Category: Philosophy

1972, Books, Non-Fiction, Philosophy

Jumpers (1972) by Tom Stoppard

My favourite philosopher, Hannah Arendt, believed that space exploration, particularly manned space exploration, created a new paradigm for human beings. For the first time in history, humans could physically see what astronomy and math had only proved before, namely that we were just animals on a little planet in some little corner of the universe. …

2018, Personal, Philosophy, Psychology, Society

What if One of Your Core Beliefs is Based Upon a Lie?

Like any self-reflective adult, I like to believe that the beliefs I hold are based upon facts, not other beliefs. I spent a long time between the ages of 18 and 25 working to come to what I thought were defensible beliefs, beliefs based upon objective reality (as much as possible), rather than what I …

2018, Hockey, Philosophy, Society, Sports

The Nihilist Hockey League

I have been a fan of the hockey comedian/commentator Down Goes Brown for some time. I don’t remember when I became aware of him, but it was before he started writing for Grantland. I have appreciated both his comedic takes on what is a very silly league and also his perspective, which often seems to …

Books, Movies, Music, Philosophy, Politics, Society, Theatre, TV

In Praise of Cultural Appropriation

This article is about the accusation of “cultural appropriation” being thrown around at works of art. I may not be entitled to write this.

Philosophy, Society

Alternative Facts Are Older Than Facts

aka Western Philosophy Caused Alternative Facts We are told that so-called “alternative facts” are a new threat to us as a society; to how we view and understand the world and how we make decisions about the world (policies etc). But I think the idea of an “alternative” fact is far older and, worse, rooted …

2016, Philosophy, Science, Society

Detective School

If I have learned one thing from immersing myself in too many true crime podcasts, TV series and movies, it’s this: most detectives have never been taught to think. There seems to be an obsession with relying on instinct and (supposed) “known knowns” and nothing else; no rigorous investigation techniques, no awareness of the infamous …

Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Society

The belief in Justice is probably the breeding ground for injustice

I have long identified myself as an atheist – even though I’m an agnostic – in religion, an existentialist in philosophy and “anti-apocalyptic” or “anti-ideological” person in politics (i.e. a pragmatist). I have long struggled with this last definition, not because I don’t know what I am – I know exactly what I am, politically …

Philosophy

The Poverty of Ideology

This article on libertarianism says pretty much what I was trying to say in my book, only more rigorously (and with zero sense of humour). However, I think the general point of this article – that something like libertarianism is empty theory ignorant of human behaviour and human history – is actually a point that …

2013, Philosophy

Mark Rubio Drinks Water

As do I, Riley Haas. Contrary to what some “Eastern” mystics say, all human beings need to drink water to live. A human being may need to drink water during a speech. A human being may need to drink water on camera. A human being may need to drink water on camera during his own …

Philosophy

Rampant Sexism in Movie Advertising

Last night we saw Django Unchained. There were fortunately only four trailers (preceded by numerous ads, though). One of the ads was for Zero Dark Thirty. I’m 85% sure that Jessica Chastain didn’t say a single word in the entire trailer. Now, I’m not saying that was done on purpose, but if it was indeed accidental, …

Philosophy, Politics, Society

What is Neo-Conservatism?

Since before the recent US election the use of the term conservative has been driving me crazy. To tell you the truth, it has driven me crazy since I learned about ideology in university over ten years ago, but now that I have a blog, and now that I am inundated daily with misuse of …

Philosophy, Politics, Psychology, Society

Liberal as a Slur in the United States

Every US presidential election makes me insane. I do my very best to avoid paying attention but it is very hard, with how dominant the TV coverage is, even in Canada. I find I have to pay attention to US government policy in my current job and so I find that this year I am …

Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Society

19 Tough Questions for Libertarians, Part 4

This is part four in my series on the internet meme, “Jon Stewart’s 19 Tough Questions for Libertarians.” Please see part one here, part two here, and part three here. Today we deal with questions 10-19. You give money to the IRS because you think they’re gonna hire a bunch of people, that if your …

