Philosophy: Most Popular Articles
What is specific about philosophical reading? Which tips and guidelines can you follow to improve your understanding of philosophical texts? How to use philosophy books to enhance your philosophical curiosity and the one of your peers?
The choice of a philosophy graduate program can be extremely difficult. In the U.S.A. alone, there are over one hundred of well-established departments granting graduate degrees (M.A., M.Phil., or Ph.D.) Needless to say, Canada, the U.K., Australia, France, Spain, Holland, Belgium, Germany, and a few other countries have graduate programs that are well-regarded too. How to decide where is most suitable to study?
The nature of beauty is one of the most fascinating riddles of philosophy. Is beauty universal? How do we know it? How can we predispose ourselves to embrace it? Nearly every major philosopher has engaged with these questions and their cognates, including the great figures of ancient Greek philosophy such as Plato and Aristotle.
René Descartes (1596-1650) famously produced some original arguments to prove God’s existence. The arguments played a key role in his Meditations on First Philosophy, as they allowed him to conclude that something beyond himself existed. Here goes a reconstruction of the arguments, as found in the third meditation.
There are plenty of hilarious philosophy jokes out there, some of which could easily be incorporated as teaching materials, both for children and adults.
Rationalism is the philosophical stance according to which reason is the ultimate source of human knowledge. It rivals empiricism according to which the senses suffice in justifying knowledge. In a form or another, rationalism features in most philosophical tradition; in the Western one, it boasts a long and distinguished list of followers, including Plato, Descartes, and Kant.
Literally it means “love of wisdom.” But, really, philosophy begins in wonder. So, what characterizes philosophical wonder? How does one achieve it?
Nominalism and Realism are the two most distinguished positions in western metaphysics dealing with the fundamental structure of reality. According to realists claim that all entities divide up into two major groups: particulars and universals; Nominalists instead argue that there are only particulars.
What is friendship? How many types of friendship can we recognize and in what degree shall we seek each of them? Several of the greatest philosophers have addressed those questions and neighboring ones. Let’s see some illustrations of their work.
The time from which five great philosophical traditions originated: the Platonist, the Aristotelian, the Stoic, the Epicurean, and the Skeptic.
Empiricism is the philosophical stance according to which the senses are the ultimate source of human knowledge. It rivals rationalism according to which reason is the ultimate source of knowledge. In a form or another, empiricism features in most philosophical tradition. In Western philosophy, empiricism boasts a long and distinguished list of followers in all ages; probably, the most fertile period for this trend happened during the early modern period, with the so-called British empiricists, whose rank includes authors of the caliber of John Locke and David Hume.
The idea of a self plays a central role in philosophy. Three main types of views of the self are explored in this brief introduction.
Ethics is one of the major branches of philosophy and an ethical theory is part and parcel of all philosophies broadly conceived.
Descartes revolutionized scientific methodology, established a new conception of human nature, and linked algebra to geometry, among a host of other things.
Political science studies governments in all their forms and aspects, both theoretical and practical. Once a branch of philosophy, political science nowadays is typically considered a social science. The history of the discipline is virtually as long as that of humanity. Its roots in the Western tradition are typically individuated in the works of Plato and Aristotle.
How to write a solid philosophy paper? Which practices should you follow and which ones to avoid? Here are ten simple and general steps you can follow.
You are thinking about possibly majoring in philosophy and are scouting for some of the best programs in the U.S.? Chances are that, if you are after a major in philosophy, you have been exposed to it in some way before applying to college; maybe a family member or a friend studied philosophy and you think that the subject may well suit your interests; or, perhaps you are just exploring the opportunity of getting a philosophy undergraduate degree. Well, here are some tips for you.
Liberalism's core values are expressed in terms of individual freedom and equality, democracy, capitalism, freedom of religion, and human rights.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" > Is lying ever
Sport ethics is that branch of the philosophy of sport addressing the specific ethical questions that arise during and around sport competitions. With the affirmation of professional sports in the past century as well as the rise of a voluminous entertainment industry related to it, sport ethics has come to be not only a fertile terrain for testing and developing philosophical notions and theories, but also a foremost point of contact between philosophy, civil institutions, and society at large.
Skepticism is precisely the attitude of doubting the reliability of one’s sources. Learn about the history of skepticism and the contemporary responses.
