October 31st, 2014
If you want to get under the skin of a philosopher there are a few ways to irk us. There’s more that just the annoyance of telling someone you’re a philosopher and they respond, “Oh, I took a psychology course in university!” Yes, that type of misunderstanding warrants the philosopher’s incredulous stare… just as these will:
10. “So, how will you make money? What do you do?”
Okay, so I’m not an engineer. I’m not a research chemist for a Fortune 500 corporation and I may not be able to work most blue collar tasks… However, I, and other philosophers, think (but there’s more!). For the philosopher, the act of philosophizing is not a mere intellectual exercise that could exist solely in consciousness. To the contrary, philosophy is a procedure and inquiry to the self, a “discovery and self-liberation.” The intellectual and cognitive acts of philosophy are participatory in their inquiry of the world. This would be very similar to the understanding that Socrates is the philosopher. He not only taught and philosophized, but he understood that the very act of philosophizing was an act of engagement with the world and it was a way of life.
9. The university administration putting philosophy in the periphery
Philosophy departments aren’t typically the big money-makers at university–typically. However, the university system needs to understand that the philosophy faculty, the philosophy students, and the discipline of philosophy in general is an investment rather than a moneymaker. I’ve seen firsthand that a university can divest in the philosophy department. Academia, the provost, the administrators, et al, need to view philosophy as the foundation by which a university is built and sustained.
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February 5th, 2014
I’m often asked why I engage with theists. When I was invited to write this guest post, I thought a lot about what I wanted to say. I think what I want is to focus on an analysis of these words: ‘engage’, ‘theists’, and ‘why’ .
Beyond merely arguing with theists, talking to them, or talking *at* them, I engage with them. To me, this involves two things. The first is civility. Civility is, broadly, a dispositional attitude that permits disagreement while eschewing rudeness. The second is intellectual curiosity. This involves being genuinely interested in what one’s opponent has to say – not just for the purposes of defeating their arguments, but for the purposes of giving them a fair say, and perhaps learning something yourself.
Now on to ‘theists’. I do engage theists in discussion often, but the fact that they’re theists is incidental. The group of people I’m interested in engaging can be described as something like ‘individuals who are interested in academic issues (philosophy, science, politics, history, etc.); and who, like me, place importance on civility and curiosity’. Some members of that group just happen to be thiests, and they’re no different than any other member of that group – they’re capable the civility and curiosity described above.
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July 17th, 2013
This objection to intelligent design is within a theistic philosophy and theology. The theistic evolutionist would make the arguments for Darwinism just like the atheist would make his arguments for Darwinism; the only difference is that the former is a theist. Asa Gray (1810-1888) was a proponent of evolution who suggested that God guided evolution. The problem for the theistic evolutionist at this point is that if God guides evolution, it is design. Guidance implies purpose and involvement.
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