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    Pei-chien
    Let your actions be like clouds going by; the clouds going by are mindless. Let your stillness be as the valley spirit; the valley spirit is undying. When action accompanies stillness and stillness combines with action, then the duality of action and stillness no longer arises.
    Pei-chien
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    Michel Foucault's work explores a wide range of topics; it includes histories of both punishment and sex. He also wrote more abstractly about philosophical topics. One theme to which he kept returning, whatever the topic, was the nature of our knowledge. Susan James discusses this thread in his work in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast.

    How do you choose which course of action is best? It seems reasonable that if A is better than B, and B is better than C, A must be better than C. But is it? Larry Temkin challenges this idea, known as the axiom of transitivity.

    How should we live? is a basic philosophical question. The Stoics had some answers. But are they relevant today? William B. Irvine thinks so. Listen to his conversation with Nigel Warburton on this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast.

    What is power? Steven Lukes argues for a three-dimensional account of this concept in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast.

    The historian and writer Theodore Zeldin gives his personal take on the relation betwen philosophy and history in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast. 

    What part do emotions play in our appreciation of art? Jesse Prinz explores the sense of wonder at artworks in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast.

    What is a conspiracy? Why do conspiracies - real or imagined -  matter to philsophy? Cassim Quaassam explores these questions in conversation with Nigel Warburton

    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.

    An amusing idea from philosopher Erik Banks (Wright State).

    Authors and/or publishers kindly sent me these new books in July: Peirce by Albert Atkin (Routledge, 2016) [this is part of my Routledge Philosophers series] The Trolley Problem Mysteries by F.M. Kamm (Oxford University Press, 2015) (with replies by Judith...

    ...and the Internet swung into action.

    This is funny.

    According to this piece, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, and Bangladesh are high on the list, though not, as far as I can tell, in philosophy, no doubt due to language barriers and the Anglo-centric parochialism of the field in the Anglophone...

    Another interestingly provocative e-mail from longtime reader S. Wallerstein, regarding the identity politics "left": They've been very successful at imposing their hegemony on the left, especially in the U.S., so that they are the only "queer" people, so that they...

    After the Kipnis fiasco several weeks ago, one in which, unfortunately, philosophers played a starring role, a law colleague asked me "Are all philosophers nuts?" Well, not all, but certainly plenty of them lack professional judgment, as we have had...

    Philosophy benefits children’s education • Dalai Lama: “Ethics more important than religion” • Morality for chimpanzees and robots — News reports by Anja Steinbauer

    Amy Cools reminds us why science needs philosophy.

    Ching-Hung Woo looks at the many facets of Albert Einstein’s approach to ethics.

    Brian King seeks the possible evolution of morality through computer simulations.

    Jason Xenopoulos asks if accelerating technological change and the widening gap between rich and poor mean an imminent evolutionary divergence for humanity.

    Marc Champagne argues that the supposedly ’professional’ style of the analytic tradition does not ensure professionalism, nor indeed, clear-mindedness.

    David Ward probes the application of philosophy to Australian bushfire.

    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.

    Darlei Dall’Agnol Professor of Ethics, Federal University of Santa Catarina. Many nations are already preparing for the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference to be held in Paris in December. One of the main goals of the Conference is to reach an agreement on climate change, especially on greenhouse gas emissions in order to limit the […]

    by Hannah Maslen and Rebecca Roache In the past five years or so, a new phenomenon has emerged on the internet. ASMR videos allow you to spend around 40 minutes watching someone carefully unpack and repack a box, or listen to a detailed demonstration of ten different notebooks, or observe the careful folding of several […]

    The UK government has announced plans to review the possibility of stripping drug addicts, alcoholics and obese individuals of benefits if they refuse treatment for their conditions. In support of the review, a consultation paper claims that the review is intended to “. . . consider how best to support those suffering from long-term yet […]

    1. The fact that you disagree with the author’s conclusion is not a reason for advising against publication. Quite the contrary, in fact. You have been selected as a peer reviewer because of your eminence, which means (let’s face it), your conservatism. Accordingly if you think the conclusion is wrong, it is far more likely […]

    By Kei Hiruta ‘STOP ORIENTALISM’. So says the banner of the protest group, ‘Stand Against Yellow Face’ (SAYF), campaigning against a weekly event at the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) in Boston. The event, called ‘Kimono Wednesdays’, originally encouraged museum visitors to ‘interact’ with Claude Monet’s ‘La Japonaise’ by trying on a replica of the kimono […]

    Many people are suspicious about being manipulated in their emotions, thoughts or behaviour by external influences, may those be drugs or advertising. However, it seems that – unbeknown to most of us – within our own bodies exist a considerable number of foreign entities. These entities can change our psychology to a surprisingly large degree. […]

    Driverless or autonomous cars will almost certainly be commonplace quite soon. Imagine you are sitting in such a car, approaching a tunnel on a single-lane mountain road. A child wanders into the middle of the road, blocking the entrance to the tunnel. How should such cars be programmed to react? Two options are: to keep […]

    By Dominic Wilkinson @Neonatalethics   At the bedside of a critically ill infant at 5am this morning I was tempted to tweet the latest meme, adding my voice to a chorus of NHS clinicians over the weekend. Last week, in a speech to the King’s fund, Health Minister Jeremy Hunt launched a drive towards 7 […]

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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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