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Nagel reviews the posthumous Williams

Reprinted here in case paywall is reinstated. The View from Here and Now Thomas Nagel The Sense of the Past: Essays in the History of Philosophy by Bernard Williams, edited by Myles Burnyeat Princeton, 393 pp, £26.95, March 2006, ISBN 0 691 12477 9 In the Beginning Was the Deed: Realism and Moralism in Political…

Constructivism and Relativism in Oakeshott

This chapter highlights a troubling tension within the philosophy of Michael Oakeshott. The relativistic stance that informs his radical constructivism gives license to socio-political conclusions we know Oakeshott could not possibly accept. constructivismLiberal educationLiberalismMichael OakeshottPolitical philosophyScientismsocial epistemologysociology of knowledgesociology of scientific knowledge

Debunking “The mathematics of happiness”

Alan Sokal weighs in again thanks to Nick Brown who was troubled by the conclusion that  The mysteries of love, happiness, fulfilment, success, disappointment, heartache, failure, experience, random luck, environment, culture, gender, genes, and all the other myriad ingredients that make up a human life could be reduced to the figure of 2.9013. It’s quite astonishing…

Dennett on Wieseltier vs. Pinker

This from Edge Postmodernism, the school of “thought” that proclaimed “There are no truths, only interpretations” has largely played itself out in absurdity, but it has left behind a generation of academics in the humanities disabled by their distrust of the very idea of truth and their disrespect for evidence, settling for “conversations” in which…

The Trouble with Scientism: Why history and the humanities are also a form of knowledge.

Philip Kitcher, prominent philosopher of science in The New Republic: The problem with scientism—which is of course not the same thing as science—is owed to a number of sources, and they deserve critical scrutiny. The enthusiasm for natural scientific imperialism rests on five observations. First, there is the sense that the humanities and social sciences…