Purposeless Circulation of Looking for a Purpose

Imagine a group of people gathered for no purpose... which would sound unusual because when you have a look at human history it is apparent that every gathering had a common purpose among the participants. People who gathered in army units, family dinners, worship places came together for the purpose of specific common goals and... Continue Reading →

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Universalizing Grave Assumptions

Margaret Canovan believes that liberalism can be defended only by recognizing and drawing openly on its great myth. "For liberalism never has been an account of the world,” she writes, “but a project to be realized. The ‘nature’ of early liberalism, the ‘humanity’ of our own day, may be talked about as if they already... Continue Reading →

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The Modern Ego

One bizarre property of the modern ego is the reality that it deceives itself regarding the nature of knowledge. People think it is certain that the people of the past actually knew nothing. According to the opinion of such people, the people of the past simply complied with the wrong ideas of prophets and guides.... Continue Reading →

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Unmasking Hypocrisy

Hypocrisy is the vice through which corruption becomes manifest. And Hannah Arendt, In her book On Revolution, writes about her reflection of the topic by looking into the Latin word persona, which in its original meaning signified the mask ancient actors used to wear in a play. And the mask had two functions: "it had... Continue Reading →

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Sufism, a solution to tolerance?

Kudsi Erguner writes in his book Journeys of a Sufi Musician, about the relationship of a person to their own nature. And I believe that his piece of writing is a great example of how the Sufi perspective could cleanse fundamentalism not only in Islam but in other religious as well, as it guides one... Continue Reading →

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Identifying With Rootlessness?

Facing curses of modernity, it is probable that you have encountered people that have a binary way of labeling actions or events as something is either rational or irrational to do. And when you dig deeper into their criteria of what is irrational, you realize that the person thinks that he/she is emancipated by regarding... Continue Reading →

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Thinking Without Expression?

In Lectures On Kant's Political Philosophy by Hannah Arendt, it is written: "Thinking, as Kant agreed with Plato, is the silent dialogue of myself with myself , and that thinking is a “solitary business” (as Hegel once remarked) is one of the few things on which all thinkers were agreed. Also, it is of course... Continue Reading →

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Vagueness

1000-Word Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology

Author: Darren Hibbs
Categories: Philosophy of Language, Metaphysics 
Word Count: 1000

How tall do you have to be to be tall? How much hair do you have to lose to be bald? How old do you have to be to be old?

It is an unremarkable feature of language that words such as ‘tall’, ‘bald’, and ‘old’ are vague in the sense that it may be unclear whether someone is tall, bald, or old. (Many other words are vague also). However, vagueness plays a crucial role in a range of philosophical issues, including fundamental problems in logic, metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of language.[1]

A heap of sand.A heap of sand.

1. Vague terms

If Kathryn has no money, then she is clearly not rich. However, suppose $20 is deposited into her bank account every minute of every day for a year. Assuming she did not spend the…

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Objectivity, A Double-Edged Sword

Stephen Gaukroger writes in his book Objectivity: A Very Short Introduction: "If we perform an experiment or carry out an observation, we usually have a good idea of what kind of result we will get. Sometimes we get unexpected results, and, when we are testing a theory, these results may contradict what the theory predicts... Continue Reading →

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Modern Science Has No Soul?

Nathan Sivin, who studies history and technology in China, writes: "Ernst Geller has pointed out a particular way in which the European Scientific Revolution is more than a leap to a new form of knowing. It is natural to assume that in science the crucial test has always been "is it true?" But earlier that... Continue Reading →

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Happiness, The Ultimate End?

Happiness is acquired by virtue, and hence by our own actions, not by fortune. In Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle regards the highest form of human good as eudaimonia, which would be roughly translated as happiness in English. He further argues that in order to achieve such happiness, one should act with appropriate virtues over the course... Continue Reading →

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Pure Tyranny?

According to Aristotle, there are three species of political system, and an equal number of deviations, which are a sort of corruption of them. The first political system is kingship. And Aristotle claims that deviation from kingship is tyranny. Even though both are monarchies, kingship and tyranny could be considered as two ends of a... Continue Reading →

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Man is not a ‘herd animal’ but a ‘horde animal’

W. Brown writes in Regulating Aversion: Tolerance in the Age of Identity and Empire: Man is not a “herd animal” but a “horde animal,” Freud writes at the conclusion of his lengthy critical discussion of other theorists of group psychology. A herd animal has an instinctual affinity for closeness, primary gregariousness, while the horde animal... Continue Reading →

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Who Should Rule? The Strife Between Plato and Democracy

The ongoing debate whether a state of nature, (a wild primitive state untouched by civilization, a definition by Wordink) has ever coincided with the timeline of the human history may demonstrate the immortality of the concept of governments, since the non-existence of state of nature in human history would mean that we always established authorities... Continue Reading →

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The Superiority of the Private Life

I would like to share this thought-provoking piece of Allan Bloom's interpretive essay of Plato's Republic. And reflect on how it could be understood when compared to the modern understanding of politics or ideal societies in which people try to wrap themselves in the boundaries drawn by ideologies but not one's own conscious mind. "The... Continue Reading →

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This is not yet a scientific age…

Delighted to have been introduced to this fascinating piece of writing by Richard Feynman (The Value of Science). What a beautiful mind... Makes one really wonder if so-called the "objectivity" of science indeed reduces the dimensions we can see the nature wrapped in and acts as a curtain between the most majestic masterpiece and the... Continue Reading →

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Living Without Thinking?

Some interesting words that I encountered recently: "Some live without thinking; some only think but cannot put their thoughts into practice... Those who live without thinking are the objects of the philosophy of others. Such persons always run from pattern to pattern, ceaselessly changing molds and forms, hectically struggling their whole life through, in deviations... Continue Reading →

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Our Immense World

A great scholar explains how almost all the ideologies and the economic systems fail by focusing on inanimate factors, instead of virtues and the human being itself. He also claims that the only way to progress as humankind is to seek change in human behavior and to promote our moral duties on each other. His... Continue Reading →

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After Virtue / Alasdair MacIntyre

Consider the example of a highly intelligent seven-year-old child whom I wish to teach to play chess, although the child has no particular desire to learn the game. The child does however have a very strong desire for candy and little chance of obtaining it. I therefore tell the child that if the child will... Continue Reading →

Formations of the Secular / Talal Asad

In this eye-opening book of Talal Asad, a genealogy of secularism and secular concepts are made. Asad first asks questions such as "what might an Anthropology of Secularism look like?". then digs deeper into concepts such as agency, pain, cruelty and torture. He digs into these concepts in a way that his words unearth the... Continue Reading →

On Revolution / Hannah Arendt

Hannah Arendt writes in her book On Revolution: Quite apart from the threat of total annihilation, which conceivably could be eliminated by new technical discoveries such as a ‘clean’ bomb or an antimissile missile, there are a few signs pointing in this direction. There is first the fact that the seeds of total war developed... Continue Reading →

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