The FBI files on Jean-Paul Sartre. “From 1945 onwards, J Edgar Hoover’s FBI spied on Camus and Sartre. The investigation soon turned into a philosophical inquiry.” And what did Jean-Paul Sartre have to do with the Kennedy assassination? See also the FBI’s files on Camus and Sartre confirm the utter meaninglessness of it all.
The New York Times has a philosophy blog called “The Stone.” A number of posts in the blog have been tagged with “free will.” All of them are well worth your time. To start with, you might find particularly interesting and helpful Galen Strawson’s “Your Move: The Maze of Free Will” and Eddy Nahmias’s “Is Neuroscience the Death of Free Will?”
Colin McGinn (the mind-body problem and mysterianism) has been controversial in different ways. Consider McGinn’s review of Ted Honderich’s On Consciousness: “This book runs the full gamut from the mediocre to the ludicrous to the merely bad. It is painful to read, poorly thought out, and uninformed. It is also radically inconsistent.”
Then take a look at Kerry McKenzie’s review of McGinn’s Basic Structures of Reality: “For all the epistemic faux-modesty that this book purports to defend, the image that persists while grinding through its pages is of an individual ludicrously fancying themselves as uniquely positioned to solve the big questions for us, from scratch and unassisted, as if none of the rest of us working in the field have had anything worth a damn to contribute. It will however be clear by now that I take the reality to be substantially different.”
But a current controversy is different: A Star Philosopher Falls, and a Debate Over Sexism Is Set Off.
Gut bacteria might guide the workings of our minds. A professor of medicine and psychiatry at U.C.L.A. “thinks the bacteria in our digestive systems may help mold brain structure as we’re growing up, and possibly influence our moods, behavior and feelings when we’re adults.”
Nazis, lies, and videotape. Is it morally permitted to lie to Nazis today to obtain information for the historical record about the Holocaust? “Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah consists in large part of an extensive interview with former SS-Unterscharfuhrer Franz Suchomel who worked at the Treblinka and Sobibor death camps. Lanzmann told him that the interview will be taped but the tape will not be released for thirty years due to the sensitivity of its content. In addition Lanzmann filmed the interview with a secret camera secreted in a briefcase.”
“Live Like a Stoic Week is happening for the second year. It will be taking place from November 25 to December 1. Everyone who is interested in Stoicism, or who practices it today, is encouraged to take part, get involved in an event or activity, and help spread the word.” Stoicism may be just what you need for Thanksgiving week.
Do we live in the Matrix? “Tests could reveal whether we are part of a giant computer simulation — but the real question is if we want to know…” Red pill or blue … the ultimate appearance v. reality question?