Who Is?: Plato is one of the most influential philosophers to date and the first Western thinker whose
Time is a central and classical theme in philosophy. It can be taken up from several angles, including epistemology (how do we know of the existence of a past or a future?), phenomenology (the time lived and perceived as opposed to external time), philosophy of language (the relevance of tenses in communication), philosophy of mind (e.g. time and memory), ethics (e.g., human life ought to be lived with the horizon of our death in view), social philosophy (the importance of recurring rituals in the structuring of a society, e.g. bells, New Year’s, 4th of July …) In this article we shall look at time from a metaphysical point of view.
Immanuel Kant is one of the most important philosophers of Western tradition, and among the most systematics. He is best known for his transcendental philosophy, which he viewed as a revolution for the humanities comparable to the one brought forth by Copernicus in the sciences. He authored a vast number of texts, including the three critiques: Critique of Pure Reason(first published in 1781, then in a revised version in 1787), Critique of Practical Reason(1788), Critique of Judgment (1790).
What are the best philosophy blogs? What sorts of philosophy blogs are out there? The net has revolutionized the way philosophy is disseminated and discussed; philosophy radios abound and recently the first philosophy TV was introduced; philosophy journals have been affected by the change too. Here find a selection of the most influential blogs in philosophy to date along with some additional useful sources.
Humanism was a cultural movement that developed in Europe starting from the second half of thirteen hundreds. It reached its peak in fourteen and fifteen hundreds, most remarkably in Florence (Italy), during that period which goes under the label of Renaissance. Humanism affected all the arts and sciences as well as politics, religion, and societal organization. Humanistic movement came as a bomb amidst the medieval intellectual climate. As the term itself suggests, Humanism placed the human being at center stage in the universe. No longer God is the protagonist of intellectual endeavors: everything is now seen from the perspective of human beings. God created humans, beings with reason, and it is from the human perspective that we should understand worldly phenomena; after all, no other perspective is really possible.
Violence is a central concept for describing social relationships among humans, a concept loaded with ethical and political significance. In some, probably most, circumstances it is evident that violence is unjust; but, some cases appear more debatable to someone’s eyes: can violence ever be justified?
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" > Logic is one
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Culture and Human
Education is a key component of cultural processes. Every process of acculturation can indeed be regarded as a process within which an individual, or a group, is educated to act or behave in a given manner. Although education is often thought in relation to the school system, by no means educational processes are restricted to what is imparted in a school setting. For instance, primary caregivers provide emotional and nutritional education, among others; sport coaches provide education within a specific discipline; friends and lovers cane educate to cherish those forms of human bonding in an appropriate way.
Who Is?: Niccolò Machiavelli was one of the most influential political theorists of Western philosophy.
Beauty is one of the most intricate and fascinating topics of philosophical discussion. It has been taken up in relationship to a host of other subjects, such as truth, the good, the sublime, and pleasure. Here is a selection of quotes on beauty, divided into different themes.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >All You Need Is
How can food lead to deep philosophical discussions? Find how it reflects on the ethical, political, social, artistic, identity-defining aspects of life.
Metaphysics is one of the core branches of philosophy and it is among the oldest ones. Metaphysics centers on the study of the most fundamental categories of reality and their relations, such as god, person, thing, event, property, causation. The question typical of this branch is, hence: “What is there, really?”
While it may be tempting to define honesty as speaking the truth and abiding to the rules, this may turn out to be overtly simplistic. Telling the truth – the whole truth – is at times practically and theoretically impossible as well as morally not required or even wrong. Suppose your new partner asks you to be honest about what you have done over the past week, when you were apart: does this mean you’ll have to tell everything you have done?
Violence is a central concept for describing social relationships among humans, a concept loaded with ethical and political significance. Yet, what is violence? What forms can it take? Can human life be void of violence, and should it be? These are some of the hard questions that a theory of violence shall address. In this article we shall address psychological violence, which will be kept distinct from physical violence and verbal violence. Other questions, such as Why are humans violent?, or Can violence ever be just?, or Should humans aspire to non-violence? will be left for another occasion.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Lying is a complex
Is it customary to divide human beings among male and female, men and women; yet, this dimorphism proves to be also ill-taken, for instance when it comes to intersex (e.g. hermaphrodite) or transgendered individuals. It becomes hence legitimate to wonder whether sexual categories are real or rather conventional kinds, how gender categories get established and what their metaphysical status is.
