[Starting Points] What Is Existentialism? Part 1: French Existentialism
You don’t get to choose whether or not to make choices. As Sartre memorably puts it, we are condemned to be free.
[Starting Points] Three Confucian Sages of Classical China
Bad times make for good philosophy. As warlords and bandits ravaged the countryside, people found themselves asking what went wrong and what a more harmonious social arrangement might look like.
[Starting Points] Effective Altruism and SBF
My character is shaped by the people around me and the prevailing norms of my culture. If I throw myself into a line of work in which profit maximization overrides all other interests, I’m unlikely to be unchanged by the experience.
[Starting Points] Critical Thinking Calls for Critical Feeling
Critical thinking has an important dispositional element. You need to feel the right way about a problem if you’re going to think well about it.
[Starting Points] Animals Welfare and Animal Rights: What’s the Difference?
I’ll outline the main features of animal welfare and animal rights arguments. At the end, I’ll mention some dissenting voices from both of these strands.
[Starting Points] Do We Have Free Will?
The position that I have free will seems untenable for anyone less mighty than God. The position that I don’t have free will seems so far from being right that it isn’t even wrong.
[Starting Points] How to find meaning in life… and whether you should
Should we identify what gives meaning to our lives and pursue that? Or should we try to wean ourselves from the felt need for meaning?
[Starting Points] Philosophy and Death: Epicurean Answers
Is death a misfortune at all? The Greek philosopher Epicurus thought not. Death can’t be bad for you, he argued, because you don’t experience its badness.
[Starting Points] (What) Can We Learn from Literature?
How can you learn anything from a book full of events that, by the author’s own admission, are completely made up?
[Starting Points] Zhuangzi and the Parable of the Monkeys
A lively philosophical personality shines through the text. Zhuangzi has the serene vision of a mystic and the lively wit of an inveterate jokester.