Philosophy

  • A Fragment of Life

    If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints, possibility never. And what wine is so sparkling, what so fragrant, what so intoxicating, as possibility!

  • A Parable

    What if a demon were to creep after you one night, in your loneliest loneliness, and say, “This life which you now live must be lived by you once again and innumerable times more; and every pain and joy and thought and sigh must come again to you, all in the same sequence. The eternal ...

  • A Philosophical Approach to Routines can Illuminate Who We Really Are

    There are hundreds of things we do – repeatedly, routinely – every day. We wake up, check our phones, eat our meals, brush our teeth, do our jobs, satisfy our addictions. In recent years, such habitual actions have become an arena for self-improvement: bookshelves are saturated with bestsellers about ‘life hacks’, ‘life design’ and how ...

  • Absurdism

    This is not a pipe, for any representation of an object does not constitute the essence of said object. The map is not the territory. A tip for metaphysicians.

  • Alan Watts – The Trickster Guru?

    I have often thought of writing a novel, similar to Thomas Mann’s “Confessions of Felix Krull,” which would be the life story of a charlatan making out as a master guru – either initiated in Tibet or appearing as the reincarnation of Nagarjuna, Padmasambhava, or some other great historical sage of the Orient.

  • American Hegemony

    Author of Blowback, The Sorrows Of Empire, and Nemesis: The Last Days Of The American Empire, Chalmers Johnson has literally written the book on the concept of American Hegemony. A former naval officer and consultant of the C.I.A., he now serves as professor Emeritus at UC San Diego. As co-founder and President of the Japan ...

  • Amor Fati

    There is in Nietzsche an unequivocal affirmation of life, and it would be precisely wrong to say, “notwithstanding the equivocality that he injects into his every assertion,” for there is nothing in Nietzsche that withstands his equivocality. Yet, it speaks to the essence of Nietzsche’s posture to observe that there is nothing diffident or less than ...

  • An Imagined Dialogue on Eastern & Western Philosophy & The Nature of Knowledge

    “The search for knowledge is like the search for true love. We live in a web of relationships, be it of propositions or people. Sometimes we are in a skeptical mood and we grasp for a solid base—a belief that we’re sure of or a friend or lover we can trust completely—but experience seems to ...

  • And Justice for All…

    Libertarianism, in the strict sense, is the moral view that agents initially fully own themselves and have certain moral powers to acquire property rights in external things. In a looser sense, libertarianism is any view that approximates the strict view. This entry will focus on libertarianism in the strict sense. For excellent discussion of the ...

  • Aphorisms 1

    “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.”

    – Buddhist Teaching

  • Aphorisms 2

    “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.”

    – Noam Chomsky

  • Atheism has been Part of Many Asian Traditions for Millennia

    To many, atheism – the lack of belief in a personal god or gods – may appear an entirely modern concept. After all, it would seem that it is religious traditions that have dominated the world since the beginning of recorded history. As a scholar of Asian religions, however, I’m often struck by the prevalence ...

  • ‘Know thyself’ is not just silly advice: it’s actively dangerous

    The problem is this: if we change while our self-image remains the same, then there will be a deep abyss between who we are and who we think we are.

  • Behind the Scenes

    Metaphysics, however, speaks continually and in the most various ways of Being. Metaphysics gives, and seems to confirm, the appearance that it asks and answers the question concerning Being. In fact, metaphysics never answers the question concerning the truth of Being, for it never asks this question. Metaphysics does not ask this question because it ...

  • Being & Becoming

    Macann is best known for his ontological phenomenology: Being and Becoming (2007). Distinguishing three stages in the development of human consciousness, Being and Becoming situates ontological philosophy at the first (‘originary’) stage, analytic epistemology at the second (‘objective’) stage, and transcendental philosophy at the third (‘reflective’) stage. The fact that historically, ontological philosophy has always ...

  • Being ‘interesting’ is Not an Objective Feature of the World

    What does it mean for an experience to be interesting? First, to say that something is interesting is to describe what the experience feels like to the person undergoing it. This is the phenomenological quality of the experience. When we study the phenomenology of something, we examine what it feels like, from the inside, to ...

  • Between Gods and Animals: Becoming Human in the Gilgamesh Epic

    The Epic of Gilgamesh is a Babylonian poem composed in ancient Iraq, millennia before Homer. It tells the story of Gilgamesh, king of the city of Uruk. To curb his restless and destructive energy, the gods create a friend for him, Enkidu, who grows up among the animals of the steppe. When Gilgamesh hears about ...

  • Books I Must Read!

    Conscious of being unable to be anything, man then decides to be nothing. … Nihilism is disappointed seriousness which has turned back upon itself.

    – Simone de Beauvoir

  • Civil Disobedience

    I heartily accept the motto, “That government is best which governs least”; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe–“That government is best which governs not at all”; and when men are prepared for it, that will be ...

  • Coping with Nietzsche’s Legacy

    I know my fate. One day my name will be associated with the memory of something tremendous–a crisis without equal on earth, the most profound collision of conscience, a decision that was conjured up against everything that had been believed, demanded, hallowed so far. I am no man, I am dynamite.

