Is a major in Spanish a good investment? If I buckle down and commit myself to daily study and practice (and spend one semester abroad), can I attain a decent fluency in the language? What kind of career paths could I expect? More details and questions follow. [more inside]
posted by fignewton
on Mar 26, 2014 -
It's been a long time since my philosophy courses in college, and none of the ones I took had a focus on ethics. In the back of my mind I've been wondering if anyone has explored whether there is a disconnect between morality + ethics on the one hand and right action on the other. (Right action is meant in the plain language sense--I don't recall if it's a term of the art or not, but I suspect it is.) [more inside]
posted by jsturgill
on Mar 13, 2014 -
I'm looking for resources to help better understand the different types of activities that bring people joy and meaning. [more inside]
posted by figgy_finicky
on Feb 27, 2014 -
So, I've been trying to hash out my philosophic and intangible beliefs and I realized that the only thing I really, truly connect with in a belief sense is Nothing, the dark. To be clear, I don't mean this melodramatically, I simply mean this in the sense that I find the fact that when I close my eyes at night that the idea that, as Roger Ebert put it, "I was perfectly content before I was born" comes to mind. That there is more that does not exist in this world than does. From John Locke (blank slate ideas) to Nietzche and religion, can you good people point me very broadly in the direction of thoughts on the nothing that surrounds us? Thanks!
posted by sendai sleep master
on Feb 17, 2014 -
I've lately been thinking a lot about the notion that "dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return," in that nothing we humans do in our relatively short lifespans makes a "dent" in the universe. Or why it would even matter if it did make said dent -- after all, why not just live in the now? Why do we continue as a people?
I quite enjoy life. But as a young person, when I look at the years in front of me, I often wonder why it is that I am not a hedonist, or why as a society we do not crumble to hedonism when the cosmos will be practically indifferent to our toil on this planet.
It's hard for me to even articulate, but I feel a weight upon my shoulders that comes from unanswered questions of our existence. Can anyone clarify for me what I am wondering about, and then further recommend some reading on the subject? Surely the philosophers must have analyzed these gnawing feelings for hundreds of year, but I don't know what to look for.
posted by saperlipopette
on Feb 12, 2014 -
I am struggling to remember or find a line from what I think was a work of philosophy, something like:"at the heart [center] of every system [of belief | of thought | world-construct] is a secret [hidden] trangression [contradiction | inversion | denial]" [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns
on Feb 7, 2014 -
Within the past year or two (approx.), there was a book published that laid out (in a somewhat light-hearted, abbreviated manner, for mass market) many various imaginings from religion, folklore, etc., of what life after death may be like. Can anyone recall it for me?
posted by mmiddle
on Feb 7, 2014 -
I'm trying to identify some current thinkers on the concepts of space and place, specifically in regards to the rise of social media, the internet, etc. I'm looking for writings from the last 5 years. Which authors (or works) should I be looking at?
posted by Stynxno
on Feb 5, 2014 -
I have read some of Marshall McLuhan's books and would like to continue to read more in the same vein. I don't have a background in Media Studies or Philosophy, but I want to learn more about what contemporary thinkers have written about media and culture touching on some of the same subjects as McLuhan. I'm interested in philosophy of media studies (and futurism/technology/etc.). I'm also interested in artists that have reflected some of these ideas in their work. Suggestions?
posted by catrae
on Jan 27, 2014 -
I'm a grad student in conservation biology who has always had a strong interest in conservation issues. However, I feel like the technical side of my education is much stronger than the philosophical side, and I want to restore that balance. Who should I read, what resources should I look into, what organizations or publications are out there that will help me gain a deeper understanding of the philosophical, historical, and cultural components of environmentalism? [more inside]
posted by Scientist
on Jan 24, 2014 -
When I was studying history of philosophy I remember encountering a term which I recall as being either 'historical monism' or 'psychological monism', which referred to the (posited) error of assuming, I think looking historically, that the psychology of other peoples was like your own. I.e. of assuming that you could reasonably attempt to understand their motivations &c. It might have had something to do with heiddegger? It seems unlikely that this would've involved the term 'monism', though, looking back, and I'm not having tons of luck with google. Any clues?
posted by cmyr
on Jan 22, 2014 -
After a lifetime of messing around on the Web, I'm trying to approach it in a meaningful way. Stoic philosophy has made a difference in my life, and I was wondering if someone could point me out to thinkers or philosophers of that particular school who have spent time with Twitter, Facebook, etc..
posted by Jonny Camaney
on Jan 18, 2014 -
I'm looking for any pointers to articles, books, or information about the history of pre-modern
thought about the possibility of extraterrestrial life. (To be clear, I'm not
looking for anything about "ancient astronauts" or whether the ancient Egyptians were guided by aliens or anything like that.) [more inside]
posted by DevonKappa
on Jan 6, 2014 -
I am interested in articles that try to analyze and explain the conflict between the hard and soft sciences. In my casual web surfing I have come across e.g. highly-trained scientists who yet express a deep disdain for fields as open-ended and far-ranging as sociology, feminism, queer theory, postmodernism, and so on, sometimes even economics, psychology. I find such attitudes hard to comprehend, and even disturbing since my educational background is in the applied sciences. Which are the important works that have been done to better understand this ongoing social/intellectual gap, and that are presented in a readable manner for a non-expert?
