Tag Archives | philosophy

Salon of the Refused, Episode 14

Episode 14 of my video and podcast series, Salon of the Refused, is now available. I talk with Steven Pinker, author of Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, about the legacy of the Enlightenment. The conversation includes: exactly how good the state of the world is, “thick” versus “thin” philosophy, the […]

Comments are closed

Today in Platonism

Do ideas refer to facts in reality, or do they have an existence and meaning independent of reality? This is an old question that goes back to the birth of philosophy in Ancient Greece, and if it seems like an arcane intellectual issue for the eggheads to argue about, think again. It’s an issue you […]

Comments are closed

Salon of the Refused, Episode 13

Episode 13 of my video and podcast series, Salon of the Refused, is now available. I offer a brief overview of how Ayn Rand offered a rational, secular basis for morality, in contrast both to the religious arguments of the conservatives and to the subjectivism of secular intellectuals. Topics covered include: how to explain Ayn […]

Comments are closed

Why I Don’t “Believe” in Science

For some years now, one of the left’s favorite tropes has been the phrase “I believe in science.” Elizabeth Warren stated it recently in a pretty typical form: “I believe in science. And anyone who doesn’t has no business making decisions about our environment.” This was in response to news that scientists who are skeptical […]

Comments are closed

Salon of the Refused, Episode 9

Episode 9 of my video and podcast series, Salon of the Refused, is now available. I talk with Bob Garmong, former lecturer at Dongbei University of Finance and Economics and author of a forthcoming study on the political thought of John Stuart Mill, about Mill and the history of political “liberalism.” The conversation includes: Locke […]

Comments are closed

The Pathology Report

A Reader’s Guide to Atlas Shrugged, Part 14 Spoiler Alert: You do not need a reader’s guide to Atlas Shrugged—at least not for your first reading. Ayn Rand’s novel is clear, compelling, eminently readable, and perfectly comprehensible on its own terms. Yet Atlas is also a rich and complex novel, with an intricate plot in […]

Comments are closed

What Does It Mean to Be a Parrott?

Five Things You Need to Read Today August 30, 2018 1. Overhanging Existential Dread A while back, I described the dominant mood of the Trump presidency as one of “overhanging existential dread.” For every good thing we get out of this administration–say, a reasonably good Supreme Court appointment or two–there is always the question looming […]

Comments are closed

Unfrozen Caveman Intellectual

“There is no God in this book.” So begins Suicide of the West, Jonah Goldberg’s contribution to the recent flurry of discussion about the legacy of the Enlightenment. Unfortunately, there’s not much of the Enlightenment in the book, either. If Steven Pinker’s Enlightenment Now treated the philosophical movement of the 18th century as if it […]

Comments are closed

How to Defend the Enlightenment Without Really Trying

The Trump era—which has been characterized by a rise of anti-intellectualism, the ideological muddling of the right, and a swerve toward illiberalism on both sides of the political debate—has, by way of compensation, also produced a mini-revival of interest and debate about the philosophical ideas of the Enlightenment. One of the most prominent entries in […]

Comments are closed

Progressives Against Enlightenment

One of my concerns about the Trump era is that it signals a wave of anti-intellectualism on the right, a collapse in concern for basic ideas. It has also triggered something of an anti-intellectual response on the left, because Trump is the bogeyman who justifies blind, frenetic “resistance” in place of thoughtful criticism and reasoned […]

Comments are closed