Category Archives: Philosophy

Always To Be Blessed

It’s seldom that a two-line passage from a poem can explain so much that’s wrong with the world. But Alexander Pope’s Essay on Man (1732) has just such a passage: “Hope springs eternal in the human breast, Man never is, … Continue reading

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The Basic Truths Are The Same

My mentor Brand Blanshard, a philosophy professor at Yale, said that “the basic truths of life are the same for every honest mind, whether atheist or devotee.” My grandfather, a Methodist minister, said that “Every person you meet knows something … Continue reading

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Celebrating Pi Day

Today, March 14, is “Pi Day.” The date matches the first three digits of pi, 3.14. On the Nerd Calendar, Pi Day is even more important than Festivus or G.H. Hardy‘s birthday. Pi is the ratio between a circle’s circumference … Continue reading

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Character Is Destiny — For Nations, Too

China is our geopolitical adversary, but the ancient Chinese philosopher Mencius had some advice that might help us in these difficult times. He said: “Only after a person has demeaned himself will others demean him. Only after a great family … Continue reading

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The Declaration’s Missing Word

Many recent social conflicts might have been avoided if the American Declaration of Independence had added one simple word. The Declaration’s second paragraph states the political ideals on which it was based: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that … Continue reading

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Utopia’s Biggest Problem

Blogger Marcus Ampe has written a thoughtful essay about utopianism. But he’s realistic about the impossibility of creating a perfect society. He wants, instead, to think about ways we can make society better. That’s a practical goal for which we … Continue reading

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Intimidation Is Not Argument

One aspect of civilized behavior is that we try to settle disputes by rational argument, not by violence and coercion. Sadly, many people don’t know how to make a rational argument. Their first choice is to use the “argumentum ad … Continue reading

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In Defense of Misguided People

Misguided people are all around us. Of course, which people we call misguided depends on how misguided we are, ourselves. So I want to say a few words in defense of misguided people. They might not know the facts I … Continue reading

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Why Beliefs Divide Us

Why do beliefs divide us? This will sound like a joke, but it’s the truth: Beliefs divide us because it’s part of their job. We usually think of beliefs simply as being about facts: Two plus two equals four. Flowers … Continue reading

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Why People Are Not Things

Is it ever justified to treat people unequally? Before you try to answer, notice something about the question: It’s not a factual question. It doesn’t ask what is, but what ought to be. We might include facts in our answer, but … Continue reading

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