Category Archives: Uncategorized

“Are students snowflakes?” on Access Utah

Host Tom Williams interviewed my colleagues Erica Holberg and Harrison Kleiner and me about the alleged “snowflake” phenomenon on campuses (students who can’t bear to hear any claims that run counter to their own values). Interview here. Certainly there are … Continue reading

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Essay on philosophy and the humanities on Aeon

By the title, “Why philosophers should hang out at the humanists’ parties” – here.

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The making of the humanities

I just returned from a multidisciplinary conference on “meta” issues in the humanities: how various humanistic disciplines have shifted over time, various assumptions made or discarded by academic practitioners, and basically any of the stuff you’d come to find if … Continue reading

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Truth: an initial stab at the thing

On campus we are having a series of discussions under the title of “facticity.” No, it’s not a headlong plunge into German idealism and the impossible task of capturing the brute “thatness” of what experience coughs up. Instead, it is … Continue reading

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The Shed

About five years ago, we hired a great guy named Joe Smart to build a philosopher’s shed for me. (More about that story here.) I’m really glad to have this separate place for reading, thinking, and writing – as nutty … Continue reading

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My Life as an NPC

Another Stacks of Books essay to add to the library. This one makes good on a promise I’ve been making for sometime, which was to reflect philosophically on playing Skyrim. (Now those hundreds of hours can count as research!). I’m … Continue reading

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The ban on navel contemplation

I have been busy re-reading Sloterdijk’s Spheres trilogy, working up to a longer reflection on it, but in the meanwhile thought I’d offer up this passages from Bubbles (Spheres I): The navel is located on the human’s front like a … Continue reading

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Maybe the universe doesn’t exist

It is not clear to me that the universe exists. I’m not saying, of course, that there aren’t a lot of things in existence – my dog, this laptop, Saturn’s rings, and so on. And with any actual list of … Continue reading

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The Problem of Disenchantment

[Reading Egil Asprem, The Problem of Disenchantment: Scientific Naturalism and Esoteric Discourse, 1900-1939. Brill, 2014.] Egil Asprem’s fascinating and learned work is centered around seeing disenchantment – or the growing propensity to see nature as empty of magical and divine … Continue reading

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Victorian anthropology

[Reading George W. Stocking, Victorian Anthropology (Free Press, 1987)] Stocking’s book is most centrally about how 19th-century upper-class British males managed to combine their sense of superiority with an emerging awareness of Darwinian evolution. Many loose threads needed to be woven … Continue reading

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Nietzsche and Hegel in Salt Lake City

I had the opportunity yesterday to present a paper to the Nietzsche Society, which was meeting within a larger conference of the Society for Phenomenology and Existentialist Philosophy. The people I met were generous, knowledgeable, and interesting, and my paper seems … Continue reading

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Stacks of Books

I’m starting to publish some philosophical / history of ideas essays in a series called “Stacks of Books” (hey, look! A page with that name just under the blog’s banner image!). They’re being published through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, which means … Continue reading

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Intellectuals

Most people, for very good reason, place themselves at the center of their universe. I’m not saying they place themselves at the center of the universe, which would be a greedy and ignorant thing to do. They place themselves at … Continue reading

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Reality of ideas, again: the navel-gazing perspective

What is an idea? On the one hand, it is tempting to say that there can be no explanation without appeal to a special intensional dimension, a protected pocket of our existence that holds meanings. After all, we think ideas; … Continue reading

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Peter Adamson, and the gap problem

It’s wonderful to have Peter Adamson’s perspective on this perpetual problem in teaching the history of philosophy: whom do I cover, and whom do I leave out? Adamson, of course, is bravely executing “The History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps” … Continue reading

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