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    Nagarjuna, Precious Garland
    "I am not, I will not be. I have not, I will not have." That frightens all the childish And extinguishes fear in the wise.
    Nagarjuna, Precious Garland
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    Are all truths relative? That's an attractive idea for many people. Tim Williamson, Wykeham Professor of Logic at Oxford University discusses why and attempts to immunise us against sloppy thinking in this area.

    How does your view of the self affect your attitude to your own death? Shaun Nichols discusses this question in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast.

    Warning: this episode on the philosophy of swearing includes swearing. Rebecca Roache discusses swearing and whether there are good arguments for refraining from it. 

    We're all irrational some of the time, probably more of the time than we are ready to acknowledge.  Lisa Bortolotti discusses the nature of irrationality with Nigel Warburton in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast. 

    There are many ways to deceive with words, some of which don't involve lying. In this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast Jonathan Webber considers whether it matters or not if you lie. 

    Albert Camus described suicide as the 'one really serious philosophical problem'. In this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast Simon Critchley discusses suicide with Nigel Warburton.

    Many philosophers argue in favour of the welfare of animals because of their capacity for feeling pain. Harvard philosopher Christine Korsgaard is unusual in using Kantian arguments to defend the status of animals as ends in themselves. She discusses her approach with Nigel Warburton in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast.

    What are the aims of education? Meira Levinson discusses this important question with Nigel Warburton in this episode of the Philosoph Bites podcast.

    ...now faces censure. (Philosopher Kirk Sanders is quoted in the IHE article towards the end; kudos to him for his forthright remarks.)

    ...has a new website and is newly active as well. (Thanks to Catarina Dutilh Novaes, who is also a member of the Steering Committee, for the pointer.)

    Graphic designer!

    Some nice examples. Since so many physicists are clearly tone-deaf philosophically, I wonder whether how many will be persuaded? (Thanks to Michael Swanson for the pointer.)

    As last week's comment threads showed, the best and most interesting discussions took place not on the "open thread" but on those with particular, focused topics. So going forward, that's probably what I'll do, though I'll try to do a...

    A student writes: I will be starting my MA (terminal) programme in Philosophy in the Fall of this year, in Europe. I don't have a background in the subject and want to spend the few months before the session begins,...

    I've no idea whether any of this is true, but it's still rather amusing.

    by Rick Lewis

    Irving Singer dies • Heidegger notebooks shock • Old skull prompts philosophical questions — News reports by Sue Roberts and Anja Steinbauer

    Robin Rymarczuk is Michel Foucault’s ‘friend’.

    Peter Benson tells us how critiques of both Marx and capitalist society have evolved in France, with special reference to Jean Baudrillard and Bernard Stiegler.

    Danelle Gallo compares the ecstacies of Georges Bataille and Yves Klein.

    Yonathan Listik puts in a linguistic performance to communicate Derrida’s linguistic performance.

    James Alexander finds Alain Badiou guilty of horrors but sometimes worth reading.

    Alejandra Mancilla uses an example from Robert Nozick to question the claims to ownership made by breeders of genetically modified organisms.

    Grant Bartley from Philosophy Now (and author of The Metarevolution) is joined by members of London philosophy groups Philosophy For All and the Philosophical Society of England to debate an argument advanced by PFA member Kieran Quill that according to quantum mechanics the universe is mental in nature. Join us to hear the fallout. First broadcast on 29 June 2014 on Resonance FM.

    Ludwig Wittgenstein worked out how language has meaning, twice. He also thought that some of the most important things we can know we can’t express at all. Grant Bartley from Philosophy Now finds out the meaning and limits of language from guest Daniel Hutto from the University of Wollongong, NSW. First broadcast on 22 June 2014 on Resonance FM.

    Might Nietzsche be right, claiming that lying is “a condition of life?” – Or Kant, arguing that lying means annihilating human dignity? Is it ever acceptable for governments to lie to the public or for individuals to lie to the government? Anja Steinbauer is joined by politician and philosopher Shahrar Ali and moral philosopher Piers Benn to discuss whether lying can be a good thing. First broadcast on 15 June 2014 on Resonance FM.

