Summary of “Can there be a “very good dog?” Philosophy has an answer”

In 1798, Immanuel Kant wrote that “The fact that the human being can have the representation ‘I’ raises him infinitely above all the other beings on earth. By this he is a person.that is, a being altogether different in rank and dignity from things, such as irrational animals, with which one may deal and dispose at one’s discretion.”
Mark Rowlands, a professor of philosophy at the University of Miami, and author of The Philosopher and the Wolf, among other books, believes his dog and wolf are good.
He defines goodness as a kind of concern and points also to animal studies and anecdotes that show animals caring for other creatures-including people-taking risks to save them, and hurting them too, as proof that they can be both bad and good.
Humans too do plenty of things thoughtlessly, impulsively or instinctively-we don’t always scrutinize our actions in advance or know why we’re doing good or bad. If a person were to run into a street to save a child from the danger of an oncoming car, it wouldn’t require thought as much as instinct.
Frans De Waal, an Emory University primatologist, also thinks ethics are inherent in animals.
De Waal argues that humans err when they understand morality as the unique veneer that keeps us in check and separate from animals.
People do resist the idea of animal morality though-and that is in part because it calls our own goodness into question.
As the Stanford Dictionary of Philosophy points out, recognizing the capacity for compassion, virtue, suffering, and struggle in animals puts humans in an awkward position.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Pythagoras on the Purpose of Life and the Meaning of Wisdom – Brain Pickings”

The Greek polymath Pythagoras ignited the golden age of mathematics with the development of numerical logic and the discovery of his namesake theorem of geometry, which furnished the world’s first foothold toward the notion of scientific proof and has been etched into the mind of every schoolchild in the millennia since.
Alongside his revolutionary science, Pythagoras coined the word philosopher to describe himself as a “Lover of wisdom” – a love the subject of which he encapsulated in a short, insightful meditation on the uses of philosophy in human life.
According to the anecdote, recounted by Cicero four centuries later, Pythagoras attended the Olympic Games of 518 BC with Prince Leon, the esteemed ruler of Phlius.
The Prince, impressed with his guest’s wide and cross-disciplinary range of knowledge, asked Pythagoras why he lived as a “Philosopher” rather than an expert in any one of the classical arts.
Life may well be compared with these public Games for in the vast crowd assembled here some are attracted by the acquisition of gain, others are led on by the hopes and ambitions of fame and glory.
Some are influenced by the love of wealth while others are blindly led on by the mad fever for power and domination, but the finest type of man gives himself up to discovering the meaning and purpose of life itself.
This is the man I call a philosopher for although no man is completely wise in all respects, he can love wisdom as the key to nature’s secrets.
Complement with Alain de Botton on how philosophy undoes our unwisdom, then revisit other abiding mediations on the meaning and purpose of life from Epictetus, Toni Morrison, Walt Whitman, Richard Feynman, Rosa Parks, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and Martha Nussbaum.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Take your time: the seven pillars of a Slow Thought manifesto”

In the tradition of the Slow Movement, I hereby declare my manifesto for ‘Slow Thought’.
Looking up momentarily from his reading, the scholar greeted his erstwhile pupil after the Holocaust, the founding of Israel and many wars: ‘Oh, Joel, I am reading Plato, would you like to join me?’ Like pilpul and the relational dialogue, Slow Thought has a life of its own.
‘ Slow Thought, like the Latin vivere vitam, has no object but, like life itself, is embodied in focal practices that allow us to live more fully in an atemporal present, freed from the burden of an imperfect past or the futile promise of a redemptive future.
Slow Thought is a porous way of thinking that is non-categorical, open to contingency, allowing people to adapt spontaneously to the exigencies and vicissitudes of life.
The ‘play’ or tolerance of Slow Thought means not only that rules will be broken but that a rupture in thought is possible.
There is a family resemblance of Slow Thought to other gestures in the history of thought.
Slow Thought is a counter-method, rather than a method, for thinking as it relaxes, releases and liberates thought from its constraints and the trauma of tradition.
In this sense, we can group Slow Thought as an edifying philosophy and as an anti-philosophy, the way that Nietzsche, Wittgenstein and Derrida examine the tools and methods of thought to clarify genealogies, to rid us of pseudo-problems, and to reveal latent, unknown and disavowed roots, meanings and traces of words.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The philosophers who will shape politics in Russia, China, Europe, France, and the US in 2018 from Confucius to Nick Land”

