by Jessica Riskin edited by O Society Dec 17, 2019 “Intellectuals hate reason,” “Progressives hate progress,” “War is peace,” “Freedom is slavery.” No, wait, those last two are from a different book, but it’s easy to get mixed up. Steven Pinker begins his latest — a manifesto inspirationally entitled Enlightenment Now — with a contrast … Continue reading Pinker’s Pollyanna Philosophy and Its Perfidious Politics
by Jessica Manuel edited by O Society October 14, 2019 “The secret of fusion is the fact that the artist's eye sees in nature... an inexhaustible wealth of tension, rhythms, continuities, and contrasts which can be rendered in line and color." ~ Susanne Langer Susanne Langer (1895-1985) in her 1942 book, Philosophy In a New … Continue reading Susanne Langer on Creative Philosophy in a New Key
Centuries before Albert Einstein, David Hume recognised universal time, independent of an observer’s viewpoint, doesn’t exist by Matias Slavov edited by O Society August 27, 2019 In 1915, Albert Einstein wrote a letter to the philosopher and physicist Moritz Schlick, who had recently composed an article on the theory of relativity. Einstein praised it: The Collected Papers … Continue reading Einstein Got His Understanding of Time from Hume
Should we or shouldn't we? by O Society August 20, 2019 We turn to Hume for moral guidance. Why? Because we need moral guidance to decide whether or not we should do things. Why? Because our leaders are not taught moral guidance in school at Harvard. No, they aren't. They are taught the prime … Continue reading Hume-ans: Our Question is Humans
The Word of the Day is Occam's Razor by Farnam Street edited by O Society August 4, 2019 Occam’s razor (also known as the ‘law of parsimony’) is a problem-solving principle which serves as a useful mental model. A philosophical razor is a tool used to eliminate improbable options in a given situation, of which Occam’s … Continue reading The Danger of Oversimplification: How to Use Occam’s Razor Without Cutting Yourself
Philosophy need not be arcane, argued Aristotle, as he led by example, writing treatises for peers and public alike by Edith Hall Aeon Feb In a democratic society, where, in theory, every citizen contributes to the process of deliberation – or at least to the choice of representatives who will deliberate on her behalf – … Continue reading Speak to the Shoemaker: Aristotle’s Public Example
The Why of Reality by Nathanael Stein Aeon Feb 7, 2019 The easy question came first, a few months after my son turned four: ‘Are we real?’ It was abrupt, but not quite out of nowhere, and I was able to answer quickly. Yes, we’re real – but Elsa and Anna, two characters from Frozen, are not. … Continue reading What makes a dinosaur real, but a unicorn not real? Does philosophy even pretend to know how to answer a child’s questions?