The Philosophy Program at A&M University - Corpus Christi offers the Minor (18 hrs.) and the Major (30 hrs.) in Philosophy. Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions about studying philosophy.

Emerson on Plato

Excerpted from "Plato; or the Philosopher", a charming essay on Plato and Socrates:

Socrates and Plato are the double star which the most powerful instruments will not entirely separate. Socrates again, in his traits and genius, is the best example of that synthesis which constitutes Plato's extraordinary power. Socrates, a man of humble stem, but honest enough; of the commonest history; of a personal homeliness so remarkable as to be a cause of wit in others:- the rather that his broad good nature and exquisite taste for a joke invited the sally, which was sure to be paid. The players personated him on the stage; the potters copied his ugly face on their stone jugs. He was a cool fellow, adding to his humor a perfect temper and a knowledge of his man, be he who he might whom he talked with, which laid the companion open to certain defeat in any debate,- and in debate he immoderately delighted. The young men are prodigiously fond of him and invite him to their feasts, whither he goes for conversation. He can drink, too; has the strongest head in Athens; and after leaving the whole party under the table, goes away as if nothing had happened, to begin new dialogues with somebody that is sober. In short, he was what our country-people call an old one.

Moral Choice Blindness

The journal Nature is reporting that a simple trick can make people not only endorse a moral position they themselves previously rejected, but argue for it as well without being any the wiser that they have changed positions. From the article,

The possibility of using the technique as a means of moral persuasion is “intriguing”, says Liane Young, a psychologist at Boston College in Massachusetts. “These findings suggest that if I'm fooled into thinking that I endorse a view, I'll do the work myself to come up with my own reasons [for endorsing it],” she says.

The Headdesk Chronicles: Augustinian Aftermath

Having read St. Jerome and St. Augustine in Philosophy of Love and Sex, we discover echoes of their efforts in "Nipplegate!": Facebook forced the New Yorker to remove a cartoon from their fb-feed because of, you guessed it, a blatant display of cartoon nipples. For a hilarious take on the story, see this issue of "Notes from the New Yorker's Cartoon Editor".

The Angry Roboticist: You're Still Doing it Wrong

Roboticist Katy Levinson gives a vodka-fueled talk at Defcon 20 on why robotics is hard and roboticists so often get it wrong. Although hardly a sentence passes sans f-bomb, her enthusiasm for four-bar linkages is not to be missed. Courtesy Boing Boing.

Thralls in the Machine

Gary Gutting (Notre Dame) has a thought-provoking piece in the Times Stone Series on work and leisure. From the essay,

But this raises the essential question: who decides what is of real value? The capitalist system’s own answer is consumers , free to buy whatever they want in an open market. I call this capitalism’s own answer because it is the one that keeps the system operating autonomously, a law unto itself. It especially appeals to owners, managers and others with a vested interest in the system.

But the answer is disingenuous. From our infancy the market itself has worked to make us consumers, primed to buy whatever it is selling regardless of its relevance to human flourishing. True freedom requires that we take part in the market as fully formed agents, with life goals determined not by advertising campaigns but by our own experience of and reflection on the various possibilities of human fulfillment. Such freedom in turn requires a liberating education, one centered not on indoctrination, social conditioning or technical training but on developing persons capable of informed and intelligent commitments to the values that guide their lives.

Ig Nobel Winner John Perry Finally Finishes Book on Procrastination

Individuals for Freethought (IF): First Meeting of the Semester on Monday

09/10/2012 7:00 pm
America/Chicago

Come one, come all!!!

What: IF's first meeting of the semester!!!

When: Monday September 10th at 7pm

Where: UC 324

Why: We will be hashing out plans for events and finalizing important dates, and you probably have an opinion about one or more of those things...so share it!!


Elizabeth Hinkle

913-961-3785

 

Announcing the Winner of the Internet Cat Film Festival

Courtesy Boing Boing, it is the irresistible Henri 2, Paw de Deux:

Blackburn Interview

The always top-notch 3:AM Magazine, "Whatever it is, We're Against it", just posted an interview with none other than Simon Blackburn. Of special note are his reading suggestions at the close of the interview.

The Damage Academics Do

An article in the Times Higher Education (UK) discusses recent books on the subversion of academia by industry and the response from honest scholars. From the article,

Doubt is the lifeblood of the academy. Historians and political scientists try never to take on trust any public statement that cannot be independently verified. Scientists look for every possible alternative factor and explanation before claiming that there is a causal link between A and B. Philosophers have even been known not to take their own existence for granted. An attitude of radical scepticism is essential for most serious research.

Yet there is also a point at which such scepticism becomes pathological and irresponsible. Whole industries have an interest in casting doubt on the overwhelming evidence that smoking damages health, that nuclear energy imposes substantial risks, that climate change is taking place and that the pre-credit crunch banking system was a house of cards. Academics who cultivate the art of spreading doubt - what one scholar calls "agnotology" - are often de facto protecting corporate profits and discouraging governments and individuals from taking action. They also give authority to views that would be taken with a large pinch of salt if put forward by journalists, lawyers or public relations firms.

One particularly soul-crushing tidbit in the article: Controlling for industry funding in meta-analyses.

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