Philosophy In The News, Weekly: December 1 to 7, 2018

The best of the philosophical internet featuring a ruckus in Russia over Kant; a philosophy professor who justifies humiliating & bullying you; intellectual pubs; Marshall McLuhan’s prescient thoughts on the ‘electronic brain’ controlling us; and a change in the way you poo.


“Around the world, Kant is celebrated for his groundbreaking philosophy. But, to the citizens of Kaliningrad, it seems, he’s just a local guy who wrote some abstruse books.” On the protests over putting Kant’s German name on a Russian airport. | Quartz

Philosophy professor Vadim Chaly says that Kant’s values were the “normal values of any modern society, including Russia.” Nationalist locals opposed to naming their airport after the great German disagreed, vandalizing Kant’s statue, tomb, and a plaque marking the spot where his house once stood. | DW

“If I attempt to control a conversation based on the fact of my gender, I may be a bully, looking for a way to humiliate you. But I may be justified.” Attempting to be both moral victim and a moral victimizer, Agnes Callard professor of philosophy at University of Chicago justifies being unjust to the people who aren’t like her. | The New York Times

“[Raising the Bar] aimed high: their first event was to stage 50 hour-long lectures in 50 bars, all on one night, with topics ranging from neuroscience to music history to philosophy. ” On the outsized success of holding academic lectures at local bars. | Daily Beast

“A Minnesota psychology professor caught the attention of conservative pundits this week after tweeting that God impregnated the Virgin Mary without consent.” The sophomoric state of atheism on Tucker Carlson Tonight. | Newsweek

“The word God is for me nothing but the expression of and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of venerable but still rather primitive legends…” Einstein’s “God letter” was auctioned this week. | The New York Times

“[S]cientists, having inherited answers to most of nature’s big questions, are now constrained either to study increasingly insignificant details or to play with abstractions increasingly unlikely to be tested.” John Horgan updates his 22-year-old observations about the decline in scientific progress. | Scientific American

Romanian philosopher and professional protester Mihai Șora makes Politico’s list of the 28 people shaping, shaking and stirring Europe in 2019. | Politico

“We Germans cannot talk about Marx without also thinking of the havoc wrought in his name in eastern Germany and Europe.” German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier reminds young Chinese of the ‘havoc’ caused by Marxism. | South China Morning Post

“Philosophy can feel maddeningly abstract and dry—divorced from the weirdness of the real world… Turns out TV is the best way to make philosophy not a hypothetical question.” Elizabeth Angell interviews Michael Schur, the creator of The Good Place, about how he unleashed philosophy on pop culture. | Town & Country


“The world has become a computer, an electronic brain… And as our senses have gone outside us, Big Brother goes inside.” Marshall McLuhan helps us understand the world after the death of print culture. | Big Think

“Most of the world’s major religions place immense value on the spiritual discipline of discernment, which is the often-tedious practice of seeking what is right, true, and noble.” On the difficult art of making up your mind in the internet age of individualism where the court of public opinion demands instantaneous moral certitude. | The Atlantic

“I think Peterson means to invoke Jung, who has an account of our ‘shadow,’ which we all carry and ought to ’embody’ in our ‘conscious life,’ lest we project it upon others, moralizing about them, while this unacknowledged aspect of ourselves gets ‘blacker and denser.'” Jennifer Baker takes on Jordan Peterson and his Jungian “monsters.” | Psychology Today

The last laugh of Francis Fukuyama, the man who predicted the coming of Trump. | Aeon

“[T]here is a new climate of intellectual caution developing as a result of intimidation from both outside and within the academy.” On the new Journal of Controversial Ideas, dedicated to free expression, where authors remain anonymous. | The Guardian

“Like the rebel theologian, we believe in the perfectibility of mankind, the ability of people to make the right choices, do good and make things better.” Michael Axworthy on the perennial philosophy of Pelagius.| New Statesman

“Scholarship was excellent, but you write books that 50 people might understand… but what I was much more curious about is how do we all, like, evolve together?” A profile of Billionaire Reid Hoffman who dropped philosophical treatises to take up the business of software. | CNBC

“A posthumous collection of Mark Fisher’s unpublished writings show that the author of ‘Capitalist Realism’ is more important than ever.” Tom Whyman makes the case that the future needs the fringe philosopher and inventor of k-punk. | Vice

“And just like Harry Anderson performed as a con artist, I performed as the philosopher magician.” Lawrence Hass on the wisdom of stage enchantment. | Memphis Flyer

“The philosopher Slavoj Žižek has claimed to discern in the toilet designs of Germany, France and England basic ideological differences between Europe’s three principal cultures.” A bathroom-book on the movement to change the way you poo. | The Guardian

“In my view, the great revolution in human thinking that Zarathustra brought about was the recognition that this world was not as God had intended… Nietzsche regarded Zarathustra as the first ‘moralist’ (because man chooses between good and evil) and himself as the first ‘a-moralist.'” An interview with Dr. Philip G. Kreyenbroek on the impact of Zoroastrianism on Western thought and religion. | Tehran Times


“Defrauded of a genuine humanistic education, [young people] are recognising the spiritual impoverishment of their crudely politicised culture, choked with jargon, propaganda, and lies.” This and other provocations from renegade philosopher Camille Paglia. | The Spectator

“If America is a religion, this is what a crisis of faith looks like.” Tim Shenk on the “pious banalities” of today’s liberal humanists. | Tablet

Liberated individual and Yale political theorist Bryan Garsten attempts to dispel the dark questions raised in Patrick Deneen’s recent book Why Liberalism Failed. | Commonweal

“My fascination with Plato, and his student Aristotle, was rooted in the fact that they really cared about what I had secretly felt to be the most important question—how should we live?” Sreejith Sugunan on the examined life in two recent books about Plato. | The Caravan

Ursula K. Le Guin sheds light on the art of suffering and getting to the other side of pain. | Brain Pickings


“Princess Anna Komnene makes good use of her political retirement by writing her Alexiad and gathering a circle of scholars to write commentaries on Aristotle.” The latest episode discusses Anna Komnene and her Byzantine scientific and philosophical circle.| History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps

“What is it to live wisely? What grounds duty? Listen as the supreme God Krishna convinces archer hero Arjuna that it’s OK for him to kill his relatives because, you know, reincarnation and determinism and caste-related duties.” The band is back together to discuss The Bhagavad Gita’s Hindu theology with guest Shaan Amin. | The Partially Examined Life

“How much can morality demand of us?” Do your duty. Listen to John and Ken discuss extreme altruism with New Yorker writer Larissa MacFarquhar. | Philosophy Talk


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s