posted by polymodus
on Jan 4, 2014 -
I've recently become unemployed and am taking this opportunity to rethink my lifestyle. Help me figure out how to build an idle life. [more inside]
posted by 1d2d3
on Dec 8, 2013 -
Charles Babbage was a prominent member of the Analytical Society
, and was at the very least intimately familiar with Leibniz's formulation of calculus. But did he ever read Leibniz's writings on logic
? Did the Ars Combinatoria
, or any of his writings on the "universal characteristic" or "calculus ratiocinator" influence Babbage's thinking about computation?
posted by wobdev
on Nov 3, 2013 -
I am looking for an introductory text (preferably available online) that will outline these concepts for me. Thanks.
posted by PhDStudent
on Sep 18, 2013 -
I'm looking for book recommendations for thorough, engaging, and rigorous histories of Savile Row tailoring and/or books that talk about the history and philosophy of fine men's tailoring and dress. I'm not averse to books with technical information, as well as historical and cultural information. Thank you!
posted by moxie_milquetoast
on Sep 15, 2013 -
I'm looking for a way of diagramming the component parts of ideas and arguments, and their relationships to each other, formally and visually. Does such a thing exist? [more inside]
posted by escape from the potato planet
on Sep 13, 2013 -
I just finished reading Jeremy Adelman's biography of Albert O. Hirschman
. I loved the book because it vividly explained Hirschman's ideas (he was an economist and scholar of political thought) and because Hirschman had a fascinating and compelling life story. Can you recommend biographies of major thinkers in the social sciences and philosophy?
posted by EtTuHealy
on Sep 9, 2013 -
I am teaching Plato's allegory next week, and I would like to use some relatable examples of his ideas represented in recent popular culture. The Matrix is fine but getting well-worn. I am looking for something "newer" to illustrate the restraints of the cave, enlightenment, etc. Most of my students are 19-25 years old. Not owning a TV myself, I am out of touch with what the kids are into these days. Can anyone suggest some other, more contemporary examples -- clips from film or TV that I can show in class?
posted by quixotictic
on Sep 1, 2013 -
In the event that I have any control over it whatsoever, I want to die well. Recent family events and yesterday's NPR segments (1
) on end-of-life issues raise a fresh wave of questions about how to plan now
for the best possible end later on. Is there anything in the works that looks like a living will but allows us in our younger healthier years to document the preference "if a, b or c happen, just guide me to the light with morphine"? I want to be able to die as peacefully and (perhaps almost as) easily as my pets can. And perhaps I should reserve this additional loaded question for a separate post, but what the hell: why do people care so much? [more inside]
posted by AnOrigamiLife
on Aug 26, 2013 -
After years of depression and self-medication I'm trying to live a better life. What should I be doing? [more inside]
posted by anonymous
on Aug 25, 2013 -
Most machines are very predictable when in motion- their movement can be graphed in terms of speed, acceleration and jerk quite easily. Generally, the graph flattens out when you get to jerk. Can the same be done with humans? Or are our movements chaotic at a fundamental level? I know that ultimately we exert motion through force (=ma) but is it possible for us to increase the rate at which we increase the rate of force, and even increase the rate of that? Would we be able to register anything on the graph of m/s5? [more inside]
posted by Greener_pastures
on Aug 15, 2013 -
Somewhere in the back of my brain there's a memory of a quote I once read, possibly by a Greek philosopher but just as possibly not. The quote was something about sleep (and maybe dreams?) being the greatest reward in life - that the only reason we toil through the day is to "earn" our sleep at night. [more inside]
posted by DulcineaX
on Aug 7, 2013 -
I'm well-read but pretty uneducated when it comes to philosophy, aside from having a working knowledge of the Post-Structuralists.
I'm looking for philosophical books (it doesn't matter it they're canonical or not--I have not read most of the canon, but I also haven't read a lot of related books) that explore one or more of these areas: beauty, art, or narratives. (I just started Lyotard tonight, so no need to suggest him.) [more inside]
posted by mermaidcafe
on Jul 30, 2013 -
Recently I've been listening to some very interesting podcasts on the mind-body problem
and I've been caught up in the various different approaches that one can take to the problem. I was really excited until, upon further reflection, it seemed to me that most of what we use to attack this problem in America (analytic philosophy) is basically just word games, logic puzzles and thought experiments, with no real basis in reality. Help? [more inside]
posted by Avenger
on Jun 28, 2013 -
How did classical philosophers or ethicists handle the fact that attachment to oaths, creeds, promises, allegiances, etc, can (and often must) evolve and change over time? You swear an oath and uphold it until such time as you discard it for something better or more useful. Did any famous philosopher ever outline how that process should work when it's appropriate?
posted by Cool Papa Bell
on Jun 26, 2013 -
I'm looking for an in-text reference for a concept apparently put forward by Immanuel Kant. I would like to know where in his own writings this concept was actually addressed. [more inside]
posted by heylight
on Jun 18, 2013 -
Hi Metafilter. Recommendations, please?
