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Eric Schliesser
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You might think that undergraduate teaching is a case of “doing philosophy with non-philosophers”—public philosophy within academia. But that would be a mistake. It is true that most of the undergraduates to whom I assign, e.g., Plato’s Republic will not major in philosophy, let alone continue with graduate education. Nonetheless,... Continue reading
Posted 15 hours ago at Digressions&Impressions
Like Beethoven's late works, Freud's Spätwerk is obsessed with returning not just to the problem of Moses's identity - which, of course, is at the very core of the treatise — but to the very elements of identity itself, as if that issue so crucial to psychoanalysis, the very heart... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
Whenever those states which have been acquired as stated have been accustomed to live under their own laws and in freedom, there are three courses for those who wish to hold them: the first is to ruin them, the next is to reside there in person, the third is to... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
But what kind of category is synthetic philosophy? Given that we are still in the grip of a highly problematic divide between analytic and continental philosophy, baptising emerging trends is not an innocent matter. Such baptising or coinage is involved in canonising. So what are the boundaries of synthetic philosophy?... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
I have often been interpreted as retrospectively attacking great writers and thinkers like Jane Austen and Karl Marx because some of their ideas seem politically incorrect by the standards of our time. That is a stupid notion which, I just have to say categorically, is not true of anything I... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
In this post I argue that according to Smith there are three kinds of bad politicians: (i) a decisionist type; (ii) an ideological type; (iii) a factional type. In practice the qualities that belong to each can be blended. I discuss them in turn and that point to some commonalities.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 11, 2019 at Digressions&Impressions
[This is a guest post by Joel Katzav (University of Queensland)--ES] The speculative philosopher Theodore de Laguna’s 1922 paper, ‘A Nominalistic Interpretation of Truth’ (NT)* is being published in English for the first time. NT is, as far as I know, the first extended defence of the deflationary view of... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2019 at Digressions&Impressions
During the years 1945-1965 (I am referring to Europe), there was a certain way of thinking correctly, a certain style of political discourse, a certain ethics of the intellectual. One had to be on familiar terms with Marx, not let one's dreams stray too far from Freud. And one had... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2019 at Digressions&Impressions
There may be good policy in retaliations of this kind, when there is a probability that they will procure the repeal of the high duties or prohibitions complained of. The recovery of a great foreign market will generally more than compensate the transitory inconveniency of paying dearer during a short... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2019 at Digressions&Impressions
The papers by Arrow and Hurwicz (1972)...Maskin (1979).... all deal with this approach to the problem. The complete ignorance approach retains the states - consequences framework of Savage (1954) but starts with the assumption that a decision-maker has no beliefs about the relative likelihood of the states. An important distinction... Continue reading
Posted Jan 29, 2019 at Digressions&Impressions
I do think that a system that allows billionaires to exist when there are parts of Alabama where people are still getting ringworm because they don’t have access to public health is wrong.--Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (See here for a video.); and here for her amusing interview with Colbert.) Ocasio-Cortez is... Continue reading
Posted Jan 28, 2019 at Digressions&Impressions
A man hath not absolute property in any thing which is ferae naturae [wild nature], but in those which are domitae naturae [domesticated nature]. Property qualified and possessory a man may have in those which are ferae naturae; and to such property a man may attain by two ways, by... Continue reading
Posted Jan 25, 2019 at Digressions&Impressions
With the exception of monopolists, Adam Smith spoke of no one with greater contempt than of politicians. Beneath his accusation lies the common anarchism of the Enlightenment, which essentially amounts to the belief that society is inherently good, but that governments, and they alone, prevent it from flourishing.--Judith Shklar (1957)... Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2019 at Digressions&Impressions
Prominent legal and political theorists, including Jeremy Waldron, Cass Sunstein and John Tasioulas, have called Finnis a ‘legal giant’, invoked his right to academic freedom, and insisted that the best thing for students to do is engage with his views. ‘It’s only respectful, and they may even learn something,’ Tasioulas... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2019 at Digressions&Impressions
Viewed in this way, the data in Table 1 are a fountain of puzzlements. Consider row 2. Given a choice between offering (10, 0) and (8, 2), every Proposer offers (8, 2), but 8.9% are rejected! Responders at the rate of 8.9% do not like this outcome. Why? Well, it... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2019 at Digressions&Impressions
Great was the saying of Aristotle: 'Suppose there were men who had lived always underground, in good and well-lighted dwellings, adorned with statues and pictures, and furnished with everything in which those who are thought happy abound. Suppose, however, that they had never gone above ground, but had learned by... Continue reading
Posted Jan 17, 2019 at Digressions&Impressions
In crossing a heath, suppose I pitched my foot against a stone, and were asked how the stone came to be there, I might possibly answer, that, for any thing I knew to the contrary, it had lain there for ever: nor would it perhaps be very easy to shew... Continue reading
Posted Jan 16, 2019 at Digressions&Impressions
If, says he, Men labour'd in common, and laid up all they got in one Heap, out of which they were freely to take for their ſupport; 'tis impoſſible but that Heats and Quarrels ſhould ariſe from the Inequality which muſt be obſerv’d between ſome Mens Getting and Spending*. In... Continue reading
Posted Jan 15, 2019 at Digressions&Impressions
Consider the following "design inference pattern" (quoted from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy): [A] Some things in nature (or nature itself, the cosmos) are design-like (exhibit a cognition-resonating, intention-shaped character R) [B] Design-like properties (R) are not producible by (unguided) natural means—i.e., any phenomenon exhibiting such Rs must be a... Continue reading
Posted Jan 14, 2019 at Digressions&Impressions
[Aristotle’s ghost] freely acknowledged his own mistakes in natural philosophy, because he proceeded in many things upon conjecture, as all men must do; and he found that Gassendi, who had made the doctrine of Epicurus as palatable as he could, and the vortices of Descartes, were equally exploded. He predicted... Continue reading
Posted Jan 11, 2019 at Digressions&Impressions
Furthermore many other obseruations in the Heauens most wonderfull and vn∣knowne for somany ages to all antiquity▪ are lately discouered by the helpe of a Per∣spectiue glasse inuented by a certaine Batauiā. As for example, that the body of the moone is spongious, consisting of some matter re∣sembling little locks... Continue reading
Posted Jan 9, 2019 at Digressions&Impressions
As I looked out a moment ago from the Reichstag, that embodiment of German unity, I noticed words crudely spray-painted upon the wall, perhaps by a young Berliner: "This wall will fall. Beliefs become reality." Yes, across Europe, this wall will fall. For it cannot withstand faith; it cannot withstand... Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2019 at Digressions&Impressions
I recently discovered panpsychism. That’s the idea that all matter – animate or inanimate – is conscious, we just happen to be somewhat more conscious than carrots. Panpsychism is the modern elan vital. When I say I “discovered” panpsychism, I mean I discovered there’s a bunch of philosophers who produce... Continue reading
Posted Jan 7, 2019 at Digressions&Impressions
I intended to write an end of year post, but ran out of time due to grading papers. I want to thank this year's guest post authors, Joel Katzav, Abe Stone, and David A. Haig for sharing their insights on my blog. I also want to thank you, my dear... Continue reading
Posted Dec 22, 2018 at Digressions&Impressions
The founders set themselves apart forever from the naive theorists of democracy. They saw, in Burke's phrase, that the constitution of a state is not a "problem of arithmetic." So they refused to identify the will of the people with the transient plurality of the voters in one constituency. They... Continue reading
Posted Dec 20, 2018 at Digressions&Impressions