Despite the difficulties in nailing down its details, vegetarianism seems to be backed up by a wealth of ethical arguments. For this reason, turning to a vegetarian diet seems to be one of the most pressing issues for our contemporary society. In this article we shall review the main reasons in favor of a vegetarian diet.
A discussion of arguments against relativism, including concepts of truth, cultural perceptions, and more. Follow the links for further online readings.
Enlightenment, or the Age of the Enlightened, was an intellectual movement most fertile between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in central Europe (France and Germany most distinctly) as well as in Russia and North America. The movement converged around the (at times unconditional) belief in the light of reason, regarded as the best gift to guide human agency, both theoretical and practical. The list of authors affiliated to some degree with the movement is particularly extensive and includes figures such as Voltaire, Rousseau, Montesquieu, Smith, Kant, Franklin, and Jefferson. The work that most embodies the spirit of enlightenment is probably the Encyclopédie that d’Alembert and Diderot assembled between 1751 and 1772.
Voltaire’s writings are most famous for their advocacy of the autonomy of the individual and the State with respect to the church.
David Hume is one of the most distinguished empiricists and skeptics of the Western tradition. A prominent figure in the history of early modern philosophy, according to some he is also the most important thinker to ever write in English...
Nature and culture are often seen as opposite ideas: what belongs to nature cannot be the result of human intervention and, on the other hand, cultural development is achieved against nature. However, this is by far the only take on the relationship between nature and culture. Studies in the evolutionary development of humans suggest that culture is part and parcel of the ecological niche within which our species thrived, thus rendering culture a chapter in the biological development of a species.
Philosophy is one of the most spontaneous and profound activities humans can pursue; but, what can you do with a major in philosophy? Here are eleven reasons to choose the examined life .
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >The Paradox How
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" > Relativistic
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" > At the center
One of the most influential philosophers to date, Aristotle was a student of Plato and the teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings redefined or established an impressive variety of areas, including ethics, metaphysics, political philosophy, logic, epistemology, rhetoric, and tragedy.
The early modern period was one of the most innovative moments in, during which new theories of mind and matter, of the divine, and of civic society - among others - were proposed. Although its boundaries are not easily settled, approximately it spans between the late fourteen hundreds and the end of the seventeenth hundreds. Among its protagonists, figures such as Descartes, Locke, Hume, and Kant.
Environmental ethics is that branch of philosophy dealing with the major ethical questions regarding the relationships between humans and the environment. This includes issues such as biodiversity, wildlife management, ecological preservation, hunting practices, farming techniques, and food regulations.
Who Is?: One of the most remarkable and controversial figures in modern politics and philosophy, Karl
Truth is a topic of major significance within any philosophy branch. Virtually every philosophers has to come to terms, in one way or another, with the nature of truth. Because of this, the array of positions regarding truth is as wide as that of philosophical schools and theories that have been proposed. In this article we will review the main positions on the nature of truth that characterize Western philosophy.
What is beauty? How to tell what is art from what art is not? These are the two fundamental questions if aesthetics. The first one concerns beauty in its most general form, thus not only artifacts, but also beauty as encountered in a landscape, a sunset, a stone, or a flower. What is it that makes something beautiful? Is beauty always one and the same property, exemplified by entities of radically different sorts?
Consequentialism is perhaps the most developed view of ethics, according to which the ethical worth of an action is proportional to its consequences. In particular, consequentialism holds that among all the possible courses of action, an agent should pursue the one that, overall, brings about the greatest amount of good – or, in jargon, the one that maximizes good.
Violence is a central concept for describing social relationships among humans, a concept loaded with ethical and political significance. Yet, what is violence? What forms can it take? Can human life be void of violence, and should it be? These are some of the hard questions that a theory of violence shall address.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >"Be yourself.
Vegetarianism seems to be backed up by a wealth of reasons, despite the difficulties in its formulation. At the same time, most people do not practice a vegetarian diet. It might well be, of course, that they are immoral – after all, who ever said that the majority of people is morally blameless? However, there may be also considerations leading to defend a non-vegetarian diet. In this article we shall review the main ones.
Philosophy of food is an emerging branch in philosophy. Here is a list of quotes that are pertinent to it; if you happen to have additional suggestions, please do send them along!
We may be shy or even ashamed to admit it, but violence is one of the central modalities through which humans relate to each other. Not only we are violent against strangers or acquaintances, but we are often violent also against ourselves. Why is it so? Why is violence one of the main modalities through which we relate to the world?
