144. Solitude and Education, Part 6: Socrates and Aristotle on Being Friends to Ourselves


Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), in his book Daybreak (1881), wrote: “On Education. – I have gradually seen the light as to the most universal deficiency in our kind of cultivation and education: no one learns, no one strives after, no one Read more ›

132. If we are arguing should we be substance dualists?


I have been thinking a lot about what philosophical positions might be implied by the fact that we present and evaluate arguments. Consider this argument or set of premises from which a conclusion is derived: Premise 1: All humans are Read more ›

125. Is Truth Human?


Truth, for so many thinkers throughout history, has been seen as existing independent of human minds. But it seems far more sensible to embrace an anthropological account of truth which Robert Adams nicely describes as the view “that the truths Read more ›


120. Philosophy and the Sublime


Many of our efforts at self-examination presuppose at least a sense of things we don’t know. We sense our life is inadequate and take steps to acquire more knowledge to remove our ignorance. We widen our scope, gain new perspectives, and Read more ›

118. Trump and Nietzsche: Alternative Facts, Power, and Tyranny


Sometime between 1883 and 1888 the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche made a startling observation: “No, facts is precisely what there is not, only interpretations.” This view, which Nietzsche called perspectivism, has recently found an unparalleled analogue in American politics. For example, Read more ›

101. Mill’s Worst Polemical Offense and the 2016 Election


In his classic work On Liberty (1859), John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) claimed that the freedom of thought and discussion was indispensable to a free society. Mill’s argument in defense of this freedom revolves around fallibilism or the view that no Read more ›

41. Freedom and Critical Thinking


Can we, sometimes, make free choices? Obviously, a lot rides on what we mean by free choices. Mark Balaguer has recently formulated a helpful definition in his book Free Will (MIT, 2014): a choice is the product of my free Read more ›

25. Memes


What is an idea?  According to Peter A. Angeles’ Dictionary of Philosophy we have the following candidates: Idea:  (Gk., idea, “concept,” “class,” “kind,” “idea,” “mode,” “sort,” “species,” “form,” “nature,” “from eidos, “visual appearance,” “form,” and idein, “to see,” “to grasp conceptually”).  1. Anything that is Read more ›

13. Augustine on God and Eternal Truth


In his dialogue On Free Choice of the Will (Macmillan, 1964), St. Augustine (354-430 C.E.) argues that our minds can know truths that are eternal.  For Augustine, something is eternal if it exists in a timeless, unchanging state.  So eternal truths are unchanging Read more ›


3. Plato’s Forms and the Truth, Part 1


A note of caution: the ancient Greek philosopher Plato (427-347 BCE) wrote dialogues not treatises. These dialogues show the life of the philosophical mind at work: questioning, arguing, speculating, imagining, wondering, struggling, and understanding. They do not show finished results Read more ›