Moore’s Proof of an External World: Responding to External World Skepticism

Author: Chris Ranalli Categories: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Historical Philosophy Word count: 1000 External world skepticism is the view that we cannot know anything about the external world: we can’t know that we have hands, that there are other people, or, in general, know that anything external to our minds exists. Such skeptics commonly argue that we … Continue reading Moore’s Proof of an External World: Responding to External World Skepticism

African American Existentialism: DuBois, Locke, Thurman, and King

W.E.B. DuBois, Alain Locke, Howard Thurman, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Author: Anthony Sean Neal Category: African American Philosophy, Phenomenology and Existentialism, Historical Philosophy, Philosophy of Education, Philosophy of Race, Ethics Word Count: 996 Race today is often presented as a social construct. But social constructions, as Black people know all too well, can create real existential crises. Philosophers of the Black Experience[1] writing during the … Continue reading African American Existentialism: DuBois, Locke, Thurman, and King

Pascal’s Wager: A Pragmatic Argument for Belief in God

Pascal's wager image: person praying in front of a pile of poker chips.

Author: Liz Jackson Categories: Philosophy of Religion, Epistemology, or Theory of Knowledge, Historical Philosophy, Logic and Reasoning Word Count: 996 Should you believe there’s a God? To answer this, we might examine arguments for theism—like first-cause and design arguments—and arguments for atheism—like arguments from evil. These arguments offer evidence for and against God’s existence.[1] Pascal’s … Continue reading Pascal’s Wager: A Pragmatic Argument for Belief in God

Is Death Bad? Epicurus and Lucretius on the Fear of Death

By The Death Bed, 1896 by Edvard Munch

Author: Frederik Kaufman Categories: Ethics, Metaphysics, Historical Philosophy Word count: 987 Most people think dying would be bad for them and so they fear it. Is that fear rational? The ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus (341-270 BCE) says no. He argues that death— as the permanent extinction of consciousness—is not bad, so we should not fear … Continue reading Is Death Bad? Epicurus and Lucretius on the Fear of Death

John Stuart Mill on The Good Life: Higher-Quality Pleasures

John Stuart Mill

Author: Dale E. Miller Category: Ethics, Historical Philosophy Wordcount: 994 One important question in ethics is what makes people’s lives go well for them. Philosophers have proposed various theories about what things in and of themselves make people better off, i.e., theories of “well-being.” Many such theories say that pleasurable experiences are at least part of … Continue reading John Stuart Mill on The Good Life: Higher-Quality Pleasures

al-Ghazālī’s Dream Argument for Skepticism

al-Ghazālī'

Author: John Ramsey Categories: Epistemology, Historical Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion, Islamic Philosophy Word Count: 997 Right now you probably think that you are awake, that you are not asleep and dreaming. But do you know you aren’t dreaming? French philosopher René Descartes (1596–1650) famously asked a question like this at the beginning of his Meditations … Continue reading al-Ghazālī’s Dream Argument for Skepticism

Aristotle’s Defense of Slavery

Enslaved people working in a mine in Laurium, Greece.

Author: Dan Lowe Categories: Historical Philosophy, Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy, Philosophy of Race Word Count: 999 Aristotle (384-322 BC) is one of the greatest philosophers, and his moral and political philosophy remains especially influential. But he also believed that, for some people, being enslaved was just and even beneficial for them. How could Aristotle … Continue reading Aristotle’s Defense of Slavery

Mill’s Proof of the Principle of Utility

Cartoon drawing of John Stuart Mill

Author: Dale E. Miller Category: Ethics, Historical Philosophy Wordcount: 999 It may seem obvious that happiness is valuable, but is it the only thing valuable for its own sake, as opposed to being useful as a way to get something else? The 19th-century utilitarian philosopher John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) argues that it is.[1] His argument … Continue reading Mill’s Proof of the Principle of Utility

Wu-Wei: Acting without Desire

Cook Ding Cuts Up an Ox

Author: Henrique Schneider Categories: Chinese Philosophy, Historical Philosophy Word Count: 997 Wu-wei (無爲, wúwéi) is a central concept in early Chinese philosophy. However, different schools of thought conceptualized the notion differently, so it is difficult to briefly capture its multiple senses and uses. Our focus here will be on one sense of wu-wei in the … Continue reading Wu-Wei: Acting without Desire