I well remember pulling Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance from my parents’ shelves at age twelve or thirteen, working my way through a few pages, and stopping in true perplexity to ask, “what is this?” The book fit no formal scheme or genre I had ever encountered before.[...]
Let me call your attention to a new and quite different philosophy podcast. Created by Barry Lam (Associate Professor of Philosophy at Vassar College), Hi-Phi Nation is a philosophy podcast “that turns stories into ideas.[...]
It’s a question that’s occupied our greatest thinkers, from Aristotle and Plato to Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye:
Which came first—the chicken or the egg?
The debate will likely rage as long as there’s a faith-based camp to square off against the evidence-based camp.
In 1812, GWF Hegel published his Science of Logic. Two centuries later, one of his disciples put on Github an interactive visualisation of Hegel’s work, which essentially takes the structure of the text and puts it into a visual map. Whether the visualization has any utility, I’m not sure. But it’s fun to give it a quick spin.[...]
We watch it happen in real time, aghast as the media cannibalizes itself, turning reality into a parody of the kind we laughed at in goofy dystopian scenarios from Back to the Future, The Simpsons, Idiocracy. A brave new world of hypercredulity and monstrous disingenuousness arrived on our smart phones and TVs.[...]
What do we live in: the only universe that exists, or an elaborate computer simulation of a universe? The question would have fascinated Isaac Asimov, and that presumably counts as one of the reasons the Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate took it as its subject last year.[...]
The Open Culture audience, by my estimation, divides into two basic groups: those who’ve read the collected works of the likes of Simone de Beauvoir, Michel Foucault, and Plato, and those who’d like to.[...]
In 1979, French theorist Jean-François Lyotard declared the end of all “grand narratives”—every “theory or intellectual system,” as Blackwell’s dictionary defines the term, “which attempts to provide a comprehensive explanation of human experience and knowledge.[...]
The playlist above features roughly eight hours of video lectures on Søren Kierkegaard, the “father of existentialism.” They’re presented by Jon B. Stewart, currently a fellow at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and before that Associate Professor at the Søren Kierkegaard Research Center at the University of Copenhagen.[...]
For a few years, many people—those who might these days be called a “self-satisfied liberal elite” (or something like that)—believed that the arguments in Edward Said’s 1978 book Orientalism were becoming generally accepted.[...]