Frankenstein: Evil, Morality & Phronesis

Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein is a ubiquitous feature of popular culture, continuously adapted and revisited. Dr. Raymond Boisvert, Professor of Philosophy Emeritus, argues that Frankenstein endures because of its sophisticated treatment of morality. Victor, a brilliant thinker who sees science as a means of transcending natural limits, creates life (Frankenstein’s “monster”) only to demean and abandon his creation. But Boisvert argues that Victor is a complex figure — neither inherently evil, nor the product of a corrupt or evil society. Instead Victor’s failings can better be understood by examining two different ethical models: Evil as Absence & Evil as Banal.

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Thought Experiments & Change: Is Abandoning Utopia a Mistake?

Can utopianism be salvaged? Should it be? For many, the answer is no. But there are reasons to suggest, claims philosopher Espen Hammer, that a fully modern society cannot live without a utopian consciousness. But even if we were to adopt this stance, we must do this with caution. What preoccupies our utopian imagination is of utmost importance.

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Philosophy as a Way of Life: Reviving the Art of Thinking & Living Well

Philosophy as a way of life has begun to re-emerge, thanks to the efforts of countless individuals — within and outside of formal academia — who have held tight to the belief that philosophy is and can be a guide to living well (in all that that entails). The NEH “Reviving Philosophy as a Way of Life” Summer Institute — led by Professors Meghan Sullivan, Steve Angle & Stephen Grimm and attended by a diverse group of scholars (of which we were lucky enough to be a part!) — is a vibrant example of a movement to re-align the seating arrangements (no more back seat for you practical side of philosophy!) and revive philosophy as the art of thinking and living well. To have been selected to participate in the National Endowment for Humanities Summer Institute was a tremendous honor! We are grateful for the amazing opportunity and to everyone in the PWOL/Stoa family!

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Implicit Bias: What is It & Why Should We Care?

It is comforting to believe that our behavior is based upon our intentions and chosen beliefs. However, research into implicit bias suggests that this is decidedly not always the case. But what is implicit bias? And why should we be concerned with it? This article explores what is meant by implicit bias, what role it plays in our thinking and behavior, some of the philosophical dilemmas it presents, and offers an opportunity to test your own implicit biases.

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Logic-Based Therapy: Philosophy, Emotional Reasoning & PTSD

Because of its focus on identifying and correcting a patients’ emotional reasoning (as opposed to identifying the causes of emotions), Logic-Based Therapy offers an incredibly valuable way to navigate our emotional terrain. Knowing what we believe, whether or not our beliefs are epistemically justified, and how to correct them when they are not…is HUGE! And this applies not only to everyday challenges that we face but also some of the more extraordinary ones, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. This article explores the implications of a logic-based approach relative to PTSD.

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When Our Elders Die: A Confucian Perspective on Grief & A Language Lost

When we lose our elders, our worlds are silenced. Tis’ the ineffable weight of loss and sadness and a language lost. This thoughtful & beautifully written article by Amy Olberding, Professor of Philosophy at University of Oklahoma, explores grief & loss through the eyes of Confucian philosophy.

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Ethics, Artificial Intelligence & The Real World

In the wake of increasing concerns about AI and the somewhat predominant “lack of ethical considerations” in the industry relative to its possible social ramifications, universities and researchers are pushing hard to establish a new ethos of “first, do no harm.” But the task is daunting for a number of reasons.

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Dancing with Death: The Vital Relationship Between Mortality & Love

Losing loved ones can be one of the hardest challenges a person must face. How do we navigate our loss, pain & grief? And what does death have to do with love? In this article, Sharon Krishek — lecturer in philosophy at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem — talks about the vital relationship between mortality and love as seen through the eyes of existentialist philosopher Søren Kierkegaard.

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