One point of philosophy is it shapes the world around us: Societal instincts and political ideals are often an expression of theories first put forward in philosophy books.
For those hoping to make sense of politics in 2018, here are a few of the philosophers worth knowing.
Before Macron became a politician, he spent two years working with Ricœur, and the philosopher’s thinking is apparent in how Macron conducts politics.
Xi Jinping, the leader of China, is a vocal fan of the ancient philosopher Confucius.
As Van Norden explores in his book, Taking Back Philosophy: A Multicultural Manifesto, Confucius strongly believed in the importance of public officials’ integrity.
Various threads of alt right ideology draw off a 1990s neo-fascist philosophy created by British academic Nick Land and known as Dark Enlightenment.
Philosophy has a reputation for staying within its ivory tower, but its ideas inform and shape the views of those who wield power.
Philosophers such as Confucius, Ricœur, and Habermas are worth reading simply because they’re fascinating.

The orginal article.

Summary of “10 Schools of Philosophy and Why You Should Know Them”

The key idea of it is the lack of belief in meaning or substance in an area of philosophy.
Moral nihilism argues that moral facts cannot exist; metaphysical nihilism argues that we cannot have metaphysical facts; existential nihilism is the idea that life cannot have meaning and nothing has value-this is the kind that most people think of when they hear the word.
Hedonism is the idea that pleasure or happiness is the one thing with intrinsic value.
This idea has been held by many other schools across history, most famously the utilitarians.
Marxism is a school based on the collected ideas of Karl Marx, the 19th century German philosopher, and the related ideas others have added after his death.
His key ideas are all critiques of capitalism, such as the idea that the capitalist mode of production alienates us from the results of our labor, the tendency of capitalism to overproduce and crash as a result, and the labor theory of value.
Most of you are probably familiar with the idea of “Cultural relativism” which is the notion that the morality of two differing cultures cannot be compared and a person outside of one culture cannot critique the values and morality of another.
The many schools of Buddhism are rather diverse in their thought, bound together primarily by the Buddha’s ideas on suffering.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why philosophy is so important in science education”

I begin by explaining to them that philosophy addresses issues that can’t be settled by facts alone, and that the philosophy of science is the application of this approach to the domain of science.
Many of the young people who attend my classes think that philosophy is a fuzzy discipline that’s concerned only with matters of opinion, whereas science is in the business of discovering facts, delivering proofs, and disseminating objective truths.
Why do college students so often treat philosophy as wholly distinct from and subordinate to science? In my experience, four reasons stand out.
College students tend to think that departmental divisions mirror sharp divisions in the world, and so they cannot appreciate that philosophy and science, as well as the purported divide between them, are dynamic human creations.
The fourth source of students’ discomfort comes from what they take science education to be.
One gets the impression that they think of science as mainly itemizing the things that exist-‘the facts’-and of science education as teaching them what these facts are.
If the right educational platform is laid, philosophers like me will not have to work against the wind to convince our students that we have something important to say about science.
Our scientist colleagues should continue to teach the fundamentals of science, but they can help by making clear to their students that science brims with important conceptual, interpretative, methodological, and ethical issues that philosophers are uniquely situated to address, and that far from being irrelevant to science, philosophical matters lie at its heart.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Which is more fundamental: processes or things?”

Process philosophers think we should go beyond looking at the world as a set of static unrelated items, and instead examine the processes that make up the world.
The pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Heraclitus provides the most famous image of process metaphysics.
While substance philosophers will tend to search for the smallest constituent objects in order to locate reality’s most fundamental building blocks, process philosophers think this is insufficient.
Process metaphysics leads to a re-evaluation of other important philosophical notions.
Process philosophers such as Henri Bergson stop at this negative conclusion, believing that processes cannot be known but only experienced.
Regardless, as the Danish philosopher Johanna Seibt notes, it might just be the case that focusing on the process requires a whole new perspective.
Process philosophy invites us to look at longer stretches of time, blurred boundaries and connected relations.
Identity as a programmatic – but not deterministic – process welcomes innovation through small, recurring changes.

The orginal article.