The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy “has achieved what Wikipedia can only dream of.” Lovers of wisdom have set a standard for the rest of the internet. “The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy may be the most interesting website on the internet. Not because of the content—which includes fascinating entries on everything from ambiguity to zombies—but because of the site itself. Its creators have solved one of the internet’s fundamental problems: How to provide authoritative, rigorously accurate knowledge, at no cost to readers. It’s something the encyclopedia, or SEP, has managed to do for two decades.”
Month: September 2015
John Malkovich reinterprets Plato
… with the help of Yoko Ono, OMD, Placebo. Like a Puppet Show is an album to be released November 27 on which John Malkovich read Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” against an eerie musical landscape.
The world is full of suffering. How far should you go to prevent the suffering of others, especially the suffering of strangers? Ought you spend way too much to enjoy a fancy coffee drink while children are dying of starvation? Larissa MacFarquhar discusses extreme altruism, illustrating her points with a fascinating example. “In wartime – or in a crisis so devastating that it resembles war, such as an earthquake or a hurricane – duty expands far beyond its peacetime boundaries. In wartime, it is thought dutiful rather than unnatural to leave your family for the sake of a cause. In ordinary times, to ask a person to sacrifice his life for a stranger seems outrageous, but in war it is commonplace. Acts that seem appallingly bad or appallingly good in normal circumstances become part of daily life. This is the difference between do-gooders and ordinary people: for do-gooders, it is always wartime. They always feel themselves responsible for strangers; they know that there are always those as urgently in need as the victims of battle, and they consider themselves conscripted by duty.”
Are you a story?
Some philosophers and others claim that the best way to understand self-identity is to think of it as a story you work on and tell yourself as you live. It’s that story that gives your life focus, meaning, and purpose. But in “I Am Not a Story,” Galen Strawson disagrees: he thinks the idea that life is a story is false and even dangerous.