  • Descartes was Wrong: ‘A Person is a Person through Other Persons’

    According to Ubuntu philosophy, which has its origins in ancient Africa, a newborn baby is not a person. People are born without ‘ena’, or selfhood, and instead must acquire it through interactions and experiences over time. So the ‘self’/‘other’ distinction that’s axiomatic in Western philosophy is much blurrier in Ubuntu thought. As the Kenyan-born philosopher ...

  • Distributive Justice

    Principles of distributive justice are normative principles designed to guide the allocation of the benefits and burdens of economic activity.

    After outlining the scope of this entry and the role of distributive principles, the first relatively simple principle of distributive justice examined is strict egalitarianism, which advocates the allocation of equal material goods to all members ...

  • Divine Wisdom

    In The Secret Doctrine we are told that Plato was not merely the greatest philosopher of Greece but also an Adept who belonged psychically, mentally and spiritually to the higher planes of evolution, a ‘Fifth-rounder’ in the Fourth Round, immensely higher than is our present humanity. He imparted spiritual truths through myths and allegories as ...

  • Dread & Freedom

    Innocence is ignorance. In his innocence man is not determined as spirit but is soulishly determined in immediate unity with his natural condition. Spirit is dreaming in man. This view is in perfect accord with that of the Bible, and by refusing to ascribe to man in the state of innocence a knowledge of the ...

  • Emil Cioran

    Over this past Easter weekend, a good friend of mine happened to mention an obscure philosopher that he had recently stumbled upon. After a bit of research, I’ve found this philosopher to be a man after my own heart. This philosopher’s name is Emil Cioran and he had some interesting things to say about existence. ...

  • Emptiness, form, and Dzogchen ethics

    For a hundred years, the West has wrestled with the problem of ethical nihilism. God’s commands once provided a firm foundation for morality; but then he died. All attempts to find an alternative foundation have failed. Why, then, should we be moral? How can we be sure what is moral? No one has satisfactory answers, despite many ingenious ...

  • Epistemology & The Soul

    When I began to inquire into the relationship of the body to the mind, spirit, or soul, I had no idea how deeply profound the topic really is, and how hotly debated it has been throughout history. Most people today would explain, in a very Neoplatonic way, that the human soul is analogous to a ...

  • Everything is Broken / A Message of Hope…

    ‘Kintsugi’ (or ‘Kintsukuroi’) is the Japanese art of repairing broken objects with gold.  Once repaired, the objects are considered more beautiful for having been broken.

    In today’s world, perhaps more than ever before, we are subject to a continual and interminable bombardment of images touting promises of an almost laughably untenable perfection.

  • Everything the State Says is a Lie, and Everything it has it has Stolen

    At this point I can no longer avoid giving a first, provisional statement of my own hypothesis concerning the origin of the “bad conscience”: it may sound rather strange and needs to be pondered, lived with, and slept on for a long time. I regard the bad conscience as the serious illness that man was ...

  • Existentialism is a Religionism

    And when we speak of “abandonment” – a favorite word of Heidegger – we only mean to say that God does not exist, and that it is necessary to draw the consequences of his absence right to the end. The existentialist is strongly opposed to a certain type of secular moralism which seeks to suppress ...

  • From Underground

    My path was not the normal one of professors of philosophy… To decide to become a philosopher seemed as foolish to me as to decide to become a poet. Since my schooldays, however, I was guided by philosophical questions. Philosophy seemed to me the supreme, even the sole, concern of man. Yet a certain awe kept ...

  • Great Doubt, Great Death, Great Awakening

    The Kyoto School (京都学派 Kyōto-gakuha?) is the name given to the Japanese philosophical movement centered at Kyoto University that assimilated western philosophy and religious ideas and used them to reformulate religious and moral insights unique to the East Asian cultural tradition.” However, it is also used to describe several postwar scholars from various disciplines who have taught at ...

  • Having a sense of Meaning in life is Good for you — So how do you get one?

    The pursuit of happiness and health is a popular endeavour, as the preponderance of self-help books would attest.

    Yet it is also fraught. Despite ample advice from experts, individuals regularly engage in activities that may only have short-term benefit for well-being, or even backfire.

    The search for the heart of well-being – that is, a nucleus from ...

  • Herd Mentality

    Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one’s understanding without guidance from another. This immaturity is self-imposed when its cause lies not in lack of understanding, but in lack of resolve and courage to use it without guidance from another. Sapere Aude! “Have courage to use ...

  • How Al-Farabi drew on Plato to argue for censorship in Islam

    You might not be familiar with the name Al-Farabi, a 10th-century thinker from Baghdad, but you know his work, or at least its results. Al-Farabi was, by all accounts, a man of steadfast Sufi persuasion and unvaryingly simple tastes. As a labourer in a Damascus vineyard before settling in Baghdad, he favoured a frugal diet ...

  • How Camus and Sartre Split Up Over the Question of How to be Free

    Sartre, the existentialist, who said that humans are condemned to be free, was also Sartre, the Marxist, who thought that history does not allow much space for true freedom in the existential sense.

