Category Archives: Philosophy

Can studying philosophy make you a better person?

One of the many people who is considerably smarter and more productive than I am is Eric Schwitzgebel, whose writes the blog, The Splintered Mind.  One of Eric’s many research interests is the question of whether there is any empirical … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy | 1 Comment

What Can You Do with a Philosophy Major?

I’m on the mailing list for the Vassar Venture Capitalists Club.  (Long story.)  Anyway, their “Entrepreneur of the Month” is a 2006 graduate who started her own business:  “Dapper Dog Training.”  Did she major in economics?  No.  She majored in … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy | Leave a comment

Advice to student contemplating a doctorate in Chinese philosophy

An undergraduate recently emailed me, asking for advice about getting a doctorate in Chinese philosophy.  The student explained that he was particularly interested in the comparative study of epistemology and the philosophy of language from an analytic perspective.  In addition … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Philosophy | Leave a comment

Northeast Conference on Chinese Thought

Announcing the Northeast Conference on Chinese Thought, to be held at Wesleyan University on Friday and Saturday, November 8-9, 2013.
The goals of the Northeast Conference on Chinese Thought (NECCT) are twofold:

To provide a regional forum for everyone from graduate students … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Sinology | Leave a comment

Ethical Relativism and Realism

“What makes a man go neutral?  Lust for gold?  Power?  Or were you just born with a heart full of neutrality?” — “Captain Zapp Brannigan,” Futurama
There is a considerable body of philosophical argumentation pro and con ethical relativism.  However, I … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy | Leave a comment

Does Science Advance?

Does science progress in a cumulative way?  In other words, do later scientific theories build upon earlier ones by keeping older established truths about the world, and adding us more truths?  The standard answer, familiar from Whiggish history and brief … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy | Leave a comment

Nisbett’s The Geography of Thought

Several people have recommended to me Richard Nisbitt’s The Geography of Thought:  How Asians and Westerners Think Differently…and Why.   The title is already cringe-inducing. “Asia” is the same as the “Orient,” and as Edward Said demonstrated in his seminal … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy | Leave a comment

Methodological Solipsism

Descartes makes methodological solipsism almost compulsive for later philosophers. (How is that for opening with a grand pronouncement?)
By “methodological solipsism” I mean an approach to philosophy that claims we have privileged access to our own mental states, we have such … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy | Leave a comment

The Value of Philosophy

A student pointed out to me Gary Gutting’s recent article for the NY Times philosophy column, “The Stone.”  Previous installments of “The Stone” have come under fire for what some professional philosophers regard as inaccurate claims and sloppy reasoning.  Gutting’s … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy | Leave a comment

Student Question on Meta-Philosophy

Every time I teach intro to philosophy (we call it Problems of Philosophy, a title I’m not especially fond of, but that’s best saved for another post), I have at least one student who is some combination of a radical … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Teaching | Leave a comment