Jorge Louís Borges (1899-1986) was one of the greatest writers of the past century and, to many, he was the most prominent Argentinian writer. Not only, however, Borges was an exemplar writer, he was also one of the most acute thinkers of the past century, so much as that his work is worth of being closely studied also from a philosophical point of view. In this article, I collected some of the most prominent passages from his writings that stimulate philosophical reflection; the list could keep growing, and if you have any suggestion you are most welcome to send it in!
First developed in early nineteenth-hundreds in France, from the work of Jean-Paul Sartre, existentialism it has since grown to become one of the most prominent philosophical movements. Owing much to the philosophies of Descartes and Edmund Husserl, existentialism centers on three key concepts: anguish, abandonment, and despair. To date, both religious and non-religious variants of existentialism have been defended.
The split between analytic and continental philosophers is perhaps one of the most distinctive traits of Western philosophy in the twentieth century. What is this all about and what relevance does it have to this date?
The paradoxicality of certain sentences involving liars has been known for a long time, and in Western philosophy it dates back to the Ancient Greek period. In this article we will concentrate on the formulation of the paradox and some of its implications for the concept of truth, rather than its solutions.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >The Problem The
Philosophy of language takes central place in contemporary philosophizing and its dealt in quite different manners in the analytic and continental traditions (roughly, the modern-day Anglo-Saxon and German-French philosophical schools respectively). In the analytic tradition, philosophy of language has focused on the characterization of meaning, on the explanation of language use and understanding, and on the relationship between language and reality. The continental tradition, instead, language has been seen an institution emerging within certain biological and socio-political structures. Champions of the first approach are authors such as Gottlob Frege, Bertrand Russell, Paul Grice, and Willard Quine; the second approach was particularly influenced by the figures of Martin Heidegger, Hans-Georg Gadamer, and Paul Ricoeur.
Mary Wollstonecraft is best known for her philosophical and political insightful fervor, especially for her strenuous and lucid defense of the rights of women in society. This excerpt, taken from the third chapter of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, bears witness to a well-articulated picture.
Baruch Spinoza was a Dutch philosopher of Jewish descent, to date one of the most distinguished in the history of his land, and a prominent figure in early modern philosophy. He is most famous for having defended two doctrines. The first is a form of monism in metaphysics. The second is the rebuttal of any objective basis for good and evil in ethics.
The idea of nature is one of the most widely employed in philosophy, and by the same token one of the most ill-defined. Authors such as Aristotle and relied on the concept of nature to explain the fundamental tenets of their views, without ever attempting to define the concept. Even in contemporary philosophy, the idea is oftentimes employed, in different forms. So, what is nature?
What is violence? And, accordingly, how should non-violence be understood? While I have written a number of articles on these and related topics, it is useful to look at how philosophers have synthesized their views on violence. Here is a selection of quotes, sorted out into topics.
The philosophy of hunting is a subfield of the philosophy of food, which deals most importantly with the ethical, environmental, and evolutionary aspects of the practice of hunting. Among its central questions: can hunting ever be regarded as morally good? Which methods for hunting are most ethical? Is hunting for sport rather than for food, e.g. fox hunting, ever morally permissible? Can hunting better reconnect us with wildlife? Can hunting shed light on our evolutionary past?
What is humor and how is it used among humans to enhance or hinder their relationships? Plenty of philosophers have asked this question, trying to come up with a theory of humor that could also separate such a state from mere laughter as well as good from bad quality humor.
Zen philosophy is a school of Buddhism, influenced by Laozi’s teachings. Developed within the Mahayana tradition, most probably in China during the sixth century A.D., it enjoys a great fame also in Western countries specially thanks to its short, elliptical, yet intriguing proverbs and sayings. Here below I compiled a list of them; please send in more suggestions, I you happen to have them handy.
Whether the thought of it was implicit in your attitude or whether you actually took the time to spell it out, there is a great deal of philosophical substance in sport. Any sport, really. From team sports such as football and basketball to individual sports such as tennis and car racing, it is easy to devise a plethora of philosophical issues that span across most philosophical branches.
That certain sentences involving liars are paradoxical has been known for a long time. Perhaps the earliest written formulation of the liar paradox within Western philosophy dates back to the Ancient Greek period: it is due to Eubulides of Miletus, author of several other important logical paradoxes too. If a person says that she is a liar, is what she’s saying true or false? Suppose it’s true: then the person is not a liar; but then it’s actually false that she is a liar. If instead what the person is saying is false, then she is a liar; but then what she is saying is true. Either way, we reach conclusions that seem – literally – incredible; that’s the mark of paradoxicality. In this article we will concentrate on the solutions to the paradox.