  • I Believe Because it is Absurd

    This paradoxical expression makes a routine appearance in philosophical evaluations of the rationality of religious belief, in contemporary polemics addressed to an imagined opposition between science and religion, and in virtually every reputable dictionary of quotations.

  • Ibn Tufayl and the Story of the Feral Child of Philosophy

    Ibn Tufayl, a 12th-century Andalusian, fashioned the feral child in philosophy. His story Hayy ibn Yaqzan is the tale of a child raised by a doe on an unnamed Indian Ocean island. Hayy ibn Yaqzan (literally ‘Living Son of Awakeness’) reaches a state of perfect, ecstatic understanding of the world. A meditation on the possibilities ...

  • Interview with Simone de Beauvoir (1959)

    Simone de Beauvoir was a French writer, intellectual, existentialist philosopher, political activist, feminist and social theorist. Though she did not consider herself a philosopher, she had a significant influence on both feminist existentialism and feminist theory.

  • Introduction to Deontology: Kantian Ethics

    One popular moral theory that denies that morality is solely about the consequences of our actions is known as Deontology. The most influential and widely adhered to version of Deontology was extensively laid out by Immanuel Kant (1724–1804). Kant’s ethics, as well as the overall philosophical system in which it is embedded, is vast and incredibly difficult. However, one ...

  • Is a Revolutionist a Terrorist?

    If so, considering the original spirit of the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, is an American revolution even possible?

    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

  • Is Consciousness a Battle between your Beliefs and Perceptions?

    Imagine you’re at a magic show, in which the performer suddenly vanishes. Of course, you ultimately know that the person is probably just hiding somewhere. Yet it continues to look as if the person has disappeared. We can’t reason away that appearance, no matter what logic dictates. Why are our conscious experiences so stubborn?

  • Is Philosophy Absurd? Only When You’re Doing it Right

    When we sense that something – or everything – in life is absurd, we’re experiencing the clash of two perspectives from which to view the world.

  • Kierkegaard Aphorisms

    I see it all perfectly; there are two possible situations — one can either do this or that. My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it — you will regret both.

  • Kierkegaard Attacked the Christianity of the Church, Nietzsche Attacked Christendom as Such

    No, the opposite of sin is faith, as it says in Romans 14:23: “whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” And this is one of the most decisive definitions for all Christianity – that the opposite of sin is not virtue but faith.

  • Lau Tzu say…

    The way that can be spoken of

    Is not the constant way;

    The name that can be named

    Is not the constant name.

  • Laughing at Nothing

    Disputing the common misconception that nihilism is wholly negative and necessarily damaging to the human spirit, John Marmysz offers a clear and complete definition to argue that it is compatible, and indeed preferably responded to, with an attitude of good humor. He carefully scrutinizes the phenomenon of nihilism as it appears in the works, lives, ...

  • Life Beyond Logic

    The rational is not thinkable without its other, the non-rational, and it never appears in reality without it. The only question is, in what form the other appears, how it remains in spite of all, and how it is to be grasped.

    It is appropriate for philosophizing to strive to absorb the non-rational and counter-rational, to ...

  • Lost Tribes

    A few nights ago, I watched The Lost City of Z, which is about British explorer Percy Fawcett who was sent to Bolivia and later made several attempts to find an ancient lost city in the Amazon. He disappeared in 1925 along with his son on an expedition. It got me thinking about people today who are still uncontacted ...

  • Man’s Search for Meaning

    “A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth—that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire.”

  • Manifest Destiny Part 1

    The Principia Discordia

    Be ye not lost among precepts of order…

  • Manifest Destiny Part 2

    Before he became a hermit, Zarathud was a young Priest, and took great delight in making fools of his opponents in front of his followers.

    One day Zarathud took his students to a pleasant pasture and there he confronted The Sacred Chao while She was contentedly grazing.

    “Tell me, you dumb beast.” demanded the Priest in his ...

  • Marxism and Existentialism

    Far from being exhausted, Marxism is still very young, almost in its infancy; it has scarcely begun to develop. It remains, therefore, the philosophy of our time. We cannot go beyond it because we have not gone beyond the circumstances which engendered it.

    As soon as there will exist for everyone a margin of real freedom beyond the ...

  • Maybe Logic

    Well, to quote Bucky Fuller, I seem to be a verb… I can’t seem to find any constant Robert Anton Wilson.  It seems to be a process of change all the time. I’m certainly not the guy I was at 40, and I certainly am not the kid I was in Catholic School at 7 ...

  • Meister Eckhart

    Education and culture were the two driving forces behind European urban development in the 13th and 14th centuries. Among the mendicant orders that had settled in the cities were the Dominicans (ordo fratrum praedicatorum), dedicated to promoting in their teaching, way of life, and preaching the ideal of man’s self-discovery—self-cultivation—as a singular cultural value. The ...

  • Meta-ethics

    Is what is morally good commanded by God because it is morally good, or is it morally good because it is commanded by God? When you think about morality, what comes to mind? Is it a list of sins to avoid in order to make it into heaven and avoid hellfire? Or perhaps a duty to ...

  • Meta-Physical Non-Sense

    Arguments for and against the Existence of God

    The polytheistic conceptions of God were criticized and derided by the monotheistic religions. Since the Enlightenment, monotheistic concepts have also come under criticism from atheism and pantheism.

