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?
by Eric Posner and Glen Weyl Radical Markets American Affairs Winter 2018 Over the last half-century, business interests and philosophical libertarians have formed a powerful alliance. Business leaders frequently claim to be libertarians and draw on the rhetoric of the free market to criticize government regulation. In turn, libertarians frequently defend businesses against what both groups see … Continue reading Liberty vs Monopoly
by Sandra Shapshay Aeon Dec 4, 2018 Have you ever felt awe and exhilaration while contemplating a vista of jagged, snow-capped mountains? Or been fascinated but also a bit unsettled while beholding a thunderous waterfall such as Niagara? Or felt existentially insignificant but strangely exalted while gazing up at the clear, starry night sky? If so, then … Continue reading At once tiny and huge: what is this feeling we call ‘sublime’?
Necessary cognitive fortification against propaganda, pseudoscience, and general falsehood. BY MARIA POPOVA Brain Pickings Carl Sagan (November 9, 1934–December 20, 1996) was many things — a cosmic sage, voracious reader,hopeless romantic, and brilliant philosopher. But above all, he endures as our era’s greatest patron saint of reason and critical thinking, a master of the vital … Continue reading The Baloney Detection Kit: Carl Sagan’s Rules for Bullshit-Busting and Critical Thinking
Rejecting Politics as Science Marxism, Popper claims, is analogous to the psychological theories of Adler and pseudo-sciences such as astrology. Attempts to present political systems as scientific are increasingly regarded as old-fashioned: the "common sense" view suggests that politics is not scientific, cannot be reduced to a set of principles such that it can be … Continue reading Rejecting Politics as Science