Tag: Philosophy

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First off: Apologies. Apologies to NASA, to anyone who worked on the Apollo missions. Apologies to those on this site who really get a kick out of geology, physics, astronomy, atoms, … cells… nucleic stuff….periodic table….zzzzz…I’m sorry, where was I? Oh yes, science stuff. I find those subjects a little dry, but thank God many […]

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America and Marvel, Part II: Reflections of and on Society

 

A few days ago, I talked to my associate Prof. Harmon who raised a fundamental question by way of a preposition. This is not as rare an occurrence as you might think. He asked whether I meant to speak of American cinema as a reflection of American society or a reflection on it. As I said, the movies are our human way of seeing what we’re like, as humans. But what does that mean more clearly?

“Reflections of society” involves the obvious meaning of imitation. What you see on the screen is what the movie-makers saw looking around — America. But this could mean two different things, being that no movie can reflect America as a whole. American movie-makers might offer Americans the images they think will please them — they see what Americans approve, and are governed in their works by that experience. This would mean cinema is a kind of flattery; a barely concealed form of self-congratulation. Every theater-going experience is really an awards ceremony in disguise. There is more than a little truth to that. Do people leave the theaters of this great notion in a soul-searching mood, somewhat chastened by the experience, or rather smug, and even self-important?

Or on the other hand, you could have what in literature we used to call realism and naturalism: An impious, immoderate staring at ugliness and misery, to chasten the bourgeois materialism of modern society. That’s not fun cinema. Even in America, this paradise, there is misery and there is suffering. That could be reflected in the movies instead of the fun stuff. This is not unheard of, but is very rare; it’s been rare in every decade except the Seventies, and the vaguely suicidal public mood in America at that time suggests there is more than a little that’s questionable in this fascination with ugliness.

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If a mental event m causes a physical event p independently of another physical event p2 then the “casual closure of the physical domain” has been compromised. In order to avoid this physicalist dilemma it must be the case for every m that causes p a physical event p3 must be concurrent with m. In […]

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(This is another old philosophy paper from Seminary. It’s okay. It’s hard to understand because its a precis so there were very specific requirements related directly to the text we were summarizing and analyzing. I cannot remember which one of Kim’s books or articles this precis was on but this is Jaegwon Kim’s best known book […]

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Next on my Thinking It Through Podcast:  I speak with Dr. Mark J. Boone (aka @saintaugustine) about politics, philosophy, the bridge between them, and Trump…..of course. My Website: https://jeromedanner.net/2017/06/24/episode-43-dr-mark-j-boone-interview-on-politics-philosophy-and-trump-of-course/ Preview Open

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College vs. the Love of Wisdom

 

Part I: A sad realization

While we Ricochetti may find it regrettable, the vast majority of human beings aren’t interested in ideas. In my Advanced International Relations class, we met once a week after reading a book. It was mentally electrifying. We ran the gamut of different ideas and theories and hammered out what they all meant. The teacher was superb, and it was a smaller class, so it was perfect for discussion. The class was among the most intellectually productive things I’ve ever done. Sadly, I doubt that a majority of the students were really into it. I asked my Professor why the students were so uninterested in the morality of torture and wars and Empires. He shrugged and said that while he always found it odd, it was usually that way.

Furthermore, some of the straight-A students were as intellectually stimulating as dusty cardboard. They perfectly regurgitated whatever the Professor spoke or whatever the textbook said, but they never bothered to think about anything they absorbed. My Uncle and my Dad hate this argument. They think they can force people to be intellectual and thoughtful. I never saw a lot of that on campus, did you?

Do modern campuses actually value ideas and intellectual discourse? Should there be limits on capitalism? Is modern architecture bad? Sir Roger Scruton and Christina Hoff Sommers join ‘Viewpoint’ on the AEI Podcast Channel to discuss each of these topics and more.

This conversation originally aired on the AEI YouTube Channel on March 22, 2017.

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TeacherOfPhilosophy on YouTube will soon feature . . . the Great Texts playlist, where you can learn the basics of about thirty texts from Plato’s Republic to Heidegger’s “Letter on Humanism”; the Topics in Philosophy playlist, where you can meet things like the Euthyphro Question, the Problem of Evil, the Verification Criterion, and the Mind-Body Problem; […]

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 “And the secret of human life, the universal secret, the root secret from which all other secrets spring, is the longing for more life, the furious and insatiable desire to be everything else without ever ceasing to be ourselves, to take possession of the entire universe without letting the universe take possession of us and […]

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Pat Sajak walks among us here at Ricochet, and occasionally graces the mothership podcast with his jovial presence. I hope Mr. Sajak will enjoy knowing that he is now on the radar of at least one member of the Society of Jesus. Father John J. Conley writes for America: The Jesuit Review about the deeper meanings […]

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There is a fairly simple answer to the question of why Christians can be so judgmental. Christians are people, people are sinners, and judgmentalism is a sin–perhaps one of the most universal of all sins. It didn’t spring to life when I was saved. I brought it with me. Of course, Christians have every reason […]

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Nearly all Western philosophical traditions can be broken down into two camps* about the telos (one might say end) of life. There are materialist atheists who believe that humans must create their own meaning in life, and there are those that believe that man must create his own meaning. All religions, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle […]

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Though it is commonly believed today that civilizational changes are moved primarily by introduction of ideological insights, I believe history is moved mainly by introduction of technologies. Thus, where others cite “the” Scientific Method and “Enlightenment” philosophies as ideas which birthed the modern age, I have argued that communications, transportation, and production technologies were more […]

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“The Politics Trump Makes” (h/t @jamespoulos) is a flawed article but contained some elements that I thought could yield some fruitful discussion. First, the article has serious, undeniable weaknesses. The author finds the potential of a rightward shift in America to be “worrisome.” The author’s version of history is questionable. It’s published in a magazine called “n + 1” which […]

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For those of you who are grammarians who are wincing at my title: step back! I’m not writing this OP for you anyway! Periodically those of us who have been hanging around here for a while decide to write a piece for those Ricochettis who are new or who are shy about posting. I know many […]

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Thoughts on Tiamat this Electoral Eve

 

The maples, wicks of autumn, go to cinder from the top down, the blaze on most trees past its prime, now mostly scattered at our feet. The plant kingdom burns brightly as it plunges into wintry darkness. A plunge into some outcome or another awaits us tomorrow, too. We can estimate what it might be – and we should. But as Ricochet Member @rodin reminds us, “none of us will ever know (or at least [not] for a long long time) whether the way we cast our ballot was better than the alternative.”

All this fall, I’ve had an unknown greater than the outcome of this election hanging over my head – or at least greater to me. One reason it’s greater is that I’m more responsible for it. However I vote, whatever I say, the outcome of this election is largely out of my hands. This other thing, though, is very much in my hands, or it’s supposed to be, and so the moral weight I bear for its unknown nature is far greater than the weight I bear for my vote.

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In grad school I took a class on emotions and wrote a paper for it. I have long wanted to turn it into a published paper, but haven’t yet. (One or two versions of the paper were rejected by a prestigious scholarly journal, though.) But here’s a bulleted summary of some of the interesting points from the […]

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What makes a government legitimate? What does legitimacy mean in regard to politics? I have been wondering, again, about the conditions which require obedience to unjust laws. The question of legitimacy seems the most fundamental form of that ethical conundrum. Laws express authority. Before one accepts the laws of representatives or rulers, one must accept […]

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