Reason is the Slave to the Passions: Hume on Reason vs. Desire

David Hume

Author: Daniel Weltman Category: Ethics, Historical Philosophy, Logic and Reasoning, Epistemology, or Theory of Knowledge Word Count: 998   Imagine you’re offered a delicious piece of cake. You know it’s very unhealthy. Your stomach tells you to eat it, but your brain tells you to refuse. Maybe you listen to your brain and you ignore both … Continue reading Reason is the Slave to the Passions: Hume on Reason vs. Desire

Cosmological Arguments for the Existence of God

Author: Thomas Metcalf Categories: Philosophy of Religion, Metaphysics, Historical Philosophy, Islamic Philosophy Word count: 1000 Why is there something rather than nothing? Intuitively, it could have been that nothing existed at all. Yet you and I are here, plus a whole universe of other stuff. We had parents, and our parents had parents, who had … Continue reading Cosmological Arguments for the Existence of God

Critical Thinking: What is it to be a Critical Thinker?

Know the Facts: A WPA (Works Progress Administration, part of the New Deal) poster, imploring the public to develop critical thinking skills. Circa late 1930-early 1940s.

Author: Carolina Flores Categories: Logic and Reasoning, Philosophy of Education, Epistemology, or Theory of Knowledge Word count: 997 We often urge others to think critically. What does that really mean? How can we think critically? This essay presents a general account of what it is to be a critical thinker and outlines both traditional and … Continue reading Critical Thinking: What is it to be a Critical Thinker?

Rousseau on Human Nature: “Amour de soi” and “Amour propre”

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)

Author: Corey McCabe Category: Historical Philosophy, Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy Word Count: 995 Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778) was a Swiss philosopher who described the state of nature—what life was like before governments were instituted—as the state “most suitable to mankind.”[1] He broke sharply with his contemporaries by arguing that people were good prior to the … Continue reading Rousseau on Human Nature: “Amour de soi” and “Amour propre”

Videogames and Philosophy

Videogame controllers and screen.

Author: Alex Fisher Category: Ethics, Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art, Metaphysics Word Count: 999 Videogames allow people to live out their sporting dreams, explore other worlds, complete puzzles for hours on end, and more. But videogames aren’t just fun: they raise serious philosophical and ethical issues, some of which are reviewed here. 1. The Ethics … Continue reading Videogames and Philosophy

Longtermism: How Much Should We Care About the Far Future?

The Milky Way galaxy.

Author: Dylan Balfour Category: Ethics Word count: 1000 Imagine you’ve been given a million dollars to donate to charitable causes of your choice. How would you spend the money? Perhaps you’d donate it to a cause close to your heart, like a local community project. Or perhaps you’d try to help the global poor by … Continue reading Longtermism: How Much Should We Care About the Far Future?

“Nasty, Brutish, and Short”: Thomas Hobbes on Life in the State of Nature

Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679).

Author: Daniel Weltman Category: Historical Philosophy, Social and Political Philosophy Word Count: 995 What would life be like without any government? Would it be a utopia, or would it be miserable? The English philosopher Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) famously leaned in the latter direction. He argued in his book Leviathan[1] that, without government, life would be … Continue reading “Nasty, Brutish, and Short”: Thomas Hobbes on Life in the State of Nature

Happiness: What is it to be Happy?

"Mr. Happy" on the beach.

Author: Kiki Berk Category: Ethics, Phenomenology and Existentialism Words: 992    Do you want to be happy? If you’re like most people, then yes, you do. But what is happiness? What does it mean to be “happy”?[1] This essay discusses four major philosophical theories of happiness.[2] 1. Hedonism According to hedonism, happiness is simply the … Continue reading Happiness: What is it to be Happy?

Are We Animals? Animalism and Personal Identity

Woman and a dog in a car.

Author: Kristin Seemuth Whaley Category: Metaphysics, Philosophy of Religion Word Count: 995 What are we? Philosophers often look for answers that capture what we are fundamentally—what makes us who we are. Maybe we’re non-physical souls or minds.[1] Maybe we’re our thoughts and our memories. Or, perhaps we’re physical things like bodies or brains. According to a … Continue reading Are We Animals? Animalism and Personal Identity

Ethics and Absolute Poverty: Peter Singer and Effective Altruism

Peter Singer on absolute poverty and effective altruism.

Author: Brandon Boesch Category: Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy Word Count: 998 Imagine you are walking by a shallow pond and see a drowning toddler. Do you have a moral obligation to save the child, even if it means ruining your clothes? It seems so. Now consider that there are millions of people suffering and … Continue reading Ethics and Absolute Poverty: Peter Singer and Effective Altruism