Nominalism and Realism are the two most distinguished positions in western metaphysics dealing with the fundamental categories of reality. From the millenary debate between supporters of those two opposed camps spurred some of the most puzzling problems in metaphysics. Here we shall review the problems with nominalism, that are no less hard than the problems faced by realists.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >"Beauty is truth,
To what extent is the use of rhetorical figures in philosophical writing, such as metaphors and analogies, the mark of a weakness on the part of the author? Can we sort out different styles of philosophizing, such as analytic and continental, based on their use of rhetorical devices?
A central figure of modern philosophy, Friedrich Nietzsche was trained in classical philology. His production – in comparison to its relevance – was concentrated in an extraordinarily brief time span, between 1869 and 1888. Known for his stark contrasts with friends and colleagues, most famous the controversy with fellow composer Richard Wagner, as well as for his fragile health, Nietzsche had a life of turmoil.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" > Necessity and
Can food be art? This is a question that has received increasing attention over the past few decades in aesthetics; in this article we shall deal with the main reasons that have been brought forth against the palatability of gastronomic experiences being, in some instances, forms of ultimate artistic experiences.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" > What do you know,
Simplicity is and has been kept in high esteem in many philosophical quarters. A fine example of the centrality of simplicity is the so-called Ockham’s Razor. Other notable applications of simplicity in philosophy are in philosophy of science: nature is organized according to simple laws and principles; thus, the best scientific theories are those that manage to explain a great number of phenomena with the assumption of a limited amount of types of entities interacting according to simple laws.
Who Is?: John Locke is one of the most important figures in British empiricism and one of the main authors
Trained as a classical philologist, Friedrich Nietzsche grew to become one of the most distinguished German philosophers and one of the most original voices in Western philosophy. His life was marked by significant health problems and stark contrasts with friends and colleagues. Although it is sometimes opportune also to differentiate different phases in his philosophical development, some recurring themes and ideas can be individuated. Five of those will be analyzed here.
Empathy is a topic of philosophical discussion linked especially to fundamental issues in philosophy of mind and ethics. Let’s review some of the main issues pertaining to this topic.
Since the advent of internet, philosophy sources on the web have grown steadily both in number and varieties. Nowadays, having an online profile and being up to date with regard to the latest debates, trends, and news on the subject has become a (almost obligatory) routine for professional philosophers, aspiring ones, and amateurs. Here we shall trace a map of philosophical encyclopedias as well as philosophy radios and TVs. Philosophy blogs, journals, and bibliographies will be treated separately.
Galileo Galilei was one of the protagonists of the scientific revolution, best known for his astronomical discoveries by means of a telescope (including sunspots, Jupiter’s satellites, and the phases of Venus), for his defense of heliocentrism, and and for his study of the natural laws regarding falling bodies. Galileo, however, gave key contributions also to the development of the modern scientific methodology; for this reason, he holds a special place in the philosophy of science and epistemology.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Who Was Laozi?
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was a German mathematician and philosopher, one of the greatest minds of Early Modern Philosophy and one of the most remarkable in the Western philosophical tradition. He is most famous for having developed the infinitesimal calculus (independently of Isaac Newton), for his doctrine according to which ours is the best of all possible worlds, and for his metaphysics of monads.
The Prince is the most read work by Florentine author Niccolò Machiavelli and one of the masterpieces of Western political thought. It is a small treatise composed of twenty-six chapters and aiming to educate a young adult about how to maintain power in a princedom regardless of the situation. Machiavelli’s precepts subverted Aristotelian ethics, turning what was the most regarded theory upside town.
Pessimism, philosophically connoted, may take on different forms depending on the corresponding target optimist position. Pessimist philosophers include several popular names, such as Nietzsche, Leopardi, and Camus. In Western civilization, the most successful moment for pessimism was during the nineteenth century, when pessimism comprised the most compelling arguments against positivism and the remnants of the enlightenment.
What is a desire? Such notion is often taken for granted in contemporary analytic philosophy. But to provide an answer to that question is all but straightforward. There are several important nodes to be untied before having a viable notion of desire. Let’s see seven of them.
What is dignity? This is by no means an easy question to answer. And yet, dignity seems such an important notion when thinking of our own selves. To start brainstorming about this subtle topic, I compiled a list of significant quotes on dignity. Please send in more suggestions if you come across them!
