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?

“I think, therefore I am”: Descartes on the Foundations of Knowledge

"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 “I think, therefore I am”: Descartes on the Foundations of Knowledge

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)

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

Leibniz’s Principle of Sufficient Reason

Author: Marc Bobro Category: Historical Philosophy, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Religion Word count: 999 Imagine that your bicycle keeps dropping its chain. Annoyed, you take it to a bike shop to determine the cause in order to fix the problem. The mechanic informs you that the problem cannot be fixed because there is no reason why … Continue reading Leibniz’s Principle of Sufficient Reason

Philosophy and Its Contrast with Science: Comparing Philosophical and Scientific Understanding

Author: Thomas Metcalf Category: Metaphilosophy, Philosophy of Science Word Count: 994 Philosophy and science are both ways of learning about ourselves and the world. Here we’ll review the two main perspectives on the question of whether and to what degree science and philosophy overlap in their methods and their sources of knowledge. We’ll start with … Continue reading Philosophy and Its Contrast with Science: Comparing Philosophical and Scientific Understanding