Philosophy, Politics, Psychology, Religion

19 Tough; Questions for Libertarianism, Part 3

In this post we look at questions 4-9. For the first part see here. For the second see here.   Do we live in a society or don’t we? Are we a collective? Everybody’s success is predicated on the hard work of all of us; nobody gets there on their own. Why should it be …

Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Society

19 Tough Questions for Libertarianism, part 2

So, for part two, we deal with questions 2-3. You can see the previous post here. One of the things that enhances freedoms are roads. Infrastructure enhances freedom. A social safety net enhances freedom. So obviously this is not a question, but a statement. But it gets to an important point, depending of course on …

2012, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Society

19 "Tough" Questions for Libertarianism, Part 1

About this time last year, Jon Stewart interviewed Andrew Napolitano, a prominent US “libertarian” on The Daily Show. At some point, some libertarians put Stewart’s interview questions into a meme sometimes called “Jon Stewart’s 19 tough questions for libertarians.” My understanding of this is that Napolitano did not acquit himself well enough in their eyes. …

2012, Books, Non-Fiction, Philosophy, Science

On the origins of the universe

In the CS Monitor‘s book of review of Jim Holt’s Does the Universe Exist?, Troy Jollimore discusses the nature of the universe and the bizarre fact that most scientists and philosophers seem to assume that we have to prove how the universe appeared, as if what existed before the universe – if ever we can say something existed before the …

Philosophy, Politics

What socialism actually means

Though I should know better, I find myself reading comments on the internet all too often. In these sections I am exposed to one of my biggest pet peeves: the complete re-creation of meaning for the major political theory isms: conservatism, liberalism and socialism. In the United States, conservatism is Republicanism (whatever Republicanism means, since …

Philosophy, Society

A Few Thoughts on Suicide

I am well aware of the practical considerations regarding the legalization of assisted-suicide and I don’t intend to discuss that now. But thinking about it in terms of survival instead (or in some kind of utilitarian fashion), I think there is a practical case to be made in favour of legal suicide.

Philosophy, Religion, Society

Polytheism is the better fiction

The more I think about it, the more I find polytheism more compelling. I used to think: monotheism is simpler therefore more believable. But on the level of fiction, which it is, polytheism is more believable. Which is more believable: one being with special powers or many? I say many. If it was a film, …

Personal, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Society

Full Disclosure: Influences

Existentialism: Hannah Arendt William Barrett Albert Camus Fyodor Dostoevsky Karl Jaspers Friedrich Nietzsche Jose Ortega y Gasset   History: Niall Ferguson Leszek Kolakowski   Language: Northrop Frye   Liberalism: John Dewey John Stuart Mill Jose Ortega y Gasset Karl Popper Richard Rorty Judith Shklar   Libertarianism: (early) Friedrich Hayek Robert Nozick   Literature: Fyodor Dostoevsky …

Philosophy, Society

Why is metaphysics dangerous in the hands of those who govern us?

All people generally think alike and don’t think alike at the same time. We have some things in common and other things which aren’t in common. But the claim there is a class, a coherent, self-contained ruling elite, that is distinctly different from the average joe, has no basis in fact; its basis is in …

Philosophy, Society

What is reality?

Saying “reality is everything” is hardly helpful. In fact, it’s “obscurantist”: a position which, deliberately or not, actually lessens human knowledge. The reason for this is that in order to understand what you mean by reality is everything, we must first understand what you mean by “thing.” There’s no other option because “reality is everything” …

Philosophy, Politics, Society

Why is metaphysics dangerous in the hands of those who govern us?

Metaphysics, i.e the study of “things” outside of physical reality, is incredibly dangerous for politics. But first, why do we use metaphysics? For some reason or other, human beings need to use abstracts to express themselves. We cannot always refer our ideas to concrete things. There is a whole field of philosophy that studies this …