  • Modern Technology is akin to the Metaphysics of Vedanta

    You might think of the atma like this. Imagine you’re watching a film in the cinema. It’s a thriller, and you’re anxious about the lead character, trapped in a room. Suddenly, the door in the movie crashes open and there stands… You jump, as if startled. But what is the real threat to you, other ...

  • Natural Theology & Classical Apologetics

    Why is there something rather than nothing? Or in a more subjective sense – How and why do I exist? These questions have intrigued mankind for thousands of years. Is it possible to prove the existence of God? Each side of this ancient debate is by no means lacking of great scholars and philosophers. Everybody ...

  • Nier: Automata

    Nier Automata Story Summary

    Nihilism and Artificial Intelligence

  • Nietzsche & Buddhism

    In my condemnation of Christianity I surely hope I do no injustice to a related religion with an even larger number of believers: I allude to Buddhism. Both are to be reckoned among the nihilistic religions–they are both decadence religions–but they are separated from each other in a very remarkable way. For the fact that he is able to compare them ...

  • Nishitani

    My life as a young man can be described in a single phrase: it was a period absolutely without hope… My life at the time lay entirely in the grips of nihility and despair… My decision, then, to study philosophy was in fact – melodramatic as it might sound – a matter of life and ...

  • Noam Chomsky

    Noam Chomsky is a widely known intellectual, political activist, and critic of the foreign policy of the United States and other governments. Noam Chomsky describes himself as a libertarian socialist, a sympathizer of anarcho-syndicalism and is considered to be a key intellectual figure within the left-wing of American politics. You can find his political views here.

  • Nothing from Nothing Ever Yet was Born

    When we hear the old bells ringing out on a Sunday morning, we ask ourselves: can it be possible? This is for a Jew, crucified two thousand years ago, who said he was the son of God. The proof for such a claim is wanting.

  • Nothing is True, Everything is Permitted

    What I relate is the history of the next two centuries. I describe what is coming, what can no longer come differently: the advent of nihilism. Our whole European culture is moving for some time now, with a tortured tension that is growing from decade to decade, as toward a catastrophe: restlessly, violently, headlong, like a ...

  • On Mythology

    Campbell’s concept of monomyth (one myth) refers to the theory that sees all mythic narratives as variations of a single great story. The theory is based on the observation that a common pattern exists beneath the narrative elements of most great myths, regardless of their origin or time of creation.

  • On Science

    The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day.

  • On the Origin of Inequality

    Discourse on the Origin and the Foundations of Inequality Among Men

    By Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  • On the Preachers of Death

    There are preachers of death; and the earth is full of those to whom one must preach renunciation of life. The earth is full of the superfluous; life is spoiled by the all-too-many. May they be lured from this life with the “eternal life”! Yellow the preachers of death wear, or black. But I want ...

  • On Truth & Lies in a Non-Moral Sense

    What, then, is truth? A mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, and anthropomorphisms—in short, a sum of human relations which have been enhanced, transposed, and embellished poetically and rhetorically, and which after long use seem firm, canonical, and obligatory to a people: truths are illusions about which one has forgotten that this is what they are; ...

  • OOOH! What Now Nietzsche!?

    In its answers to the question concerning beings as such, metaphysics operates with a prior conception of Being. It speaks of Being necessarily and hence continually. But metaphysics does not induce Being itself to speak, for metaphysics does not recall Being in its truth, nor does it recall truth as unconcealedness, nor does it recall ...

  • Open Letter to Kansas School Board

    I am writing you with much concern after having read of your hearing to decide whether the alternative theory of Intelligent Design should be taught along with the theory of Evolution. I think we can all agree that it is important for students to hear multiple viewpoints so they can choose for themselves the theory ...

  • Our Illusory Sense of Agency Has a Deeply Important Social Purpose

    Contrary to what many people believe, I think agency is only relevant to what happens after we act – when we try to justify and explain ourselves to each other.

  • Past Tense

    A compendium of quotes from various authors with some of my own ideas interspersed throughout.

  • Perennial Mysticism

    Amidst all of the teachings of the world, this Dharma is to be practiced, and nothing is to be believed. Such also is the Way of Christ, where the Way is to be practiced, for the practice of the Way is indeed Faith and Faith the practice of the Way, and nothing is to be ...

  • Philosophers Should be Keener to Talk about the Meaning of Life

    Seeing no other way to interpret the question, many philosophers conclude that the question is confused. If they go on to talk about meaning in life, they have in mind the meaning of individual lives, the question of whether this life or that life is meaningful for the person who is living it. But the ...

  • Philosophical Writing Should Read like a Letter Written to Oneself

    I came to philosophy bursting with things to say. Somewhere along the way, that changed. Not that I stopped talking, or, as time went on, writing. But the mood of it, the key in which it was pitched, moved. I came to feel answerable. And not just to myself or those I knew but to ...

  • Philosophy as Autobiography

    Gradually it has become clear to me what every great philosophy so far has been: namely, the personal confession of its author and a kind of involuntary and unconscious memoir; also that the moral (or immoral) intentions in every philosophy constituted the real germ of life from which the whole plant had grown.