Unconventionality is cool. Or, at least, we tend to believe that from unconventional choices come important societal changes, and we like that. But, clearly, not all unconventional behavior is to be cherished. Thus, how to tell good from bad unconventionality? And, in first instance, what is unconventionality?
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >A Plea for Purposeless
Is philosophy ever literature? That is, if you were to make a list of some valuable samples of literature, would you be inclined to include any philosophical text? If you would, which criteria should you follow for inclusion in the list?
Nominalism and Realism are the two most distinguished positions in western metaphysics dealing with the fundamental categories of reality. From the millenary debate between supporters of those two opposed camps spurred some of the most puzzling problems in metaphysics. Here we shall review the problems with realism, that are no less hard than the problems faced by nominalists.
How to tell an artwork from what is a work of art is not? What is it that makes an object, or a gesture, a work of art? Those questions lie at the core of Philosophy of Art, a major subfield of Aesthetics. Here is a collection of quotes on the subject.
Marcus Aurelius was a Roman Emperor. He lived between 121 and 180 A.D. and covered the role of Emperor between 161 and 180. His reign was characterized by a sequel of unfortunate circumstances, such as a malicious plague – known as the Plague of Galen – that spread in the empire between 165 and 180. Aurelius had also to fight wars throughout his entire reign, including those against the Marcomanni, the Quadi, the Sarmatians, and the Germanic tribes. It was during the campaign in Greece between 170 and 180 that he wrote his philosophical masterpiece, the Meditations. Here is a collection of favorite quotes from the book; if you have any additional you would like to see featured, please do send it in!
A large collection of paradoxes has been collected throughout the history of philosophy. Along with Zeno of Elea, the ancient Greek philosopher Eubulides of Miletus (fourth century B.C.) is perhaps the most re-known discoverer of logical paradoxes. To him are attributed four of the most discussed arguments: the liar’s paradox, the sorites paradox, the paradox of the hooded man, the paradox of the horned man.
To respect someone or something is to value that person or thing. What else can we say about respect to be able to teach it and to practice it? To start addressing such a need, I compiled a list of quotes on respect, which may be compared to quotes on equality and dignity. If you have any other passage you would like to share, please send in your suggestions!
Who Is?: Jean-Jacques Rousseau is a central figure in early modern philosophy, and one of the most influential
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >The Sublime The
Humans tend to like rankings, perhaps out of their adamant competitiveness, perhaps out of their eye for classification, systematization, and domination. One of the most pervasive rankings is that of kinds of being; this is possibly the ranking of all rankings, that on the basis of which anything that there is ought to be first and foremost considered. It is hard to find civilizations that did not adopt one version or another of such ranking. In the Western tradition, it is often referred to as the great chain of being, following suggestions of Plato and Aristotle and the title of a 1936 book by Arthur Lovejoy.
What reasons in favor of relativism can be brought forward? That people tend to have different views with respect to a same issue seems to be a platitude. Generational gaps, differences in social status, upbringing, religion, scientific perspectives can all contribute, at one time or other, to form contrasting opinions. Some people take these situations to provide a plethora of evidence to take a relativistic attitude towards the topic at hand. Of course not everyone agrees, affirming that relativism ought to be resisted. Needless to say, to a relativist the disagreement will just be additional evidence that she is on the right side of the debate.
Lies are peculiar sorts of entities: while we often encounter them during our day, be it in the media or an acquaintance, they are actually hard to pin down. With time, scholars have individuated four standard conditions that seem to be required for lying. It turns out that each of them is problematic. Let ‘s see why.
Confronted with the problem of explaining change, Aquinas borrows from Aristotle three notions, that he calls principia (principles): matter, privation, form. Briefly put, form is whatever quality a substance possesses; the acquisition of such quality may have happened either at the very moment in which the substance was created, or during the course of its existence.
The advent of internet has had a tremendous effect not only for the dissemination of new forms of philosophical content such as philosophy radios and TVs, philosophy blogs, encyclopedias and bibliographies; also traditional forms of dissemination of scholarly content were deeply affected in a number of ways. Philosophy journals are no exception and we shall review the online sources to access them here.
Descartes famously affirmed the centrality of the first-person in philosophy. Self-consciousness, to him, is the place from within our understanding of metaphysics and epistemology (and derivatively ethics, aesthetics, and all other philosophical endeavors) ultimately rest. I know that I exist, I am certain of it as I cannot fail to recognizing myself as thinking without actually being thinking; everything else follows.
