Philosophy in the real world.

A Spirit of Tolerance

True Religion Is Tolerance

I am not at all religious, but I respect religion and religious people. Honestly, I find religion fascinating–what people believe and how their beliefs motivate their actions. That is part of what separates humans from animals. Humans are belief-motivated beings. Religious belief is one type of belief and like all […]

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Nietzsche

I Give You the Übermensch

One of the most notoriously misunderstood concepts in the history of philosophy is Friedrich Nietzsche’s Übermensch. The word “Übermensch” is too often mistranslated into English as “superman” but the German “Über” means “over” not “super.” We need to be clear on that distinction to understanding what Nietzsche really meant. Nietzsche’s […]

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Kant

Kant’s Sixth Proof of God

Kant’s Sixth Proof of God Immanuel Kant definitively demonstrated in his writings that no proof or disproof of the existence of god could be fashioned from pure reason. He conclusively and persuasively showed that all of the five standard rational proofs of god are inadequate to prove the case. By […]

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Kant

Kant’s Categories

A colleague recently suggested to me that Immanuel Kant’s categories of understanding could be described as algorithms that organize sense data. An algorithm, the someone said, is defined as “a procedure for solving a mathematical problem in a finite number of steps that frequently involves repetition of an operation” (2003 […]

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Beethoven and Philosophy

Beethoven and Philosophy Many people are not aware of the fact that Beethoven’s tremendous musical innovation was in part influenced by the incredible innovation occurring in German philosophy at that time. Beethoven knew several members of the German Idealist movement and corresponded with them. German Idealism was an early 19th […]

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Look Fear in the Face

look fear in the face – Eleanor Roosevelt from You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life Eleanor Roosevelt is underappreciated as a person of wisdom. Her book, You Learn by Living is well worth reading. It embraces and illustrates one of my favorite ideas–that essential to […]

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Double Positive

During a lecture, the Oxford linguistic philosopher J. L. Austin made the claim that although a double negative in English implies a positive meaning, there is no language in which a double positive implies a negative. To which Columbia University philosopher Sidney Morgenbesser responded in a dismissive tone,

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