Recently I had ended a cycle of medication that was likely to affect my memory. It has.
I feel as though I've gone from a quick, engaged conversationalist, to a bit of an observant, less inclined platform of speaking. Mostly, it's because I can't seem to recall things as quickly as before. It's so, so uncomfortable.
I've been told my memory will return over time, but in the meantime, I can read and participate in exercises in an attempt to jar it.
Can anyone offer some comprehensive overviews of religion, history, philosophy, or politics?
Really basic stuff would be just find - Any texts going over the religions of the world, introductions to politic, lists of notable philosophers or historic figures..
posted by thewolfandewe
on Jun 16, 2013 -
I am interested in trying to understand how our ability and inability to understand symbols in relation to their meanings binds people together as well as forming in- and out-groups. I have had a difficult time in finding works that go along with this premise and would be interested if anyone would know of good sources. What follows is a short explanation of what I think currently. Comments and criticisms are highly appreciated. [more inside]
posted by ishrinkmajeans
on May 31, 2013 -
I created an online, open source academic journal website several years ago and it may be near the end of its first life. I'd love to get feedback on what folks here think might work best. I want to reinvent it and breathe new life into old content. Help me, MetaFilter, rebuild something that doesn't have to die into something new and beautiful! [more inside]
posted by christopherious
on May 22, 2013 -
I'm trying to remember a quotation. It might be from an ancient philosopher or a saint. Someone says to him something like, "How do you know how to do the right thing?" And his response is, "I observe the people around me doing the wrong things, and I do the opposite." That's a very rough recollection, and not enough for Google to help. Does this ring a bell for anyone?
posted by southern_sky
on May 2, 2013 -
I am looking for examinations of the Internet and World Wide Web that use the structure and/or history of the city as a metaphor. [more inside]
posted by 0bvious
on Apr 12, 2013 -
I am looking for books investigating the occult as a phenomenon, its history, and its possibilities. Maybe that sounds simple, but I'm also picky. [more inside]
posted by parkbench
on Apr 4, 2013 -
I can accurately imagine sounds of 440hz. I can imagine sounds of 880hz, 1760hz, and so on, and accurately identify octave intervals.
Why can't I keep imagining sounds an octave up, until I am imagining beyond the limits of my hearing?
posted by Jon Mitchell
on Apr 4, 2013 -
I am a scientifically-minded person who is trying to sort out my religious beliefs. I think it would be helpful to read some debates between deism, atheism, pantheism (Spinozism), and/or a scientifically-grounded theism. Can anyone recommend me books or essays that discuss these topics in ways that are engaging, well-thought-out, and thorough? [more inside]
posted by capricorn
on Mar 19, 2013 -
I'm working on a creative project about somebody who gets his brain removed and put in a vat. What should I read? [more inside]
posted by HeroZero
on Mar 15, 2013 -
I'm taking up restoration of mechanical calculators as a hobby. To what extent would repairs/part replacements constitute "restoration", and when does it become "reproduction" instead? [more inside]
posted by jackbishop
on Mar 1, 2013 -
Which works published anytime in the last century are Platonic-style dialogues on philosophical themes?
posted by shivohum
on Feb 12, 2013 -
When you intentionally add bogus features that are expected to be struck down, what is this called? The features are added to serve as a target for criticism and preserve the rest of the software. [more inside]
posted by WCF
on Feb 9, 2013 -
A friend of mine recently quit his job and has found himself with a lot of free time. As a method to explore his mind and world he has set himself a task to write an essay on : -
"The Notion of Freedom and Humanity"
I am no philosophy veteran but I am sure that there must be some great texts already dealing with this subject.
What research and reading material can I recommend my friend for his essay?
posted by Cogentesque
on Jan 15, 2013 -
Human Existence Filter: Does everyone have pervasive "background radiation" of anxiety/fear/worry? [more inside]
posted by anonymous
on Dec 19, 2012 -
People don't change. If accepting that reality is the way to peace, how do I reconcile it with being married to someone with whom I'm incompatible in fundamental ways? (I am committed to this marriage because we have a young child who means the world to me and needs me.) Do I need to stop believing there could be core change in another person's outlook on life? [more inside]
posted by anonymous
on Dec 4, 2012 -
Help me to philosophically pigeon-hole what I take to be the methodological
views of many professors in my economics department. Then help me to explore that and other pigeon-holes. [more inside]
posted by mister_kaupungister
on Dec 1, 2012 -