Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Why wait until college?

Check out this article from the Washington Post describing how some students at one middle school spend their lunchtime at a meeting of their Philosophy Club. I had a prospective student from the other side of the U.S. tell me a similar club at his high school was very popular. Why don't we see more of this? Do you think it'd be helpful if students were exposed to philosophy earlier in their career?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The myth of the useless philosophy major

Check out this Business Week essay about why people who are seriously interested in a business career should major in philosophy.

Oh, and guess which job is ranked #11 out of 200 jobs in a recent "study"? Yes, the job is philosopher! Right below dental hygienist.

I owe both of these items to Leiter Reports.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Placing Mind in the Physical World

No loopholes!

Here's a link to the Wacome paper from the Minding Place workshop: "Goodbye to the Ghost of the Ghost in the Machine"

Thursday, March 06, 2008

How Should Christians Vote?

Christians of various political stripes aspire to use the “levers of power,” i.e., the state’s police powers, to enforce their conceptions of divine justice, i.e., how God wants people to behave.

With this is in view, I ask: what’s the difference between these two patterns of inference?

(1) God wants people to do x.

(2) The powers of the state can be used to force people to do x.

Therefore, God wants the powers of the state used to force people to do x.

(1) God wants people to do x.

(2*) Water boarding can be used to force people to do x.

Therefore, God wants water boarding used to force people to do x.

I advocate not for water boarding--the second bit of reasoning is ridiculous and horrifying--but against the unreflective assumption that God wants us to force people to do things, even by means of the relatively 'genteel' coercive mechanisms of the democratic state.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Do 'Creationists' Believe in Creation?

To believe in creation is to believe that this world, with its natural laws and boundary conditions, was created by God, that these laws and initial conditions, and what follows from them in the natural course of events, are what they are in virtue of God's creative intentions. To believe in creation is to believe that what happens in nature is God’s doing. It is to believe that God acts by means of what the theological tradition calls secondary causation. It is to believe, for example, that if the human species came into existence in the natural course of events, as a result of the operation of natural laws over billions of years, then this is how God created the human species. Many “creationists” assert, to the contrary, that if the human species came into existence in the natural course of events, as a result of the operation of natural laws over billions of years, then God did not create the human species. To accept what science tells us about human origins is, they say, to deny that God created us. They say that God can have created the human species only directly, miraculously, not by means of secondary causes. Apparently, they reject the idea that God acts in the world by way of secondary causes: either God did something directly or God did not do it at all. This is tantamount to believing that this world, even if it is an arena into which God on occasion miraculously intervenes, is not God’s creation.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

A plug for reading ancient philosophy from Will Smith!? (from an interview with Reader's Digest found here...)

"Smith: The things that have been most valuable to me I did not learn in school. Traditional education is based on facts and figures and passing tests -- not on a comprehension of the material and its application to your life. Jada and I homeschool our children, because the date of the Boston Tea Party does not matter.

RD: But there are some basics in education that need to be taught.

Smith: Of course there are. Reading, writing and arithmetic, because those are the languages of our country.

RD: When you say you homeschool, do you mean you actually teach them?

Smith: No, we have hired teachers who teach what we feel is important. For example, Plato's Republic -- kids need to know that. Why is that not taught in first grade?

RD: You think kids in elementary school should read Plato's Republic?

Smith: Yeah. You cannot be an American without reading it and Aristotle's Politics. That is what the forefathers of this country read, and they used them to create what I believe is the finest system of government that has ever existed."

Of course, Smith's also rather down on formal education, including college. But what do you think?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

War, Peace, and Pacifism

A Panel Discussion

on Wednesday, November 8, at 7:00 pm, in VPH 215

Brief Presentations by the Panelists
followed by Open Discussion

The panelists are:

Mike Andres
Mitch Kinsinger
Don Wacome
Dan Young
Mike Yoder

Click on name for the written presentation.