Essays

As Z puts it, “As to the Edgy Essays, the difference I guess is that the essay content is somewhat longer than the diary posts, and slightly more, well, essay-like and less first-personal. The diary posts, I’m thinking, will become more individualized and first-personal as we go on…”

So there you go. These are the Edgy Essays:

Il Faut Cultiver Notre Jardin.

(February 20, 2017)

The history of [Candide’s] world-famous phrase, which serves as the book’s conclusion – il faut cultiver notre jardin – is … peculiar. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it didn’t come into written use in English until the early 1930s – in America through Oliver Wendell Holmes and in Britain thanks to Lytton Strachey. But … [continue reading]

An Object of Contempt: Rorty Against the Unpatriotic Academy, and the Coming Double Oppression of Loyalty Oaths.

(January 1, 2017)

1. Rorty, Professional Academic Philosophy, and the Ash-Heap of History Richard Rorty was a brilliant, critically devastating, historically wide-ranging and open-minded, highly prescient, exciting, and yet at the same time, oddly narrow-minded and misguided, philosopher. What I mean is that Rorty’s positive views—anti-metaphysical, naturalistic, pragmatic, conceptualist, relativist, post-modernist, bourgeois, liberal, and in a word, Enlightenment … [continue reading]

Real-World Spirituality and the Poverty of Professional Philosophy.

, and (December 26, 2016)

Christmas 2016 came and went. Did you think much about spirituality, traditional organized religion, and/or God? According to Wikipedia, Millennials (also known as the Millennial Generation or Generation Y, abbreviated to Gen Y) are the demographic cohort between Generation X and Generation Z. There are no precise dates for when the generation starts and ends. … [continue reading]

Institutional Amnesia: Modernity, Philosophical Professionalism, and the Practice of Forced Forgetfulness.

(December 12, 2016)

Actually, as Winston well knew, it was only four years since Oceania had been at war with Eastasia and in alliance with Eurasia. But that was merely a piece of furtive knowledge which he happened to possess because his memory was not satisfactorily under control. Officially the change of partners never happened. Oceania was at … [continue reading]

Professional Philosophy Inside the Ivory Bunker.

(December 5, 2016)

Recently I’ve been re-reading Hannah Arendt’s brilliant Eichmann in Jerusalem and Paulo Freire’s equally brilliant Pedagogy of the Oppressed, alongside some work I’ve been doing in political philosophy. One important idea is that Nazi-style banal evil can inhere in action-guiding institutional structures that we’re not reflectively aware of, guiding us towards terrible human oppression (Arendt’s … [continue reading]

Salovey’s Dilemma, Lilla’s Thesis, and Professional Philosophy.

(November 21, 2016)

In a recent (17 October 2016) op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal, “Yale Believes in Free Speech—and So Do I,” Yale’s President Peter Salovey argues this: The United States is struggling culturally and politically with questions of race and ethnicity, as it has through its entire history. It should be no surprise that these … [continue reading]

Philosophers of the World, Unite! Manifiesto de Cinco Puntos para Anarco-filósofos y otros Filósofos Reales: Un ensayo marginal de W, X, Y, Z.

and (November 3, 2016)

I. Introduction by Z What follows is a Spanish translation of APP’s Five-Point Manifesto. We most warmly invite translations of the Manifesto into other languages too. One of the many false assumptions of Anglo-American professional academic philosophy is that its own unique version of collective stupidity in philosophy, of destructive philosophical Gemeinschaft, is somehow inevitable. … [continue reading]

Utopia Now: Something for Philosophers to Do.

(October 27, 2016)

I. Introduction: Collective Altruism In a recent edgy essay, starting with some ideas borrowed from Rutger Bregman’s excellent book, Utopia for Realists, I briefly sketched a realistic utopian political proposal I called radical utopia for realists. That line of thinking was then super-charged by my recently working through two other equally excellent books on altruism … [continue reading]

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised On The APA Website.

(October 20, 2016)

  I.  Introduction The Punch-and-Judy show that is masquerading as the current US Presidential election pits a bigot, demagogue, and would-be tyrant (Trump-Punch), against a seasoned Establishment insider and card-carrying member of the military-industrial-university complex (Clinton-Judy). So, for a philosopher, there really isn’t much to think about: we temporarily put aside our worries about Clinton-Judy/insider-politics-as-usual, … [continue reading]