Addiction As Particularized Process, Not Isolated Condition

In The Addiction Experience, Stanton Peele writes: Addiction is not caused by a drug or its chemical properties. Addiction has to do with the effect a drug produces for a given person in given circumstances—a welcomed effect which relieves anxiety and which (paradoxically) decreases capability so that those things in life which cause anxiety grow moreContinue reading “Addiction As Particularized Process, Not Isolated Condition”

Talking Kierkegaard With ‘Non-Traditional’ Students

Philosophy being the discipline it is, I often find myself commenting on the identity of my students: it is how I remind those on the ‘inside’ and the ‘outside’ that there are possibilities here, not always acknowledged, of ways of thinking about the practice of philosophy, inside and outside the classroom. I offer this vagueContinue reading “Talking Kierkegaard With ‘Non-Traditional’ Students”

Politics As Spectator Sport In A Nation That Would Call Its Dictator ‘Coach’

It had to come to this: a ‘presidential debate’ would become as television-friendly as sports, that shadow-boxing encounters replete with campaign trail inanities and evasions would be reckoned the political-show equivalent of a honest-to-goodness fifteen-round heavyweight championship bout (with figurative seconds and blood buckets close at hand.) These allusions and analogies which have retained theirContinue reading “Politics As Spectator Sport In A Nation That Would Call Its Dictator ‘Coach’”

The Shock Of The New (Entry On A Class Reading List)

Teaching a new entrant on a class reading list is always a fraught business. It is especially so when the entrant is a well-established member of analogous canons and you have come late to the game. You are dimly aware you’ve ‘neglected a classic,’ and thus rendered your education–in several dimensions–incomplete; you are well awareContinue reading “The Shock Of The New (Entry On A Class Reading List)”

Ross Douthat Finds ‘Ascendant Social Liberalism’ Lurking Beneath His Bed

The New York Times’ Resident Sophist Laureate, Ross Douthat, has a long-running argumentative and rhetorical strategy of suggesting, through dark imprecations, that ‘liberalism’ and ‘godlessness’ are to blame for America’s social evils, for they they have produced them by provoking a reaction to their excesses. If only social and political movements didn’t engage in suchContinue reading “Ross Douthat Finds ‘Ascendant Social Liberalism’ Lurking Beneath His Bed”

On Surviving A Police Stop (Unlike Terence Crutcher)

One morning in the winter of 1989, after finishing up a short trip to Binghamton, NY with a pair of friends, I was driving back to my home in New Jersey. Rather, I was dozing in the front passenger seat after having performed my share of driving duties. I was jolted out of my slumbersContinue reading “On Surviving A Police Stop (Unlike Terence Crutcher)”

Honey And Me And Quining Qualia

I grew up loathing honey. I preferred jams: plum, orange. apple, ‘mixed fruit,’ gauva, mango, marmalade. Toasted bread with thick white cream and jam; never honey. Honey was just a little ‘sickly-sweet;’ its taste was a ‘little off.’ It crossed some permissible boundary of ‘sweetness’ and became cloying; it sent shudders through me. I couldn’tContinue reading “Honey And Me And Quining Qualia”

Paramilitary Organization Endorses Fascist; Nation Worries

Friday brought us the most frightening news of this terrible election season: The National Fraternal Order of Police, a 330,000-member union of law enforcement officers, has endorsed Donald Trump for president. “Our members believe he will make America safe again,” FOP President Chuck Canterbury said in a statement. Trump “seriously looked at the issues facingContinue reading “Paramilitary Organization Endorses Fascist; Nation Worries”

The Supposed Sacral Status Of ‘National’ Symbols

Yesterday, a Facebook friend–in the course of a discussion stemming from my post criticizing David Brooks‘ claim that protests by high school football players a la Colin Kaepernick were ‘counterproductive’–pointed me to the following quote by Saul Alinsky: Even the most elementary grasp of the fundamental idea that one communicates within the experience of hisContinue reading “The Supposed Sacral Status Of ‘National’ Symbols”

David Brooks Should Take A Knee And Stop Writing Stupid Op-Eds

David Brooks wants to “persuade” high school football players who are kneeling during the national anthem to protest systemic racism that what they are doing is “extremely counterproductive.” He does so by identifying this country’s “civic religion,” which is “a fusion of radical hope and radical self-criticism” and “based on a moral premise–that all menContinue reading “David Brooks Should Take A Knee And Stop Writing Stupid Op-Eds”