Culture & Literature
Philosophy Now

Philosophy Now August/September 2018

Philosophy Now is a magazine for everyone interested in ideas. It isn't afraid to tackle all the major questions of life, the universe and everything. It tries to corrupt innocent citizens by convincing them that philosophy can be exciting, worthwhile and comprehensible, and also to provide some light and enjoyable reading matter for those already ensnared by the muse, such as philosophy students and academics. It contains articles on all aspects of philosophy, plus book reviews, film reviews, news, cartoons, and the occasional short story.

United Kingdom
Anja Publications Ltd
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$9.20(Incl. tax)
$33.75(Incl. tax)
6 Issues

in this issue

4 min.
quotation marks needed

Continental climate, continental drift, continental breakfast, all of these make sense. But what is continental philosophy? What makes it ‘continental’? And which continent are we talking about anyway? I’m not opposed to structuring philosophy. Dividing philosophical activity up into different areas can make sense. Pragmatism, Existentialism, Phenomenology, Logical Positivism: all are distinct approaches in tackling philosophical problems. A thinker’s willingness to condone or reject, or even to subscribe to any of them can be illuminating; it makes for challenging discussions that can reveal much about their intellectual, methodological and even moral commitments. This, however, is not true of ‘Continental philosophy’. What sounds like a mere geographical marker turns out to be something less clear but also far less innocent. The fact that Hannah Arendt, discussed in this issue by Scott Remer, and…

4 min.

• Famous Philosophers’ Huts on Display • Japan’s Football Captain Writes Philosophy • Reasoning Skills May Help Mental Health Football and Philosophy Existentialist philosopher and goalkeeper Albert Camus is rumoured to have once claimed: “All that I know most surely about morality and obligations I owe to football.” As it turns out, he is no longer the only philosopher-footballer. Japan national football team captain and Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Makoto Hasebe has written a book of philosophical thoughts entitled The Order of the Soul, a best seller in Japan. Hasebe is a voracious reader of philosophical books, especially Nietzsche. Though perhaps not yet in the same philosophical ballpark as Camus, Hasebe plans to keep up his writing and his retirement from international football a few days ago should give him the opportunity to devote more…

12 min.
the concept of the other from kant to lacan

Among the numerous divergences between the Analytic and Continental traditions of philosophy, one of the most striking is their different ways of discussing one’s relation to other people. In Analytic philosophy this is typically approached, in the first instance, as a question about the possibility of knowledge, under the heading ‘The Problem of Other Minds’. The ‘problem’ in question is how we can know of the existence of other minds, since any mind as such is not directly evident to sensory perception – we can’t see or touch minds. A classic response to this question, echoed by many later writers, was given by John Stuart Mill: A sceptical challenge to Mill’s conclusion has been pursued in recent years by the thought experiment of the ‘philosophical zombie’, popularized by David Chalmers. This is…

12 min.
what is derrida saying to us?

Jacques Derrida (1930-2004) is a philosopher everybody has heard of, but few non-specialists can manage to read; a clear case of ‘many are called but few are chosen’. Opinions of him range from those who say he is one of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth century to those who say he was a charlatan. In the mid-1970s he had a debate of unusual acrimony with the distinguished American philosopher of language, John Searle. In 1992 he was almost refused an honorary degree at Cambridge because of the opposition of several philosophers, some of them eminent. So, a controversial figure. The question of why Derrida’s texts are so difficult is interesting in itself. One reason is the unfamiliarity of his concepts. Another is his concern that statements asserting knowledge always assume…

13 min.
foucault’s elephant

“… discourses themselves are neither true nor false” (Power/Knowledge, p.118) “The confession [is] the general standard governing the production of the true discourse on sex” (History of Sexuality Vol. I, p.63) Flamboyant French philosopher Michel Foucault (1926-1984) is as well known for his historical analyses of criminality, sexuality, and madness as he is for his enigmatic statements on the nature of power, knowledge, and truth. In this article I want to examine the latter, especially in relation to scientific knowledge. As a structuralist, Foucault believes the key to understanding the status of scientific knowledge is to understand the conceptual structures that lie at its foundations. Conceptual structures give rise to and organize fields of knowledge by establishing what categories of things there are, how they exist, and the ways in which we know and speak…

15 min.
hannah arendt & simone weil on the need for roots

In her 1951 book The Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt, German-Jewish émigré and political theorist extraordinaire, chillingly wrote: “Totalitarian solutions may well survive the fall of totalitarian regimes in the form of strong temptations which will come up whenever it seems impossible to alleviate political, social, or economic misery in a manner worthy of man.” (p.459, Harvest edition 1979). Totalitarianism is decidedly different from garden-variety authoritarianism. But the cascading environmental, economic, and political crises we face as a species, and the rising tide of fascism and authoritarianism around the globe, make it clear that, although the present is grim enough, the future has the potential to be very dark indeed. As Mark Twain is reputed to have said, history may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme. So we must…