Category Archives: philosophy

trying to keep myself honest

Facebook43 Twitter1 Google+0Total: 44(Madrid) This summer–which is not over yet–has already been full of rich and challenging discussions for which I am grateful. In June, I spent several days discussing some lesser-known works of Friedrich Hayek with a group of … Continue reading

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on hedgehogs and foxes

Facebook26 Twitter1 Google+0Total: 27 “A fox knows many things, but a hedgehog knows one important thing” — Archilochus This proverb is in the news lately because Philip Tetlock has shown that foxes (flexible and curious generalists) are much better at predicting … Continue reading

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an expressivist critique of our criminal justice system

Facebook8 Twitter1 Google+0Total: 9(Disclaimer: this post is the result of reading some work by Tommie Shelby and Erin Kelly but not yet wrestling with either author’s views sufficiently or examining the larger literature on expressivism in law. If you were … Continue reading

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youth, midlife & old-age as states of mind

Facebook8 Twitter1 Google+0Total: 9This post is inspired and informed by Kieran Setiya’s Midlife (Princeton, 2017), but I didn’t review it recently because I wanted space to develop my own views. Here are three definitions that are not tied to chronological … Continue reading

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what constitutes coordination?

Facebook14 Twitter2 Google+0Total: 16 [W]e addressed the factual question whether members of the Trump Campaign “coordinat[ed]”-a term that appears in the appointment order-with Russian election interference activities. Like collusion, “coordination” does not have a settled definition in federal criminal law. … Continue reading

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how much of a theory of justice do activists need? (a dialogue)

Facebook24 Twitter1 Google+1Total: 26Some students are on their way to occupy their university’s central administration building to demand a minimum wage of $17 for all employees. They are surprised to encounter the ghost of John Rawls (JR): JR: I see … Continue reading

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Empathy and Justice

Facebook30 Twitter1 Google+0Total: 31My remarks at a conference entitled “Empathy …. or Ways of Caring,” Harvard Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, March 15, 2019. (Apologies for some cutting and pasting from previous posts.) Doris Sommer mentioned that Barack Obama … Continue reading

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how to think about other people’s interests: Rawls, Buddhism, and empathy

Facebook18 Twitter1 Google+0Total: 19Last week, my colleague Erin Kelly and I taught excerpts from John Rawls’ Theory of Justice along with Emily McRae’s chapter, “Empathy, Compassion, and ‘Exchanging Self and Other’ in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism,” from the Routledge Handbook of Philosophy … Continue reading

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conservatism as gratitude or humility?

Facebook6 Twitter2 Google+0Total: 8(DCA) Yuval Levin offers this definition (h/t Robert Pondiscio): To my mind, conservatism is gratitude. Conservatives tend to begin from gratitude for what is good and what works in our society and then strive to build on … Continue reading

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“Empathy” is a new word. Do we need it?

Facebook4 Twitter1 Google+0Total: 5According to the OED, “empathy” entered the English language in 1895 to mean “a physiological brain-function”–specifically, “a form of psychophysical energy” in the nervous system–that correlated with a feeling. This meaning is now obsolete, because the underlying … Continue reading

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