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philosophy



  • Why a Liberal Education is Worth Defending

    by Steve Mintz

    Roosevelt Montas’s forthcoming "Rescuing Socrates: How the Great Books Changed My Life and Why They Matter for a New Generation" makes a powerful case for engagment with the Great Books as a way to subvert hierarchies and promote equity. 



  • Stoic Wisdom: Ancient Lessons for Modern Resilience (Thursday, 9/23)

    Nancy Sherman addresses the Washington History Seminar to discuss the maladaptation of Stoicism to the modern self-help industry and a fuller understanding of the lessons of the school. Zoom, September 23, 4:00 EDT. 



  • Simone de Beauvoir's Lost Novel of Early Love

    “I loved Zaza with an intensity which could not be accounted for by any established set of rules and conventions,” Beauvoir recalled in her memoirs, almost thirty years after her friend’s death. 


  • What Do John Dewey's Century-Old Thoughts on Anti-Asian Bigotry Teach Us?

    by Charles F. Howlett

    A century ago, the American philosopher and educator took a sabattical to China and concluded that, if encouraged to learn about other cultures, White Americans could be brought to acceptance of Asian Americans and other immigrants as equal participants in democracy. COVID-inspired bigotry shows this dream remains unrealized.



  • The Muslims Who Inspired Spinoza, Locke and Defoe

    by Mustafa Akyol

    "In this age of anxiety, anger and contestations between the West and the Islamic world, many epoch-shaping stories of intellectual exchanges between our cultures are often forgotten."



  • The Broken System: What Comes After Meritocracy?

    by Elizabeth Anderson

    Philosopher Elizabeth Anderson reviews Michael Sandel's critique of meritocracy, a book that locates an explanation for the Trumpian moment in the rise of competitive individualism in the platforms of both major parties. 



  • What Counts, These Days, In Baseball?

    by David Henkin

    A cultural historian considers recent baseball controversies in light of new books on the sport, and concludes that ideas of fair competition have much more to do with our social context than fans acknowledge. 


  • History, Evidence and the Ethics of Belief

    by Guy Lancaster

    Untrammelled freedom of belief has been enshrined as an American civic virtue. The nation, democracy, and possibly the planet are imperiled without a collective commitment to respect belief only to the extent available evidence supports it. 



  • An Inspiring History of the Enlightenment

    A new book focuses on the generation of the body of Enlightenment thought through debate and dispute which foreshadows many of today's debates about the merits of universal humanism and liberal democracy. 



  • Is History Now Our Judge?

    by L.D. Burnett

    "Warning someone that they will face the judgment of history and the shame of opprobrium seems much more rational than warning them that they will face the judgment of God and the fires of hell."



  • Grin and Bear It: On the Rise and Rise of Neo-Stoicism

    by Hettie O'Brien

    "Stoic practices may allow us to live more easily in the world as it is. But politics is as much about conflict as consensus, and depends, at least in part, upon people getting angry."



  • Are We Living at the "Hinge of History"?

    Journalist Richard Fisher examines the argument that the present--this moment--is the most important juncture in human history because human capacity to affect the planet outstrips human wisdom to direct that capacity.


  • Free Speech and Civic Virtue between "Fake News" and "Wokeness"

    by Campbell F. Scribner

    Left critics of the recent "Harper's Magazine" open letter on free speech and open debate make some claims that are narrowly meritorious. But they don't address the value of speech as a way of building the collective citizenship necessary for democracy. In this respect, the signers are correct.


  • Social Crisis and the Public Use of Reason

    by Sam Ben-Meir

    We cannot afford to overlook the public use of reason: reason that does not simply solve a given problem, but asks further unsettling questions, such as how did this problem arise in the first place?