What would Plato tweet? Probably less about what he had for lunch and more about justice and wisdom. Rebecca Goldstein suggests Facebook and Twitter are ways we try to show that we matter … and then suggests philosophy is a better way to matter.
Philosophy is the love of wisdom. At least that is the etymology of the word “philosophy.” But what is wisdom anyway? Perhaps “wisdom” is no longer a useful general term because it has been used to mean too many different things in and outside of philosophy. Even so, there have been many interesting attempts at a science of older and wiser.
The deepest self. One model of the self is that you are unconscious impulses that are sometimes but not always restrained by conscious rational processes. But David Brooks says this is not your deepest self. Instead the deepest self is “built through freely chosen suffering” arising from the commitments you make over a lifetime.
The fallacy of the hijacked brain. Is addiction a choice or a disease? Neither, says Peg O’Connor. The question is a “category mistake” that rests on a false dilemma.
What would Plato think of TV? And now Plato is on Twitter.
Do our moral beliefs need to be consistent? Why should we care about logical consistency in our moral beliefs? Maybe it’s a bit obsessive to focus on asking whether your moral beliefs could be universal law.
“Scientists and philosophers argue that human beings are little more than puppets of their biochemistry. Here’s why they’re wrong.” This is Paul Bloom’s very good review of neuroscience’s claim that we are biochemical puppets and social psychology’s demonstration that factors we are unaware of influence our thoughts and acts. But Bloom concludes: “Yes, we are physical beings, and yes, we are continually swayed by factors beyond our control. But as Aristotle recognized long ago, what’s so interesting about us is our capacity for reason, which reigns over all. If you miss this, you miss almost everything that matters.”
Time travelers: please don’t kill Hitler. One of the most popular mind experiments for exmining theories of knowledge and theories of reality is time travel. And for time travelers, one of the most common scenarios (perhaps the most common) is killing Hitler. But … “in almost any science-fiction scenario involving time-travel, the default action is to kill Hitler. As terrible a human being as he was, there are many reasons why this probably isn’t a good idea.”