    What is meta-ethics? How does meta-ethics differ from ethics, and what does it tell us about ethics? Why is it important for how we should live our lives? Join Grant Bartley from Philosophy Now and his guests Edward Harcourt from Keble College, Oxford, and Richard Rowland from the University of Warwick, to find the answers to these questions and more. First broadcast on 8 June 2014 on Resonance FM.

    Join Grant Bartley from Philosophy Now and guests John Callanan from King’s College, London, and Andrew Ward from the University of York to talk about the most important idea you’ve never heard of, and some other persuasive arguments from revolutionary but unfortunately unknown-to-the-world philosopher Immanuel Kant. First broadcast on 1 June 2014 on Resonance FM.

    Join Grant Bartley from Philosophy Now and guests Philip Goff from the University of Liverpool and Tom McClelland from the University of Manchester as they try to work out how all that electricity between your nerve cells relates to and produces all your experiences and thoughts. First broadcast on 25 May 2014 on Resonance FM.

    What has Buddhism to offer the 21st Century? Join Anja Steinbauer and her guests, Martin Muchall and Rick Lewis, for a critical discussion of ideas in and about Buddhism. First broadcast on 18 May 2014 on Resonance FM.

    Isaiah Berlin said of David Hume, “No man has influenced the history of philosophy to a deeper or more disturbing degree.” Join Grant Bartley from Philosophy Now plus guests Jane O’Grady, Peter Kail and James Arnold to find out why. First broadcast on 11 May 2014 on Resonance FM.

    Could the fact that someone is more scroogelike – less willing to sacrifice for the sake of doing good – entail that morality is less demanding for her?  The answer to this question has important implications for a host of issues in practical ethics, including issues surrounding adoption, procreation, charity, consumer choices, and self-defense. If […]

    The first study in which the DNA of human embryos was intentionally modified has been published in the journal Protein & Cell, released on Saturday. This research is significant because it may be an important step toward a world where we are free from genetic disease. However allegations that Nature and Science refused to publish […]

    Chris Gyngell and Julian Savulescu Human genetic modification has officially progressed from science fiction to science.  In a world first, scientists have used the gene editing technique CRISPR to modify human embryos. While the study itself marks an important milestone, the reason it is truly extraordinary is the scientific community’s reaction to it. In refusing […]

    Oskar Groening – the so-called ‘Bookkeeper of Auschwitz’ who counted money taken from prisoners – is now on trial in Lueneberg. Some philosophers suggest that our moral assessment of people like Groening should take into account his ‘bad luck’ in having the opportunities he was offered to join the SS in 1942, and so on. […]

    By Emilian Mihailov Cross posted on the CCEA blog   Why should animals have the same moral standing as humans? Ask yourself on what basis human beings claim to have moral standing.  I think the best way to understand this is in terms of the relation between something’s being good-for-someone and something’s being just plain […]

    By Andrew Vierra, Georgia State University and Brian D Earp, University of Oxford This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. Introduction Following the death of 17-year-old Leelah Alcorn, a transgender teen who committed suicide after forced “conversion therapy,” President Barack Obama called for a nationwide ban on psychotherapy aimed at changing sexual orientation […]

    Darlei Dall’Agnol  The British Parliament has, recently, passed Act 1990 making possible what is, misleadingly, called “three parents babies,” which will become law in October 2015. Thus, the UK is the first country to allow the transfer of genetic material from an embryo or an egg that has defects in the mitochondrial DNA to generate […]

    Written By Professor Jeff McMahan   On this day in the US, around thirty people will be killed with a gun, not including suicides.  Many more will be wounded.  I can safely predict this number because that is the average number of homicides committed with a gun in the US each day.  Such killings have […]

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    • Socrates and Glaucon on the Home Shopping Network

      by , McSweeneys (19 May 2010)

      Rebekah Frumkin

      Rebekah Frumkin

      SOCRATES: Good evening, Glaucon. You look troubled.

      GLAUCON: I am, Socrates.

      SOCRATES: What worries you so?

      GLAUCON: Look at my kitchen floor. That brown scum is the stain of fowl livers. I spilled them earlier today and cleaned them up, but the stains remain.

      SOCRATES: I see.

      GLAUCON: The stains are attracting countless pests with their foul odor and bacteria. There is no way to clean them up.

      SOCRATES: Are you sure of that?