  • Philosophy Can Make the Previously Unthinkable Thinkable

    Overton was concerned with the activities of think tanks, but philosophers and practical ethicists might gain something from considering the Overton window. By its nature, practical ethics typically addresses controversial, politically sensitive topics. It is the job of philosophers to engage in ‘conceptual hygiene’ or, as the late British philosopher Mary Midgley described it, ‘philosophical ...

  • Philosophy of Gaming

    In a speech at the Free Play conference in Australia in September 2007, Jonathan Blow suggested games were approaching the level of societal influence of other forms of art, such as films and novels. One example that Blow cites is World of Warcraft, which he labels “unethical”, stating that such games exploit players by using a simple ...

  • Philosophy of Language

    Does language affect the way you think about the world?

    A radically positive answer to this question is a strong form of the linguistic relativity thesis, which says that the language you speak broadly affects or even determines the way you experience the world, from the way you perceive it, to the way to categorize it, to the ...

  • Philosophy Primary Sources

    Some primary sources from the history of philosophy. This was the first of two posts that inspired what is now the Bookshelf.

  • Philosophy Primary Sources II

    This post will serve as Part II of Philosophy Primary Sources and a supplement to Primary Sources & Encyclopedias (check out the Links section for even more research sources). There are certain books that are essential to an education about the human condition of which I believe should be available for free and with easy access ...

  • Philosophy via Facebook? Why Not?

    Academic philosophers tend to have a narrow view of what is valuable philosophical work. Hiring, tenure, promotion and prestige depend mainly on one’s ability to produce journal articles in a particular theoretical, abstract style, mostly in reaction to a small group of canonical and 20th century figures, for a small readership of specialists. We should ...

  • Plutonomy and the Precariat

    We’re really regressing back to the dark ages. It’s not a joke. And if that’s happening in the most powerful, richest country in history, then this catastrophe isn’t going to be averted — and in a generation or two, everything else we’re talking about won’t matter. Something has to be done about it very ...

  • Possibility and Necessity: An Introduction to Modality

    This essay explains basic modal concepts, illustrates some different kinds of possibility and necessity, and briefly explains how we try to identify whether a modal claim is true or false…

  • Posthumanism

    The posthuman recognizes imperfectability and disunity within him or herself, instead understanding the world through context and heterogeneous perspectives while maintaining intellectual rigour and a dedication to objective observations of the world. Key to this posthuman practice is the ability to fluidly change perspectives and manifest oneself through different identities. The posthuman, for critical theorists of the subject, has an emergent ...

  • Postmodernism in Ancient Greece

    Antilogic involves the assignment to any argument of a counterargument that negates it, with the implication that both argument and counterargument are equally true.

  • Power and Terror

    Whether Noam Chomsky, the MIT linguist and political philosopher, is the most important intellectual alive, as the New York Times once famously called him, is open for debate. But without a doubt, Chomsky, now 73, is one of the most straight-talking and committed dissidents of our time. A steadfast critic of United States foreign policy ...

  • Pragmatism & Postmodernism

    What is it for something to be true? One might think that the answer is obvious. A true belief gets reality right: our words correspond to objects and relations in the world. But making sense of that idea involves one in ever more difficult workarounds to intractable problems.

  • Primary Sources & Encyclopedias

    Links for research purposes

  • Pyre

    When you opened your eyes on the world for the first time as a child,
    How brilliant the colors were, what a jewel the sun was,
    What marvel the stars, how incredibly alive the trees were…

  • Quantum Mysticism

    Quantum mysticism is a set of metaphysical beliefs and associated practices that seek to relate consciousness, intelligence, spirituality, or mystical world-views to the ideas of quantum mechanics and its interpretations. Quantum mysticism is considered by most scientists and philosophers to be pseudoscience or “quackery”.

  • Ratio Legis est Anima Legis

    The law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate.

  • Re: Ecclesiastes

    The will to truth which will still tempt us to many a venture, that famous truthfulness of which all philosophers so far have spoken with respect – what questions has this will to truth not laid before us! What strange, wicked, questionable questions! That is a long story even now – and yet it seems ...

  • Reach out, listen, be patient. Good arguments can stop extremism

    Many of my best friends think that some of my deeply held beliefs about important issues are obviously false or even nonsense. Sometimes, they tell me so to my face. How can we still be friends? Part of the answer is that these friends and I are philosophers, and philosophers learn how to deal with ...

  • Reality and the Imagination

    In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Yuval Noah Harari about meditation, the need for stories, the power of technology to erase the boundary between fact and fiction, wealth inequality, the problem of finding meaning in a world without work, religion as a virtual reality game, the difference between pain ...

  • Reason & Faith

    In a recent post I had asked myself if my approach to and conclusions about Truth and God, in both my thoughts and in some of my older writings, were completely backwards. Did I begin and end in the wrong place? Was my thought process illogical? Did I even ask the right questions and use ...

  • Recreation

    The choice of nutrition; the choice of climate and place: the third point at which one must not commit a blunder at any price is the choice of one’s own kind of recreation. Here, too, depending on the degree to which a spirit is sui generis, the limits of what is permitted to him, that is, profitable ...

