On A Minor Fast

I went on a little fast today. It lasted seven hours. But before you snicker at my pompous announcement of insignificant renunciation, do consider that I did not give up food or drink for that length of time. (Indeed, I made myself a four-egg omelette in that period and ate it with gusto.) Rather, IContinue reading “On A Minor Fast”

Knowing The Time And Manner Of Our Death

The characters in Nevil Shute‘s On The Beach know that barring natural disasters, and other unforeseen circumstances, they will die in a few months time–in September 1963–of radiation sickness, brought on by the thirty-seven day thermonuclear war that has already wiped out life in the northern hemisphere. They know its painful and uncomfortable symptoms–diarrhea and vomiting–willContinue reading “Knowing The Time And Manner Of Our Death”

The Central Park Five: Justice Gone Wrong

One night, late in April 1989, I sat in an apartment in Jersey City, discussing the Central Park jogger rape case with two friends. One of them, a black Haitian-American, expressed unease over the press and television coverage of the case, the use of the language of ‘wolf packs,’ ‘savages,’ ‘wilding,’ and all of theContinue reading “The Central Park Five: Justice Gone Wrong”

Fiction On Philosophy Reading Lists

Last week, over at the NewAPPS (Arts, Politics, Philosophy, Science) blog, where I’ve started blogging as part of a group of academic philosophers, I posted the following: In my post yesterday, I had written of how discussion centering on a classic philosophical debate could be sparked by a reading of fiction. (The upper-tier core classContinue reading “Fiction On Philosophy Reading Lists”

The Underestimation Of Our Capacity To Love

In response to my post yesterday on biological and adoptive parents, my friend Maureen Eckert wrote: Another way to think about this is that the tragedy is that people routinely underestimate their capacity to love. Maybe that is terrifying in all its implications. My older doubts about adoption, which I expressed at the beginning ofContinue reading “The Underestimation Of Our Capacity To Love”

Biological And Adoptive Parents

There was a time when I did not understand how adoption worked. Didn’t you have to have a biological tie with your offspring to be truly, deeply, emotionally bound to it? Over the years, I came to think not–at an intellectual level. But like many other theses, I became convinced of its truth only afterContinue reading “Biological And Adoptive Parents”

Nevil Shute’s _On The Beach_ And Normative Epistemology

The first reading in my Philosophical Issues in Literature class this semester–which focuses on the post-apocalyptic novel–is Nevil Shute‘s On The Beach. I expected, more often than not, moral, ethical, and political issues to be picked up on in classroom discussions; I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the very first class meeting–on Monday–honed inContinue reading “Nevil Shute’s _On The Beach_ And Normative Epistemology”

Protesting Gaza: After Gaol, A Day in Court

This morning, I reported to the New York City Criminal Court to be arraigned on charges of disorderly conduct (blocking traffic)–these stemmed from my arrest during a civil disobedience protest staged outside the Israeli mission to the UN on July 29th. My half-day in court was not as tedious and onerous as my day of imprisonment. ItContinue reading “Protesting Gaza: After Gaol, A Day in Court”

The World As Raw Material For Facebook Status And Tweet

Last morning, as I walked along a Brooklyn sidewalk to my gym, heading for my 10AM workout, I saw a young woman walking straight at me, her face turned away, attending to some other matter of interest (a smartphone, but it might have been kids or pets; the precise details of this encounter have slippedContinue reading “The World As Raw Material For Facebook Status And Tweet”

On Virtuous Acts: Paying Library Late Fees

A week or so ago, an old friend of my wife’s said to me, in the midst of a conversation about how much she enjoyed using her public library’s resources, that her busy schedule–work and taking care of two sub-five-year old toddlers–sometimes made her return her borrowings late, bringing a host of late fees inContinue reading “On Virtuous Acts: Paying Library Late Fees”