Philosophy in the real world.

Calmly Resisting the Fad of Stoicism

Do you remember Pet Rocks? You need to be older to remember them, but here’s a good history of them. The Pet Rock was the ultimate triumph of marketing over substance. The Pet Rock was a rock, just a plain rock, in a plain cardboard box labeled “Pet Rock.” I […]

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What if the Universe Is NOT Expanding?

Philosopher Thomas Kuhn argued that science is “a series of peaceful interludes punctuated by intellectually violent revolutions” in which “one conceptual world view is replaced by another.” (The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 1962) The longer-lasting, more tranquil periods of “normal science” are guided by a dominant paradigm. Astrophysics has been […]

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Philosophies of Social Reform

Excerpts from How We Are and How We Got Here: A Practical History of Western Philosophy. British Reform Movement Significant developments in social philosophy and social reform took place in the United Kingdom in the 1800s. The Parliament of the United Kingdom passed a progressive series of laws beginning in […]

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An Introduction to Philosophy Book for Everyone

  I began teaching philosophy in 1998, and I love talking with students and helping them discover new ideas. Several years ago, I gave up on the mass produced introduction to philosophy textbooks. The offerings from the Big Four corporate educational publishers (Cengage, McGraw Hill, Pearson, and Oxford) are overpriced […]

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William James’s Argument for Free Will

It’s a simple hypothesis: I have the ability to choose freely what actions I will take. Whether that hypothesis is correct — or its opposite is correct, that our choices are determined by external forces — is impossible to prove by reason. Or is it? William James observed that generating […]

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Twitter, TikTok, and Siloization

Note: This is a transcript of a recent podcast episode, moving the content from that one-way medium to this more two-way Medium. Any irony is intentional. Siloization – ˈsī-lō-ə-ˈzā-shən : the process of isolating a group apart from others especially in ways that hinder… Hello, how are you today? Even […]

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Jean-François Lyotard

A positive answer to the postmodern condition? French philosopher and sociologist Lyotard (1924–1998) was a fierce critic of universalizing theories and “metanarratives” (narratives about narratives). In his book, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge (1979), he proclaimed that we have outgrown our need for metanarratives or grand narratives. Metanarratives […]

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