  • Reflections on Another World

    You’ll never forget your first dragon. Tibia is an online fantasy world in which you may escape the mundane realities of your boring life. Thousands of people plug into this Matrix-esque world (it is literally a matrix) every day to mindlessly murder trolls and goblins in the vain effort to increase their skill numbers. Tibia offers a huge world ...

  • Religion & Nothingness

    Keiji Nishitani attempts in this book to reformulate the question “What is religion?” away from attempts to amass historical evidence from a variety of traditions in order to create a universal definition of religion based on certain shared characteristics, from using an objective viewpoint to encounter religion as some type of object whose characteristics can ...

  • Revaluation of Natural Values

    Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and ...

  • Søren K. (March 30, 1846)

    The present age is essentially a sensible, reflecting age, devoid of passion, flaring up in superficial, short-lived enthusiasm and prudentially relaxing in indolence. In contrast to the age of revolution, which took action, the present age is an age of publicity, the age of miscellaneous announcements: nothing happens but still there is instant publicity. There ...

  • Schopenhauer

    A key focus of Schopenhauer was his investigation of individual motivation. Before Schopenhauer, Hegel had popularized the concept of Zeitgeist, the idea that society consisted of a collective consciousness that moved in a distinct direction, dictating the actions of its members. Schopenhauer, a reader of both Kant and Hegel, criticized their logical optimism and the belief that individual ...

  • Science as Mythology

    Epistemological anarchism is an epistemological theory advanced by Austrian philosopher of science Paul Feyerabend which holds that there are no useful and exception-free methodological rules governing the progress of science or the growth of knowledge. It holds that the idea that science can or should operate according to universal and fixed rules is unrealistic, pernicious, and ...

  • Scientism contra Philosophy

    Many people mistake knowledge for wisdom because they are intimately related, and this is unfortunate because they are quite different in an important way. Knowledge is the accumulation of facts and information. Wisdom is the synthesis of knowledge and experiences into insights that deepen one’s understanding of relationships and the meaning of life. In other ...

  • Self-Transcendence

    Buddhism begins with a man. In his later years, when India was afire with his message and kings themselves were bowing before him, people came to him even as they were to come to Jesus asking what he was. How many people have provoked this question – not “Who are you?” with respect to name, ...

  • Seven Types of Atheism

    For a generation now, public debate has been corroded by a shrill, narrow derision of religion in the name of an often vaguely understood “science.” John Gray’s stimulating and enjoyable new book, Seven Types of Atheism, describes the complex, dynamic world of older atheisms, a tradition that is, he writes, in many ways intertwined with and ...

  • Should contemporary philosophers read Ockham? Or: what did history ever do for us?

    If you are a historian of philosophy, you’ve probably encountered the question whether the stuff you’re working on is of any interest today. It’s the kind of question that awakens all the different souls in your breast at once. Your more enthusiastic self might think, “yes, totally”, while your methodological soul might shout, “anachronism ahead!” ...

  • Skateboarding: An Existential Art

    Rodney Mullen (born August 17, 1966) is an American professional skateboarder, entrepreneur, inventor, and public speaker who practices freestyle and street skateboarding. He is widely considered the most influential street skater in the history of the sport, being credited for inventing numerous tricks, including the kickflip, heelflip, impossible, and 360-flip. As a result, he has been called the “Godfather of Street Skateboarding.”

  • Slaying the Snark: What Nonsense Verse tells us about Reality

    A passionate logician, Carroll had been working on a three-part book on symbolic logic that remained unfinished at his death. Two logical paradoxes that he posed in Mind and shared privately with friends and colleagues, such as Bradley, hint at a troublemaking sentiment regarding where logic might be headed. ‘A Logical Paradox’ (1894) resulted in ...

  • Subjectivity as Truth

    When subjectivity, inwardness, is truth, then objectively truth is the paradox; and the fact that truth is objectively the paradox is just what proves subjectivity to be truth, since the objective situation proves repellent, and this resistance on the part of objectivity, or its expression, is the resilience of inwardness and the gauge of its ...

  • The Absurd

    My contention has been that death and the certain prospect of death make an absurdity out of life. But, argues Albert Camus, even if we humans were immortal, this would make life no less absurd.

  • The Concept of Probability is not as Simple as You Think

    The gambler, the quantum physicist and the juror all reason about probabilities: the probability of winning, of a radioactive atom decaying, of a defendant’s guilt. But despite their ubiquity, experts dispute just what probabilities are. This leads to disagreements on how to reason about, and with, probabilities – disagreements that our cognitive biases can exacerbate, ...

  • The Crowd is Untruth

    And to honour every man, absolutely every man, is the truth, and this is what it is to fear God and love one’s “neighbour.” But from an ethico-religious point of view, to recognize the “crowd” as the court of last resort is to deny God, and it cannot exactly mean to love the “neighbour.” And ...

  • The Curse of Greyface

    In the year 1166 B.C. a malcontented hunchbrain by the name of Greyface got it into his head that the universe was as humorless as he, and he began to teach that play was sinful because it contradicted the ways of Serious Order. “Look at all the order around you,” he said. And from that, ...

