Archive for August, 2018

“Another typical week”-Check out panel 3, freshman CoPhi philosophers https://t.co/L8JLPnIDIl

August 31, 2018

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If philosophy is originally just how each of us absorbs and reflects the “total push and pressure of the cosmos,” as William James said, then all philosophy is cosmic. Carl Sagan’s is especially so. https://t.co/5i5kMYSCjh

August 31, 2018

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I’ve just posted on my Blog about: Cosmic Philosophy https://t.co/84AYdcEUaw

August 31, 2018

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Cosmic Philosophy

August 31, 2018

Two books encountered at an impressionable age inspired me to pursue my philosophical vocation: The Story of Philosophy by Will & Ariel Durant, later thoroughly dissed by my urbane and mysterious Teutonic tutor at Mizzou as hopelessly lowbrow and superficial… LISTEN: CosmicPhi (recorded 8.31.18 @dawn)

and The Cosmic Connection by Carl Sagan.
Sagan’s critics said similar things about him, and it’s true that he was a committed popularizer. He was, though, anything but lowbrow and superficial. He was a serious scholar and scientist who was passionately invested in William James’s “really vital question for us all-what is this world going to be, what is life eventually to make of itself?” His was a cosmic philosophy not only in the astrophysical sense but in the Jamesian sense in which all philosophy is cosmic: not technical, barely articulate, just the way in which each of us assimilates and expresses what it’s uniquely like to feel “the total push and pressure of the cosmos.”
We’ll discuss it Tuesday in CoPhi.
(continues)

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Russell’s Value of Philosophy still holds its value https://t.co/nXPFAQNP9l

August 30, 2018

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I’ve just posted on my Blog about: The value of philosophy https://t.co/2iFnkA0GDY

August 30, 2018

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The value of philosophy

August 30, 2018

Bertrand Russell’s reflections on the value of philosophy still hold their value, as we’ll note in CoPhi today. Here are some complementary thoughts from his History of Western Philosophy, also still standing strong all these years on. LISTEN… (recorded @dawn, 8.30.18)

“Philosophy” is a word which has been used in many ways, some wider, some narrower. I propose to use it in a very wide sense, which I will now try to explain. Philosophy, as I shall understand the word, is something inter- mediate between theology and science. Like theology, it consists of speculations on matters as to which definite knowledge has, so far, been unascertainable ; but like science, it appeals to human reason rather than to authority, whether that of tradition or that of revelation. All definite knowledge so I should contend belongs to science ; all dogma as to what surpasses definite know- ledge belongs to theology. But between theology and science there is a No Man’s Land, exposed to attack from both sides; this No Man’s Land is philosophy. Almost all the questions of most interest to speculative minds are such as science cannot answer, and the confident answers of theologians no longer seem so con- vincing as they did in former centuries. Is the world divided into mind and matter, and, if so, what is mind and what is matter? Is mind subject to matter, or is it possessed of independent powers ? Has the universe any unity or purpose? Is it evolving towards some goal ? Are there really laws of nature, or do we believe in them only because of our innate love of order ? Is man what he seems to the astronomer, a tiny lump of impure carbon and water impotently crawling on a small and unimportant planet ? Or is he what he appears to Hamlet ? Is he perhaps both at once ? Is there a way of living that is noble and another that is base, or are all ways of living merely futile? If there is a way of living that is noble, in what does it consist, and how shall we achieve it? Must the good be eternal in order to deserve to be valuc’d, or is it worth seeking even if the universe is inexorably moving toward? death?

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I’ve just posted on my Blog about: What philosophy’s for, and introducing the Anthropocene https://t.co/QPwszD5Hiw

August 29, 2018

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What philosophy’s for, and introducing the Anthropocene

August 29, 2018

In CoPhi today, we explore our respective definitions of philosophy-I like James’s “unusually stubborn attempt to think clearly.” We solicit favorite philosophers (my current top 5: James, John Dewey, John Stuart Mill, David Hume, and Bertrand Russell), and try to summarize our personal philosophy of life. No one will be pithier than Sally James: “No!

 And, those who read Just Mercy over the summer or attended convocation will tell us what they thought of it. 

And, we’ll discuss William James’s Pragmatism lecture 1, the School of Life’s What’s Philosophy for?, and the opening of Kurt Andersen’s Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire, a 500-Year History.

(Recommended: LISTEN: What is Philosophy? and Who’s Your Favourite Philosopher? (PB Philosophy Bites). Also recommended, if you need help articulating your personal philosophy: Look on the This I Believewebsite for essays you like, and post links to them; and this; TIB II)

In Environmental Ethics today, it’s the first two chapters of Erle Ellis’s Anthropocene: A Very Short Inttroduction. Listen… and watch

And because I’ve been talking up the peripatetic way of philosophizing, we’ll do as much of this on the grounds of our lyceum as weather and will permit.

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Opening Day every semester is still special, after all these years. Fresh starts and new beginnings never get old. https://t.co/Fs1j2jVPDr

August 27, 2018

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