How to tell an artwork from what is a work of art is not? What is it that makes an object, or a gesture, a work of art? Those questions lie at the core of Philosophy of Art, a major subfield of Aesthetics. Let’s see how they may be answered.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >British writer
Pleasure occupies a central role in the history of philosophy; on pleasure have been based some of the most important philosophical theories, and reflection on pleasure has kept busy the most brilliant philosophical minds. Moreover, each human being is called to deal with her own longing for pleasures of one sort or another. So, what is pleasure and what key philosophical issues does it give rise to?
There is a great deal of philosophical substance in sport. Any sport, really. From team sports such as football and basketball to individual sports such as tennis and car racing, it is easy to devise a plethora of philosophical issues that span across most philosophical branches. Here is a selection of the most poignant quotes related to sport that highlight its philosophical significance.
Simplicity has been a powerful ally of business people and of successful civilizations. Simple inventions, such as the wheel or the yearly rotation of crops within fields, have gone far in securing an increase in availability of food, ease of transportation and of exchange of information. One of the most revolutionary inventions of the last century, then, computing machines, ultimately rests on an extremely simple language and some simple mechanisms, discovered by – among others – the British logician Alan Turing. Computers, along with the inventions that prompted the industrial revolution, are key to understand the economic success of certain countries.
Technology has been the subject of much speculation in philosophy, not simply theoretical philosophy, but also socio-political speculation and the critique of capitalist societies. Yet, is technology intrinsically good or evil? And, what is technology, really? Here is a series of favorite quotes on the topic.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Equality is one
Parmenides is probably the first great philosopher of the Western canon. His philosophy seems to have embodied several of the distinctive traits of Ancient Greek philosophy, most notably the exclusive reliance on reason; Parmenides had a deep influence on Plato's and Aristotle's thinking, whose work can by and large be seen as a response to Parmenides’s.
Niccolò Machiavelli is a central intellectual figure in Renaissance philosophy. Although he worked mainly as a statesman, he was also a notable historian, dramatist, poet, and philosopher. His works contain some of the most memorable quotes in political science. Here follows a selection of those that are most representative for philosophers.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Who Was Marcus
There is a threefold distinction between linguistic acts that is particularly useful for philosophical purposes and some cognate endeavors. Its development is due by and large to British philosopher John L. Austin (1911-1960) and his American student John R. Searle (born 1932). The bulk of the distinction was presented during the William James lecture that Austin delivered at Harvard in 1955, then published in 1962, to be refined by Searle and other colleagues.
One of the Most Distinguished Women Philosophers: Anne Conway is probably the most prominent woman philosopher
Much of the marvel and fascination of sport lies in its unpredictability: even the most apparently doomed competition, could reserve some surprise. This element, which much resembles other spheres of living, depends by and large on the creativity of athletes as well as on a fatalistic element we may refer to as luck – be it bad luck or good luck ...
Interested in learning about Nietzsche’s life and philosophy, but do not know where to start from and where to find appropriate sources? Here is a list of suggestions for you. I hope you’ll find them useful. If you think there is some entry missing, please contact me.
Violence is a central concept for describing social relationships among humans, a concept loaded with ethical and political significance. Yet, what is violence? What forms can it take? Can human life be void of violence, and should it be? These are some of the hard questions that a theory of violence shall address. In this article we shall address physical violence, which will be kept distinct from psychological violence and verbal violence. Other questions, such as Why are humans violent?, or Can violence ever be just?, or Should humans aspire to non-violence? will be left for another occasion.
Can creativity be defined? Can it be taught? What good is creativity to human beings? In the sequel I collected a number of quotes on the topic. If you have any additional suggestion, please send it in!
Hunger is one of the most surprisingly interesting philosophical topics. It’s a state that typically does not fall under our attention. We are born hungry. We have been hungry well before we can remember being alive or gained self-consciousness of our own pleasures. Hunger is a landmark of our longing for change, for that which we are not. Satisfaction of hunger is one of the most complex ecological relationships we part take. And yet, what is it? And what philosophical lessons can we learn from hunger?
Philosophers are not always known for their simplicity. Even to make a simple point, a reader may be taken for some convolute route. Here are some notable favorite examples, from classic philosophers or texts.