      GLAUCON: Yes. To do so, I would need some convenient means of cleaning and sterilization.

      SOCRATES: And you are convinced such a means does not exist?

      GLAUCON: Socrates, I have lived in this city for the majority of my life and, knowing the things I know, I do not think it is possible for something to clean and sterilize at the same time.

      SOCRATES: Tell me, Glaucon, what does “clean” mean?

      GLAUCON: Why, it means the opposite of dirty, Socrates.

      SOCRATES: Surely it must mean something more than that.

      GLAUCON: I don’t understand, Socrates.

      SOCRATES: If “clean” means the opposite of “dirty,” then to clean is to rid a space of dirt or plague, yes?

      GLAUCON: Yes, Socrates.

      SOCRATES: So cleanliness is the complete obliteration of dirt, bacteria and unsightly stains. Am I right?

      GLAUCON: Yes, Socrates.

      SOCRATES: So to effectively clean, one must also sterilize, as a sterile surface is one that is also not dirty?

      GLAUCON: Yes, Socrates.

      SOCRATES: But an ordinary mop will not do this?

      GLAUCON: No, Socrates. Look what a hassle it is for me to use! And none of the stains are coming off!

      SOCRATES: Yes. It is quite impossible to get one’s kitchen satisfactorily clean with an ordinary mop. But one could add Dirt-Fighting Technology™ to an ordinary mop, could he not?

      GLAUCON: It depends on what sort of technology it is.

      SOCRATES: It would consist of the elongation of the mop’s bristles and an internal motor that causes the mop’s head to swivel conveniently with the flip of a switch.

      GLAUCON: Then yes, I agree that one could add such technology to an ordinary mop. But would it still be an ordinary mop, Socrates?

      SOCRATES: Very astute, Glaucon. It would not. For convenience’s sake, let’s call it the EZ-Klean Mop™. Now answer me this: would the EZ-Klean Mop ™, given that it has the Dirt-Fighting Technology™ I’ve just described, be able to more effectively rid spaces of dirt or plague?

      GLAUCON: Yes.

      SOCRATES: So you agree that it can clean better than an ordinary mop?

      GLAUCON: I believe so.

      SOCRATES: You’re not fully convinced?

      GLAUCON: I see that it can clean, but how will I sterilize my kitchen floor with it, Socrates? I need to get these stains out.

      SOCRATES: I will answer your question with a question, Glaucon. What do you suppose the good men at Monsanto have been doing for the past fifteen years?

      GLAUCON: I don’t know, Socrates.

      SOCRATES: They’ve been developing a Dirt-Fighting Formula™ that is stronger than any soap. This formula is safe to use in the home, and it can sterilize any surface. Do you suppose such a formula could increase the cleaning power of the EZ-Klean Mop™?

      GLAUCON: Yes, Socrates.

      SOCRATES: And you’ve already admitted that, with its longer bristles and swiveling head, the EZ-Klean Mop™ can clean far better than an ordinary mop, have you not?

      GLAUCON: I have.

      SOCRATES: And I’ve just said that the Dirt-Fighting Formula™, which is sold with the EZ-Klean Mop™, can sterilize any surface, have I not?

      GLAUCON: You have.

      SOCRATES: So it seems to me that such a thing exists which can both sterilize and clean: The EZ-Klean Mop™.

      GLAUCON: Why, you’re right, Socrates.

      SOCRATES: Are you satisfied now, Glaucon?

      GLAUCON: Well… not just yet, Socrates. I’d like to own such a mop.

      SOCRATES: You can, Glaucon. How much are you willing to pay for the EZ-Klean Mop™?

      GLAUCON: Sixty dollars.

      SOCRATES: But the mop only costs $49.99, Glaucon. As this is less than you were originally willing to pay, I assume you would willingly pay this amount.

      GLAUCON: Yes, Socrates!

      SOCRATES: Call the number at the bottom of your screen, Glaucon, and the EZ-Klean Mop™ will be shipped directly to your home. And if you call now, you’ll receive a free can of SprayOn Hair™. Bald to fab in minutes!

      GLAUCON: Thank you, Socrates! This will make my life so much easier!

      SOCRATES: Do not thank me, Glaucon, for I have merely demonstrated to you what you already know about the EZ-Klean Mop™.

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