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203. Some Uses of Philosophy in the Wake of George Floyd’s Death, Part 2: Sartre on Racism

On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, died after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, knelt on his neck for at least eight minutes while he was lying face down handcuffed on the street. His death, and many other horrifying acts of Read more ›

184. Some Common Grounds for Moral Duty and Beauty

Our experiences of beauty and duty appear to be very different. Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), in his book Critique of Judgment, argued that judgments of the beautiful must be “disinterested.” This means that we make these judgments (1) without concern for the truth; (2) without Read more ›

175. Medusa and R.D. Laing’s Divided Self

R.D. Laing In his book The Divided Self (Penguin: 1969) the Scottish psychiatrist R. D. Laing (1927-1989) attempts to existentially and phenomenologically, rather than biologically and clinically, understand “the schizoid individual” or “an individual the totality of whose experience is split Read more ›

143. Solitude and Education, Part 5: Thoreau on Nature and Virtue

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 ›

142. Solitude and Education, Part 4: Schopenhauer on Contemplation and the Sublime

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 ›

139. Solitude and Education, Part 1: Nietzsche and Kierkegaard on Authentic Individuality

What is the purpose of education? Some common answers come to mind: education is a means to gaining more income, finding one’s calling, cultivating an enriched inner life, being a productive citizen, or becoming a life-long learner. These goals need 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 ›

22. The Demonic, Part 2: Demonic Music

The Danish proto-existentialist philosopher Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) put forth an intriguing account of the demonic in chapter 4 of his eccentric work The Concept of Anxiety (see the Princeton edition translated by the Hongs). Kierkegaard claims the demonic person has “anxiety about the Read more ›

5. The Demonic, Part 1: Kierkegaard’s Demonic Fashion Designer

The Danish proto-existentialist philosopher Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) put forth an intriguing account of the demonic in chapter 4 of his eccentric work The Concept of Anxiety (see the Princeton edition translated by the Hongs). Kierkegaard claims the demonic person has “anxiety about the Read more ›