What Is Philosophical Counseling? Part IV: Aristotle on Effective And Practical Knowledge

In their Introduction to ‘Philosophy as Therapeia’ (Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement #66) Jonardon Ganeri and Clare Carlisle write: For Aristotle, technical knowledge deals with the correct means of achieving a given objective, and practical knowledge is knowledge of ends as such. A technical approach to life will view an existence led without pain andContinue reading “What Is Philosophical Counseling? Part IV: Aristotle on Effective And Practical Knowledge”

‘Reciprocity’ As Organizing Principle For The Moral Instruction Of Young Women

I’ve often wondered how best to provide moral instruction to my daughter as she grows up, what principles and duties to keep front and center in the course of my conversations with her as she begins to grow into an age where her interactions with other human beings start to grow more complex. Over theContinue reading “‘Reciprocity’ As Organizing Principle For The Moral Instruction Of Young Women”

Blade Runner 2049: Our Slaves Will Set Us Free

Blade Runner 2049 is a provocative visual and aural treat. It sparked many thoughts, two of which I make note of here; the relationship between the two should be apparent. What is the research project called ‘artificial intelligence’ trying to do? Is it trying to make machines that can do the things which, if doneContinue reading “Blade Runner 2049: Our Slaves Will Set Us Free”

No, Aristotle Did Not ‘Create’ The Computer

For the past few days, an essay titled “How Aristotle Created The Computer” (The Atlantic, March 20, 2017, by Chris Dixon) has been making the rounds. It begins with the following claim: The history of computers is often told as a history of objects, from the abacus to the Babbage engine up through the code-breakingContinue reading “No, Aristotle Did Not ‘Create’ The Computer”

The Convenient Construction Of The Public-Private Distinction

Revolutions are public affairs; revolutionaries bring them about. They fight in the streets, they ‘man’ the barricades, they push back the forces of reaction. And then, they go home for the night, to a meal and a warm bed. There, they rest and recuperate, recharging the batteries of uprising, ready to battle again the nextContinue reading “The Convenient Construction Of The Public-Private Distinction”

Notes On Meditation Practice – II

Meditation induces two interesting forms of self-consciousness that do not arise during the actual sitting itself. They are, rather, ways of regarding the practice of meditation as it meshes with the rest of the meditator’s life. First, the meditator is self-consciously aware of the fact that he is one. The normal, ongoing processes of identityContinue reading “Notes On Meditation Practice – II”

The Greek Alphabet: Making The Strange Familiar

In his review of Patrick Leigh Fermor‘s The Broken Road: From The Iron Gates to Mount Athos (eds. Colin Thubron and Artemis Cooper, New York Review Books, 2014) Daniel Mendelsohn writes: His deep affection and admiration for the Greeks are reflected in particularly colorful and suggestive writing. There is a passage in Mani in which the letters ofContinue reading “The Greek Alphabet: Making The Strange Familiar”

The Curious Irony of Procrastination

Do writers procrastinate more than other people? I wouldn’t know for sure just because I have no idea how much procrastination counts as the norm and what depths practitioners of other trades sink to. But I procrastinate a great deal. (Thank you for indulging me in my description of myself as a ‘writer’; if youContinue reading “The Curious Irony of Procrastination”

The Nature Documentary and the Failed Hunt

Like many middle-class children, here or elsewhere, I watched wildlife documentaries while ‘growing up.’ There was a long-running Sunday feature whose name I forget that subjected one species to its lens each week; there were the full-length movies–sometimes on the big cats (my personal favorite), sometimes on elephants, sometimes on the primates–my parents took meContinue reading “The Nature Documentary and the Failed Hunt”

Zoë Heller on the ‘Shocking’ Role of ‘Aesthetic Grounds’ in Moral Judgments:

I quite enjoyed reading Zoë Heller‘s review of Janet Malcolm‘s Forty-One False Starts: Essays on Artists and Writers but I’m not inclined to join her in all the hosannas she sends Malcolm’s way. Consider for instance, the assessment she makes of a judgement offered by Malcolm: In the absence of moral certainty, Malcolm suggests, our sympathies areContinue reading “Zoë Heller on the ‘Shocking’ Role of ‘Aesthetic Grounds’ in Moral Judgments:”