Many moons ago I read a short story about several children who lived in a world that was almost perpetually dark, with the exception of something like 15 minutes of sunlight every 30 years. These children were horsing around outside, and two of them locked a third in a shed. While this child was in the shed, the sun came out, depriving him/her of the only opportunity they'd have in their life to see the light. Does this ring a bell for anyone?
I'm currently doing and MA on Modern Philosophy but feel I need to address a gap in my knowledge of ancient greek philosophy. So I was looking for a good companion to guide me through reading, potentially all of, Plato's dialogues. Basically a book with a chapter on each dialogue discussing key points and insights of the dialogue, controversies and relating it to modern issues. Does such a book exist? [more inside]
I have recently become fascinated by Beethoven’s 9th, 8th and 5th symphonies, partly because I am familiar with some of the historical/philosophical context. I study and am familiar with the history of modern European philosophy (including Enlightenment philosophy and German Idealism) which I suspect could give me a beneficial entryway into the world of classical music. Can anyone recommend a method or approach to appreciating classical music more? Does anyone have suggestions for the best pieces and composers to set out with?
I have recently become interested in the question of what sort of existence or "being" logical laws, reason, mathematical truths, rationality have. That is, what is the ontological basis of logic? Where does the a priori reside? Is it part of the universe or if it is somehow "absolute" then "where" do these truths reside? Who has theorised about this, can you give pointers of philosophers, and books that have tackled this issue? Did Russell or Frege talk about this? Plato's realm of Ideas seems one approach to the problem but what are contemporary theories?
If it means "the love of knowledge," as it is commonly given in dictionaries, why isn't it "sophophilia" on the analogy of Anglophilia, necrophilia, bibliophilia, etc? [more inside]
I have been reading a few primary texts in philosophy on my own. However, I find that its difficult to engage with a text merely by reading it. I'd like to find a bunch of questions or essay prompts for each book I read that I can then think over, write a page or so on, that help me to focus on the important points of a text in the history of philosophical thought. Google searches have not been very effective at finding questions. (I can sometimes find reading lists and syllabi which are useful but not quite what I want). [more inside]
I'm updating a graduate survey course in critical theory that cavasses all the main 'isms' and is quite high level. It includes readings and discussions on feminist and queer philosophies and literary theories but there is currently no section on transgender at all. I'd like to change this. What's the best academic introduction to transgender or transgender theory/politics, the position of transgender within queer theory that you've read? It needs to be scholarly but memoir or personal reflection or journalism could also be okay as further readings. Suitable for Masters students so it can be philosophical/dense/complex. Happy to hear of any ideas for readings that fall outside these requirements if you think I'm going about this the wrong way too. It would need to be a book chapter or journal article not a whole book. Thanks!
What is the best way to start lecturing on a new self-help / philosophy type concept? Is it better to organize your own lectures first, or to join various existing conferences? If the former, does anyone have any tips or pointers to books on how best to organize and effectively publicize these lectures, and stories about how others have done it? If the latter, does anyone have any tips on how to successfully apply for a speaking slot at a conference? No blog-related tips, please.
Which (German?) philosopher said something like: art/writing is perfect in proportion to the degree to which the personality of the artist isn't detectable in it?
I want to read scholarly work about why doing things with "digital" tools (like word processors or MIDI music keyboards) is experienced differently from doing things with "analog" tools (like typewriters or pianos). [more inside]
I'm a social science grad student, and I'm learning a lot about models of causal inference, like mediation analysis and Judea Pearl's work. Could anyone who knows anything about Philosophy recommend some works dealing with causality? [more inside]
I love reading Chinese philosophy, and I'm looking to get into some Korean philosophy, just to see what their take is. But I'm having trouble figuring out where to start. I'd like to read uniquely Korean things, or takes on confucianism and taoism, from any time period, or just interesting thoughts posed by Korean philosophers. I'd also like to read some Japanese texts in the same vein, and once again don't really know where to start. I'm looking for the best English translations. Any suggestions?
It was said by Wittgenstein that a perfectly good work of philosophy could be written which was entirely composed of jokes. Has anyone done it, in analytical or continental philosophy? [more inside]
I'm looking for a copy of Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations that isn't in the en face format (German on one page, English translation on the other). I had a straight Anscombe translation in college but have since lost it. Any ideas? Everything I've seen on Amazon is the en face. Thanks for your help!
Help me out, Hivemind. I'm looking for respectable, scholarly books, friendly to the layman, on the early beginnings of Christianity. More specifically, I'm interested in its first few centuries. I'm also hoping to attain a better understanding of Gnosticism and its place in Christianity's history. I am NOT looking for New Age-y neognostic inculcations.