  • The Death of Postmodernism And Beyond

    Alan Kirby says postmodernism is dead and buried. In its place comes a new paradigm of authority and knowledge formed under the pressure of new technologies and contemporary social forces.

  • The Dynamics of Faith

    Faith is the state of being ultimately concerned. The content matters infinitely for the life of the believer, but it does not matter for the formal definition of faith. And this is the first step we have to make in order to understand the dynamics of faith.

  • The Empathetic Humanities have much to teach our Adversarial Culture

    Certainly, reading isn’t a zero-sum game. One can and should cultivate multiple modes of interpretation. Yet the nostrum that the humanities teach ‘critical thinking and reading skills’ obscures the profound differences in how adversarial and empathetic disciplines engage with written works – and how they teach us to respond to other human beings. If the ...

  • The Floating Continent

    Why do people insist on creating things that will inevitably be destroyed? Why do people cling to life, knowing that they must someday die? …Knowing that none of it will have meant anything once they do?

  • The Four Horsemen

    This little chat, a casual yet intellectually stimulating discussion between four brilliant minds was so excellent that I felt the need to share it. Many topics are discussed spanning science, religion, psychology and sociology. The way they interact with each other with sincerity, empathy and humility and a sense of fellowship is hard to come ...

  • The Gay Science

    For believe me, the secret for harvesting from existence the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment is to live dangerously! Build your cities on the slope of Vesuvius! Send your ships into unexplored seas! Live in war with your equals and with yourselves! Be robbers and spoilers, you knowing ones, as long as you cannot ...

  • The Hidden World of Immanuel Kant

    A Philosophy Now podcast.

  • The History of an Error

    And Plato said, “Let there be Truth,” and there was Truth. Man saw that the Truth was good, and he separated the Truth from the truth. Man called the Truth “Form,” and the truth he called “illusion.” Such is the spectacular deceit that marked the beginning of thousands of years of philosophical confusion. To the ...

  • The Kyoto School’s Takeover of Hegel

    Suares’s first book-length publication on philosophy fills a conspicuous lacuna of scholarship on the complex relationship between Hegel and the philosophers of the Kyoto School. The uptake of Hegel’s thought in Japan has been addressed by scholars in articles, book chapters, or in passing within the context of other subjects; but given the pervasive influence ...

  • The Madman (in me)

    I shall tell you. We have killed him – you and I. All of us are his murderers. But how have we done this? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What did we do when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither ...

  • The Map of Philosophy

    This video is such an excellent and comprehensive introduction to the various areas of philosophical interest. The narrator explains the intricate relations that each area has with the others. Also included in each section of the video are links to more videos about each specific subject. Carneades.org really did a great job creating this. They ...

  • The Matrix

    As interesting as the movie can be, that is not entirely what this post is about. This post is about the ideology of many of the folks that frequent the so-called Dark Web. On the main hub of the Dark Web, namely, the Hidden Wiki, one will find categories with links to hidden services of ...

  • The Matrix 20 Years On: How a Sci-fi Film Tackled Big Philosophical Questions

    Incredible as it may seem, the end of March marks 20 years since the release of the first film in the Matrix franchise directed by The Wachowski siblings. This “cyberpunk” sci-fi movie was a box office hit with its dystopian futuristic vision, distinctive fashion sense, and slick, innovative action sequences. But it was also a ...

  • The Myth of Sisyphus

    For me “The Myth of Sisyphus” marks the beginning of an idea which I was to pursue in The Rebel. It attempts to resolve the problem of suicide, as The Rebel attempts to resolve that of murder, in both cases without the aid of eternal values which, temporarily perhaps, are absent or distorted in contemporary ...

  • The New Idol

    Somewhere there are still peoples and herds, but not with us, my brethren: here there are states.

    A state? What is that? Well! open now your ears unto me, for now will I say unto you my word concerning the death of peoples.

    A state, is called the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly lieth it also; and ...

  • The Parable of the Arrow

    The Buddha was sitting in the park when his disciple Malunkyaputta approached him. Malunkyaputta had recently retired from the world and he was concerned that so many things remained unexplained by the Buddha. Was the world eternal or not eternal? Was the soul different from the body? Did the enlightened exist after death or not? ...

  • The Problem of Atheism

    A crisis is taking place in the contemporary world in a variety of forms, cutting across the realms of culture, ethics, politics, and so forth. At the ground of these problems is that fact that the essence of being human has turned into a question mark for humanity itself. This means that a crisis has ...

  • The Psychological Significance of the Biblical Stories

    The Bible is a series of books written, edited and assembled over thousands of years. It contains the most influential stories of mankind. Knowledge of those stories is essential to a deep understanding of Western culture, which is in turn vital to proper psychological health (as human beings are cultural animals) and societal stability. These ...

  • The Second Sex

    The Second Sex is a 1949 book by the French existentialist Simone de Beauvoir, in which the author discusses the treatment of women throughout history. Beauvoir asks “What is woman?” She argues that man is considered the default, while woman is considered the “Other”. According to Beauvoir, two factors explain the evolution of women’s condition: participation in production ...

