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Problems at the Intersection of Aesthetics and Ethics

The very excellent Seth Vannatta in Response: The Digital Journal of Popular Culture Scholarship. I’d suggest that readers also think about Wittgenstein’s idea in the Tractatus that ethics and aesthetics are one — on which much has been written. I’d also refer readers to the collection of essays entitled Aesthetics and Ethics: Essays at the Intersection.   aestheticsAlfred North WhiteheadethicsFurtwänglerHans-Georg GadamerImmanuel KantJohn DeweyLudwig…

Free Will Revisited: Dennett and Harris in Conversation

Check out this excellent discussion between Dan Dennett and Sam Harris. Both shine since I think they have raised each other’s game; this despite being recorded after an already long day. As Sam rightly says, since so much gets lost and/or miscognized in writing it is thus vital to listen to the first 8 or so minutes…

Williams on Ethics, Knowledge, and Reflection

This conclusion is disappointing for those who hoped that we could argue somebody into morality. But Williams is adamant that this was always an ill-conceived hope. The very excellent A. W. Moore taking on the devastating brilliance of Bernard Williams. Williams wants to challenge the idea that moral notions are through and through pure . .…

Hilary Putnam 1926-2016

It is notable that the so-called “new atheists” never did take on Putnam. Shows how lily-livered they really are, picking on the usual easy targets. Ditto for his critique of scientism. Putnam’s Mind, Language and Reality. Philosophical Papers, vol. 2. remains one of my favorite books. The Guardian obit. Martha Nussbaum on Putnam. EpistemologyethicsfunctionalismHilary PutnamJewish PhilosophymetaphysicsPhilosophy of Languagephilosophy…

A Mistrustful Animal: An Interview with Bernard Williams

THE HARVARD REVIEW OF PHILOSOPHY vol.XII no.1 I particularly learned from his criticism of dividing philosophy into what he called ‘isms’ and schools of philosophy. He believed there were many philosophical questions and ways of arguing about them, but that attaching labels like ‘physicalism’ or ‘idealism’ to any particular way of answering philosophical questions was…

Living on Paper: Letters from Iris Murdoch 1934-1995

Just released: here’s The Guardian and Standpoint reviews, the latter mentioning Oakeshott. A.N. Wilson in The Spectator is far more critical. I have left Michael Oakeshott till last because his relationship with Iris was perhaps the most improbable of them all. A political philosopher of real stature, who had a short affair and a long friendship with…