is due to a man depends on only certain sorts of factors, and a just man must take care to... Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2018 at Just Philosophy
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We ought not . . . to be on the look-out for blemishes and weaknesses in the lives, for instance, of men such as Socrates. The practice is not only useless but harmful. It provides us with examples of moral imperfection and enables us to flatter ourselves whatever our own... Continue reading
Posted Apr 29, 2018 at Just Philosophy