Category Archives: Plato

On Hunting Morels and Other Elusive Critters

We live in the sort of place morels also like to live, coniferous forests. This is a very happy coincidence. But we’re not so special, as it turns out the habitats of morels are as diverse—as polymorphic—as are their forms. We do, however, … Continue reading

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Cold Comforts: Dogs, Death, and Saying What We Can

In the last few months, several friends have had to suffer letting go of their dogs. What do you say to a friend grieving the loss of their dog? For that matter, what do we say to comfort ourselves when … Continue reading

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Tom Waits and the Path of Desire

There’s no prayer like desire. – Tom Waits How tantalizing his emphatic juxtaposition of the high and the low, the sacred and the erotic, along with his intimation that our desires are a way—powerful like no other—to union with the divine. … Continue reading

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Self-Mastery and the Eastern Path

In the last post in this series (which starts here, and continues here), I said the animal and spiritual sides of our nature disagree about what happiness is and, by extension, about what way of life is best. I concluded … Continue reading

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The Bystander Effect and Self-Deception

Having clarified the private philosophical stake one might have in the matter of our unconscious and self-deceptive natures, let’s consider a simple act of self-deception, described in David Livingstone Smith’s book, Why We Lie: The Evolutionary Roots of Deception and … Continue reading

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Are Wisdom and Happiness Compatible?

This post continues the theme of self-deception introduced here. I want to begin where I left off, with the problem that self-deception presents to philosophers and other truth-seekers. As I said in the first post, insofar as we are “natural-born … Continue reading

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On the Body

Though I don’t follow basketball, I have preceded it. The athletic director at the college where I teach has a long tradition of inviting a faculty member to deliver an annual lecture on this, the opening day of March Madness. … Continue reading

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Why the Private Practice of Philosophy Needs Defending

In an earlier post, I sketched a public defense, or apology, for philosophy by suggesting how her unconventional activity might nevertheless be valuable to the city. I also promised that I’d say a little about the private defense of philosophy. … Continue reading

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The Bite: An Apology for Philosophy, Part I

The unexamined life is not worth living. – Socrates Those who read Stevenson’s An Apology for Idlers will know that it was emphatically not an apology in that ordinary sense where we express contrition for some misdeed. It was, rather, a … Continue reading

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Interested in a Game of Philosophy?

Callicles: It is a fine thing to partake of philosophy for the sake of education, and it is not shameful to pursue philosophy while young….there’s a certain freeborn liberality in the young man [who pursues philosophy], and if he doesn’t … Continue reading

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