Someone I am close to is increasingly getting into the videos of a blogger who talks about an occult group as a stand in for the power elite, occult symbolism in media, the trivium, natural law, etc. My friend seems to see this person as a bringer of new truth, whereas upon my few listenings it mostly seems to be vaguely intellectual cobbling together of anti capitalism, some moral political philosophy, money is religion type stuff. My question is if there's a way for me to connect with him on these topics more generally. [more inside]
Somewhere in the murky corridors of the internet I once read an article about how certain societal problems (HIV rates, road death rates, homicide rates) are higher in countries with greater income inequality (a higher Gini coefficient) than in countries that are poor but with more equally distributed wealth. Where can I read more about this? Well-written, accessible-for-a-layman book recommendations particularly gratefully received. (I'm currently reading Alain de Botton's 'Status Anxiety'.)
I guess I'm 39 going on 9 but I need you to explain feelings please, and what I might be able to to about them. Can I stop/manage/fast-track the negative ones somehow? Illustrative example inside but I'd really like to hear broad principles please [more inside]
I recently quit my full-time job and I'm figuring things out. I have some ideas on what to do next, and I'm looking for some feedback and, as always, additional ideas and perspective. [more inside]
Have you ever had a class (or similar structured educational experience) that actually taught you to be better at logic and critical thinking? If so, how'd it do that? [more inside]
I'm reaching for a phrase for a short science fiction piece I'm working on. I'd like to know what a Classical-Latin-speaking character would say if they wanted to articulate a particular concept analogous to "I think therefore I am", but expressing instead a monstrous moral conclusion they've reached along the lines of I think therefore none may be / shall be. [more inside]
Which of the dozens of English translations of M. Aurelius' "Meditations" is best for younger readers prioritizing beautiful, readable, lyrical and contemporary wording? Not looking for "... For Dummies"-level; just trying to avoid the KJB-style "thines" and "mayests" and so on. Willing to sacrifice textual fidelity for the most readable, accessible prose. [more inside]
It is my understanding that French high school students take a year-long philosophy course in the last year of the lycee. So what's it like in this course, anyway? [more inside]
I am writing a piece about the melding of form and content within a certain musician's body of work. (I'd rather not give this artist's name.) I am looking for texts which deal with concepts of form and content in any genre. Denise Levertov's "Some Notes on Organic Form" is likely going to be my main reference, but I haven't been able to think of many other resources despite attempting to search the library databases on this. Can anyone think of other texts to check out?
I was curious as to what others have done when they are not sure as to what they need to change to make their lives better? I am a big believer in therapy but it is also very problem oriented and can focus too much on deficits. I guess what I'm asking is how do you know what you need to change in your life? How do you know if you have fallen off the path of what you need to do in your life? [more inside]
At the age of 24, I just completed my first year of undergraduate studies at a good public university. I am a strong student with a 4.0 GPA, but I feel that my interests are so broad and varied that I don't know how to narrow down on a specific path of study. Compound these problems with the ubiquitous financial and career concerns of the modern college student, and you have one confused student. How can I resolve this inner turmoil and structure a long-term plan that will bring me (at least some) peace of mind? [more inside]
I'm beginning a project that looks partly at biological classification, primarily in western science. I have no background in this, and so I'm digging around. I'm interested to know more about the current rules for nomenclature, and also to know more about historical, philosophical, sociological, knowledge practice, ethnographic, anthropological, science technology and society (STS), sociotechnical, etc., approaches to the study of biological classification. I'll take monographs, articles, papers, web sites, etc. I have access to a university library. What are some good sources that can introduce me to this? Many thanks!
I'm going to spend the next year reading a diverse set of books to change how I see the world. What books have changed your world view? [more inside]
I'm looking for a good overview of Western philosophy for beginners. [more inside]
Suppose you had new philosophical and/or religious ideas meant to be taken seriously. Suppose they were relatively unaffiliated with any particular religious community or conventional academic conversation. Suppose you were not a celebrity. Where, particularly in New York City, would be places open to new speakers with these kinds of ideas? Where might sophisticated, sympathetic, open-minded audiences be found?
I'm looking for original source artists' writings. I'm talking diaries, manifestos, conversations about the creative process - Help me find books, magazines, websites or other good resources! [more inside]
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]
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]
I'm looking for resources to help better understand the different types of activities that bring people joy and meaning. [more inside]
I enjoy the Rationally Speaking podcast. Are there any similar podcasts, not necessarily featuring "special guests," which feature discussions on philosophy, science, and ethics?
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!
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. Thank you.
What blogs are well written and worth following to broaden my mind? [more inside]
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]
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?
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?
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?
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]
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?
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..
I'm looking for any pointers to articles, books, or information about the history of pre-modern, non-Western 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]
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?
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]
I'm looking for recommendations for literary crime novels. (Examples within.) [more inside]