al-Ghazālī’s Dream Argument

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

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

Plato’s Crito: When Should We Break the Law?

The Death of Socrates

Author: Spencer Case Categories: Historical Philosophy, Social and Political Philosophy, Ethics Word Count: 1,000 Plato’s Crito describes a conversation that takes place in 399 B.C.E. in an Athens prison, where Socrates awaits execution. Not long before, an assembly of more than 500 Athenian citizens convicted Socrates of corrupting the youth and impiety, essentially failing to … Continue reading Plato’s Crito: When Should We Break the Law?

Descartes’ “I think, therefore I am”

"The Matrix" film

Author: Charles Miceli Category: Historical Philosophy, Epistemology Word Count: 994 If you are reading this, then you are probably looking at a screen or a piece of paper. Think to yourself: “I have some paper in my hand,” “I am in front of a computer” or whatever fits. Is your belief here certain? Is there … Continue reading Descartes’ “I think, therefore I am”

Descartes’ Meditations 4-6

Author: Marc Bobro Categories: Historical Philosophy, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Mind and Language, Philosophy of Religion Word Count: 999 Editor’s Note: This essay is the second in a two-part series on Descartes’ Meditations. The first essay is here.  4. Meditation 4: The Source of Human Error Descartes argued in Meditation 3 that since God exists, … Continue reading Descartes’ Meditations 4-6

Descartes’ Meditations 1-3

Author: Marc Bobro Categories: Historical Philosophy, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Mind and Language, Philosophy of Religion Word Count: 998 Editor’s Note: This essay is the first in a two-part series on Descartes’ Meditations. The second essay is here. In an era of great debate over the fundamental facts of nature—e.g., about the Earth’s place in … Continue reading Descartes’ Meditations 1-3

Mary Astell’s “A Serious Proposal to the Ladies” (1694)

Author:  Simone Webb Category: Historical Philosophy, Philosophy of Sex and Gender, Social and Political Philosophy, Ethics, Philosophy of Education Word Count:  978 Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) is established in the popular imagination as the “first feminist,” but another philosopher provided a systematic analysis of women’s subjugated condition and a call for female education nearly a century before … Continue reading Mary Astell’s “A Serious Proposal to the Ladies” (1694)

Dharma in Abhidharma Buddhism

Author:  Nicholaos Jones Category: Historical Philosophy, Metaphysics, Buddhist Philosophy Word Count: 991 Abhidharma is a scholastic tradition of Buddhism, arising in India during the 3rd century BCE, directed toward systematizing discourses written during the first few centuries of Buddhism. Those early discourses tend to analyze the objects of our experience – physical things and mental events … Continue reading Dharma in Abhidharma Buddhism