Epicurus and the Ethics of Pleasure

Posted initially at Three Quarks Daily. If philosophy is not only an academic, theoretical discipline but a way of life, as many Ancient Greek and Roman philosophers thought, one way of evaluating a philosophy is in terms of the kind of life it entails. On that score, if we’re playing the game of choose yourContinue reading “Epicurus and the Ethics of Pleasure”

A Problem For Practical Reason: There Is Always Something New

Should you sacrifice everything for love; betray a friend to protect another friend; lie on a job application; leave a relationship because vaguely something doesn’t feel right; blow the whistle on a corrupt but dangerous boss; stir the pot just to see what happens; act with cruelty in order to wake someone up; succumb toContinue reading “A Problem For Practical Reason: There Is Always Something New”

Stoicism: Is It Therapy or Philosophy

This post first appeared at Three Quarks Daily. One of the more remarkable developments in popular philosophy over the past 20 years is the rebirth of stoicism. Stoicism was an ancient Greek and Roman philosophy founded around 300 BCE by the merchant Zeno of Citium, in what is now Cyprus. Although, contemporary professional philosophers occasionallyContinue reading “Stoicism: Is It Therapy or Philosophy”

The American “Character”

Prior to the emergence of Covid19, I would have predicted that Americans would find a way to confront the challenge of a once in a century pandemic. I’m not naïve or sanguine about the wisdom of the American public or its leaders. In fact, I’m usually pretty cynical about the U.S. But we’ve faced commonContinue reading “The American “Character””

Build a Better Person

Most educators believe that education builds a better person, a person more knowledgeable, more aware, better able to communicate, highly motivated, and more adept at solving the full range of problems that arise in life. I suspect that most educators think this is the primary goal of education. Doesn’t it then follow that the testContinue reading “Build a Better Person”

The Most Important Virtue

“He who loses wealth loses much; he who loses a friend loses more; but he that loses his courage loses all.” – Miguel De Cervantes Cervantes is right. Of all the qualities of moral character, courage is the most important. Courage requires suppressing or not reacting to excessive or irrational fear. Irrational fears are deeplyContinue reading “The Most Important Virtue”

The Wisdom of Old Men

“…that is the great fallacy: the wisdom of old men. They do not grow wise. They grow careful.” – Ernest Hemingway I agree with Papa and speak from experience. One great battle of old age is to resist becoming too careful–without getting hurt. And what about the wisdom of old age? That storehouse of experienceContinue reading “The Wisdom of Old Men”

The Real Family Value

Everyone praises “the family” as a source of deep meaning. Much of this praise is platitudinous, if not blatant hypocrisy, but there is a foundation for these sentiments, despite their expedience as pretense, sanctimony, and worse. Although the family is the most fundamental social unit that responds to a variety of biological imperatives, its importanceContinue reading “The Real Family Value”

On Persistence and Failure

Why do we listen to celebrities? They have little to say about ordinary lives. Here is a quote from the great basketball player, Michael Jordan: “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over andContinue reading “On Persistence and Failure”