  • The Self-Overcoming of Nihilism

    The summaries of the relation to nihilism of Hegel, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Feuerbach, and Stirner, a nearly forgotten figure in intellectual history, are all perspicacious. Even the chapters on Nietzsche, about whom volumes are written these days, provide new insights. The brief section on the problem of nihilism for Japan is unprecedented in the English literature, ...

  • The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

    In any community of scientists, Kuhn states, there are some individuals who are bolder than most. These scientists, judging that a crisis exists, embark on what Kuhn calls revolutionary science, exploring alternatives to long-held, obvious-seeming assumptions. Occasionally this generates a rival to the established framework of thought.

  • The Sunset Limited

    Black feels that he can persuade White from committing suicide. With Black stopping White right before he was about to kill himself, Black feels that this is destiny.

  • The Teaching of Buddha

    The Teaching of Buddha is a collection of writings on the essence of Buddhism, selected and edited from the vast Buddhist canon, presented in a concise, easy-to-read, and nonsectarian format. It also includes a brief history of Buddhism, a listing of the source texts, a glossary of Sanskrit terms, and an index.

  • Thinking About a Lack of Thinking

    A good education consists not only of the memorization of facts or methods, but, more importantly, of the development of understanding and thoughtfulness, which arouse the mind to curiosity and innovation.

  • To Be Governed

    To be governed is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so.

  • Tools for Thinking: Isaiah Berlin’s Two Concepts of Freedom

    Negative freedom is freedom from interference. You are negatively free to the extent that other people do not restrict what you can do. If other people prevent you from doing something, either directly by what they do, or indirectly by supporting social and economic arrangements that disadvantage you, then to that extent they restrict your ...

  • Video Games as Spiritual Activity

    I’ve seen it in the passionate music and epic stories of Final Fantasy. I’ve seen it in the comradery of split-screen deathmatches in Goldeneye. I’ve seen it in the power struggles and great friendships of the silent Tibia. Hell, I’ve seen it in Guitar Hero.

  • Was the Real Socrates more Worldly and Amorous than We Knew?

    Socrates is widely considered to be the founding figure of Western philosophy – a thinker whose ideas, transmitted by the extensive writings of his devoted follower Plato, have shaped thinking for more than 2,000 years. ‘For better or worse,’ wrote the Classical scholar Diskin Clay in Platonic Questions (2000), ‘Plato’s Socrates is our Socrates.’ The ...

  • We Know So Little About So Much

    I find it very interesting that even with the exponential growth in knowledge that we have witnessed from ancient times through the industrial age to the digital age, there still remains so much that is simply unknown to us. I have no doubt that the human spirit will in time conquer each and every question that ...

  • What did Max Weber mean by the ‘Spirit’ of Capitalism?

    The proliferation of knowledge and reflection on knowledge had made it impossible for any one person to know and survey it all. In a world which could not be grasped as a whole, and where there were no universally shared values, most people clung to the particular niche to which they were most committed: their ...

  • What do you really believe?

    Most of us have views on politics, current events, religion, society, morality and sport, and we spend a lot of time expressing these views, whether in conversation or on social media. We argue for our positions, and get annoyed if they are challenged. Why do we do this? The obvious answer is that we believe ...

  • What Einstein Meant by ‘God Does Not Play Dice’

    ‘The theory produces a good deal but hardly brings us closer to the secret of the Old One,’ wrote Albert Einstein in December 1926. ‘I am at all events convinced that He does not play dice.’

    Einstein was responding to a letter from the German physicist Max Born. The heart of the new theory of quantum ...

  • What is the Life of Meaning?

    Depending upon whom one asks, the question, “What is the meaning of life?” may be one of the most profound questions of human existence or nothing more than a nonsensical request built on conceptual confusion, much like, “What does the color red taste like?” Ask a non-philosopher, “What do philosophers discuss?” and a likely answer ...

  • White Noise

    All the others. The others who spend their lives believing that we still believe. It is our task in the world to believe things no one else takes seriously. To abandon such beliefs completely, the human race would die. This is why we are here. A tiny minority. To embody old things, old beliefs. The devil, the ...

  • Why Stephen Hawking is Wrong

    In his recent best seller, the world’s most famous scientist proclaims that philosophy is dead. But those who ignore philosophy are condemned to repeat it. And those who disparage philosophy are usually slaves of some defunct philosopher.

  • Why the Demoniac Stayed in his Comfortable Corner of Hell

    I am not what one might call a religious man. I went to church, and then to confirmation class, under duress. My mother, whom I secretly regarded as more powerful than God, insisted that I go. So I went. Her insistence, however, had the unintended consequence of introducing me to a pastor whom I came ...

  • Zen & The Art of Postmodern Philosophy

    Nietzsche views Buddhism as a passive kind of nihilism, a sign of weakness. Contrary to Nietzsche’s opinion of Buddhism, the historical Buddha wanted to “steer clear of notions of permanent existence and nihilistic nonexistence.” Within the context of the historically later Mahayana Buddhist philosophy, classical Madhyamika thinkers, for instance, emphatically rejected a nihilistic interpretation of ...