What is the relationship between beauty and justice? Should we treat all those things and events that appear beautiful, but conflict with some principle of morality, as non-beautiful because of such a conflict?
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >The eccentric
Zeno’s philosophy is one of the clearest examples of the power accorded to rational argumentation by Ancient Greek philosophers: by reasoning alone (hence without relying on any specific observation) humans can prove that the world has a certain structure. This is a radical methodology, which by and large diverges from the methods of inquiry employed in contemporary science.
Conventionalism is a generic term capturing a varieties of philosophical positions, held in disparate areas such as philosophy of language, metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mathematics, logic, and ethics. Although it is difficult to find a common denominator for all views that bear the conventionalist label, they have tended to influence each other based on the specific conception of convention.
You have to start a research in philosophy, but don’t know where to start from? Luckily, there are plenty of place on the net that can help you. Here is a guide to them.
One of the most brilliant and influential minds of twentieth century, Alan Turing was a British mathematician and logician, a father of computer science and artificial intelligence, who also served as cryptanalyst during World War II and for some time afterwards. His tortuous life has been the source of literary inspiration, from his mother’s memoir (Alan M. Turing by Sara E. Turing, 1959) to Hugh Whitemore’s play, Breaking the Code, 1986, then produced in 1996 by BBC.
What is love? What is the relationship between love and beauty, or love and truth, or love and justice? While I’ve written about those topics, it is refreshing to read poignant quotes on them. Here is a compilation of some favorite passages on love.
The idea of a West was initially also a geographic idea, when first used by the ancient Greeks to indicate the societal structure and culture of those societies that stood West of Persia. Later adopted also to describe the societies falling under the Roman influence, it has since been utilized by early and late medieval Christians, Europeans, Americans, and those societies that saw themselves in association with the latter two. The Western world nowadays can be identified in terms of some key values, structures, and principles, including capitalism, liberalism, democracy, human rights, and the Group of Eight.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Descartes 's major
Guilt is a complex notion, mostly utilized in psychology to describe an emotion or passion apparently related to an agent’s ascribing to herself moral blame for having performed an action. Interestingly enough, and on a par with several other psychological attitudes, the guilt can arise with respect to all sorts of circumstances: some people may feel guilty of having accomplished actions for which no one would ever dream about blaming them. The topic of guilt is best discussed in connection with the idea of some controlling entity, be it psychological or institutional, that blames or allegedly would blame the agent. We shall deepen this aspect, after having pondered to a greater extent what guilt is.
Sex and gender are among the most debated philosophical topics of the past few decades, and rightly so, as the conceptions of these two notions have changed – I would say matured – extensively. In this piece I shall collect some of the most remarkable statements about sex made by contemporary philosophers. I hope you enjoy them and, if you have any suggestion, please don’t hesitate to send it in.
A reader asked me whether it is acceptable, or just, or good of a human being cynical. This seems an interesting question to be entertained. I hence decided to write a piece on the topic ...
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >An Epistemic Conundrum
Nominalism and Realism are the two most distinguished positions in western metaphysics dealing with the fundamental categories of reality. From the millenary debate between supporters of those two opposed camps spurred some of the most puzzling problems in metaphysics, both for nominalism and for realism. Because of those problems, some authors preferred to explore different routes. In this article we review three of them: universalism, trope theory, facts.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Preliminaries
What’s the difference between cheerfulness and happiness? Trying to offer an answer to this question may help to shed light on a number of important aspects of ethics, politics, and practical living. In this article I will offer a few remarks on how a philosophy encompassing both cheerfulness and happiness may be developed.
One of the most brilliant and influential minds of twentieth century, Alan Turing was a British mathematician and logician, a father of computer science and artificial intelligence, who also served as cryptanalyst during World War II and for some time afterwards. His life was anything but ordinary. Though his affiliation was never with philosophy departments, some of his work has inspired lively debates in philosophy of mind and logic.
Philosophy of science is a branch of philosophy whose importance has extensively grown over the past century, in connection to the raising prestige and influence of disciplines such as physics, chemistry and – most lately – biology in understanding basic questions regarding the world as well as human identity and agency. Although its existence as a separate branch is relatively young and it is partially explainable also in terms of the specialization of academic research, issues in the philosophy of science have been debated throughout the whole history of philosophy, by authors such as Aristotle, Aquinas, Galileo, Descartes, Bacon, and Locke.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >The term philosophy
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Who Was Montaigne?
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >A Philosophical