One Incoherent Defense of Vegetarianism

It had been many years since I attended a party for philosophy conference participants and graduate students. My patience for what passes for social life in academia has been withering for years, but alas I found myself in such company before the pandemic shut down these gatherings. Many guests were vocal vegetarians and their justificationContinue reading “One Incoherent Defense of Vegetarianism”

Is Western Civilization Based on Pious Hope?

“Irrespective of whether we are believers or agnostics, whether we believe in God or karma, moral ethics is a code which everyone is able to pursue.” – Dalai Lama This quotation from 1400 Lessons of the 14th Dalai Lama is the great hope on which modern civilization is based. But I wonder whether it isContinue reading “Is Western Civilization Based on Pious Hope?”

A Short History of Ethics and a Possible Future

Ancient philosophers concerned with ethical matters were preoccupied with the question of how one should live. Their answers to that question required the existence of a cosmological order to which a good life must conform—an ideal of human nature built into the very structure of reality or advanced via God’s word. Among philosophers, belief inContinue reading “A Short History of Ethics and a Possible Future”

Changing Minds and Fluid Identities

There is a good deal of public discussion, prompted by our political situation and challenges surrounding Covid19, about whether citing facts is effective at getting people to change their minds. Many people argue that facts aren’t sufficient—one must appeal to emotions in order to be persuasive. But I think this isn’t quite true. Facts canContinue reading “Changing Minds and Fluid Identities”

Attunement and Living Well

I am interested in developing a concept that I think will be particularly useful in thinking about philosophy as a way of life. I call the concept “attunement,” with apologies to Heidegger for commandeering his terminology although not his concept. The idea is that we, as well as the situations in which we find ourselves,Continue reading “Attunement and Living Well”

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”