Personal identity is a philosophical topic made for thought experiments. The problem of persistence of identity is quite simply posed; as the Stanford Encylopedia for Philosophy entry for personal identity puts it: What determines which past or future being is you? Suppose you point to a child in an old class photograph and say, “That’sContinue reading “Personal Identity And Wanting To Be Jim Lovell”
Professors put the darndest things on their office doors: I’ll-be-back-in-five-minutes notices, announcements of conferences, descriptions of new classes, suitably anonymized student grades, political posters, stickers. And then it gets wierd: vacation photos, children’s drawings, cartoons (a perennial faculty favorite in New York appears to be New Yorker cartoons), and of course, jokes culled from theContinue reading “Things You Could Find On A Professor’s Office Door: Cavafy’s City”
Folks familiar with Ross Douthat’s writing over at the New York Times should be well clued-on to his style, which produces bits of meandering sophistry that include a sentence or two toward the end giving away the game. In those sentences, Douthat reveals the tension of maintaining the appearance of a sophisticated intellectual conservative isContinue reading “Ross Douthat, Sophistry, and Getting Philip Larkin Wrong”
This semester, while teaching my two classes (Freud and Psychoanalysis; Modern Philosophy), I’ve relied at times on reading out loud my assigned texts in class. In particular, I’ve read out, often at great length, Leibniz’s Discourses on Metaphysics and The Mondadology, portions from The Critique of Pure Reason, and in the Freud class, portions ofContinue reading “Teaching Philosophy By Reading Out Loud”
On Saturday morning, as I sat at 7th Avenue subway station in Brooklyn, waiting for a Q train to take me back home, I noticed a banjo player playing across the tracks from me on the Manhattan-bound platform. The station was noisy as usual, but still, somehow, his urgent strumming and foot stomping (on aContinue reading “An “Intellectual Property” Lesson From A Busker”
In his two-part essay in the New York Review of Books on being a Jewish writer in America, Saul Bellow is typically uneven. There are some rambling portions (Bellow seems to have a talent for such rambling, nowhere more evident than in this bizarre 1994 New York Times Op-Ed where he attempts to defend himselfContinue reading “Saul Bellow on Artists and Philosophers”
Next week, on Tuesday, November 22nd, I will be conducting a discussion with the Brooklyn College Philosophy Department’s Philosophy Society titled “Without Cruelty There Is No Festival: Nietzsche and Philosophy”. This is the description I sent to our society co-ordinator Justin Steinberg (an amazing Spinoza scholar): Rarely can there have been a philosopher as readable,Continue reading “Nietzsche and Philosophy Discussion”
David Coady of the University of Tasmania recently helped launch my latest book, _A Legal Theory for Autonomous Artificial Agents_, at a party in Melbourne, Australia. At the launch, he made a few opening remarks, which can be read here.