Does Anyone Understand What “Freedom” Means?

Does Anyone Understand What “Freedom” Means? Janis Joplin didn’t. Anarchists don’t. Trump doesn’t, nor do his followers. Freedom is a word many people use, but few people have any substantial understanding of the meaning of the concept. To mention that fact isn’t cynical or disparaging. The concept of freedom, like […]

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Can War Ever Be Justified?

Putin’s invasion of Ukraine brings up a vexing philosophical question: when is war morally defensible? A small but ancient part of political philosophy is known as “just war theory.” There are two aspects to just war theory. One explores the question of when it is just for a nation or […]

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Being Martin Heidegger

Understanding Martin Heidegger (1889–1976) is no easy task. That statement is not only about his philosophy but about him as a person. He was Edmund Husserl’s other most notable student, working as Husserl’s assistant after Edith Stein had moved on. When Husserl retired in 1929, he recommended Heidegger be his […]

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Struggling for Recognition

The Authority to Claim Recognition

Social recognition among individuals and groups is what keeps together communities. Without it, struggles for justice and freedom are impossible. All struggles for justice include the struggle for the authority and power to claim recognition. Excerpt from the book, Rethinking Misrecognition and Struggles for Recognition: Critical Theory Beyond Honneth. Used […]

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Two Underappreciated French Postmodernists

I’m not a big fan of most philosophy that falls under the umbrella of “postmodernist.” There are two philosophers who I think offered valuable contributions to our quest to understand and improve society. Jean-François Lyotard French philosopher and sociologist, Lyotard (1924–1998) was a fierce critic of universalizing theories and “metanarratives” […]

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Wittgenstein’s Language Games

Poor Bertand Russell. He wanted to create the logically perfect language. But he was abandoned in this quest by his teacher and co-author, Alfred North Whitehead, and by his student Ludwig Wittgenstein. Both had originally agreed with Russell that a logically perfect language was possible, but realized, as Russell himself […]

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Dewey and Freire’s Philosophy of Education

John Dewey’s (1859–1952) scientific orientation was biology, and he was influenced by the developments in evolutionary biology. His philosophical starting point was the fact that people exist within a biological environment. We create beliefs to adapt to our environment. Dewey created the term “instrumentalism” to describe the human activity of […]

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