Culture & Literature
Philosophy Now

Philosophy Now April - May 2019

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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$8.91(Incl. tax)
$32.71(Incl. tax)
6 Issues

in this issue

5 min.
question marx

We want Philosophy Now to be well read; but do we want it to be, well, red? Indeed, why be interested in Marx after ‘the end of history’ – as Francis Fukuyama (taking from Hegel – all intellectual property is theft!) styled the triumph of global capitalism and liberal democracy? The continued interest in Marx is demonstrated to us by the continual stream of submissions we receive concerning his thinking, the ripe red fruits of which we present here. But that doesn’t explain why people are still interested in looking at his ideas, and why we should be, when most believe that Marx’s ideas have been demonstrated to be false. There is first the fact that he is historically a very significant philosopher. Some might argue the most significant, having set…

3 min.

• Word frequency reveals morality’s tides • Marx’s tomb vandalised • Black holes evade conceptual capture Moral Talk and Moral Conflict Researchers Nick Haslam, Melanie McGrath, and Melissa Wheeler of the University of Melbourne in Australia have traced the development of moral language over more than 100 years. Using a program called Google NGram Viewer they searched for 304 terms with moral content in the English language Google Books database. The search covered books published between 1900 and 2007. While they found an overall decline in the use of words conveying general morality, such as ‘good’, ‘bad’, ‘moral’, and ‘evil’, there was a sudden and remarkable turning point around 1980: “The fifth period, from around 1980 to the end of the study period in 2007, involves a relatively sudden shift in the salience of…

11 min.
karl marx: man & mind

In the beginning was the word, and Marx had a way with them like no other. Karl Heinrich Marx (1818-1883) was a supreme stylist with a turn of phrase that few could match. Whatever one thinks of the political ideologies associated with his name – Communism, Socialism and Marxism – he was poetic, pithy, and, at the same time, able to write in clear, succinct, and powerful German. Consider “The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living” from The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1852); or, in his Theses on Feuerbach from 1845, “The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways, the point is to change it.” By contrast, G.W.F. Hegel (1770-1831), who inspired him, wrote mostly in convoluted prose…

4 min.
a new twist on old ideas

In 1784 Immanuel Kant described humanity as being in a state of immaturity, which to Kant is “the inability to use one’s own understanding without the guidance of another” (An Answer to the Question: ‘What is Enlightenment?’, trans Mary C. Smith). The reasons for this immaturity are “laziness and cowardice.” For progress to occur, we must “have courage to use [our] own understanding.” And for Kant, historical progress must yield some form of freedom: “For enlightenment of this kind, all that is needed is freedom. And the freedom in question is the most innocuous form of all – freedom to make public use of one’s reason in all matters.” This freedom must not however be understood as political or social freedom: “A high degree of civil freedom seems advantageous to…

2 min.
philosophical haiku

R.G. COLLINGWOOD (1889–1943) Imagine time past Like an artist creating Unfurling history. Robin George Collingwood was once described as ‘the best-known neglected thinker of our time’. His father was an archaeologist and an artist, and these two spheres came to occupy much of young Collingwood’s attention. His hobby was to spend his summers digging around looking for artefacts, and he inadvertently became an expert on Roman Britain. But it is principally as a philosopher of history and of art for which he is remembered today. History, for Collingwood, is the study of the human mind. If we think about what really interests us when we look at history, it is people like ourselves: (primarily) rational beings, making the best of the world in which they find themselves. It’s true we can study people…

8 min.
marx & nietzsche

Although neither of them actually lived in it, Marx and Nietzsche were among the most important thinkers for the Twentieth Century. Their influence on its minds and events was profound as they radically transformed the way we think about the individual, society, and the human condition. In The Will to Power (1901), Nietzsche asserts that all human behavior and reasoning is a manifestation of the ‘will to power’. Marx, on the other hand, argued that social systems are fundamentally characterized by class conflict, in which the ruling class control the means of production through the exploitation of the other classes (for example, Das Kapital, 1867). So let’s look at the views of Marx and Nietzsche in regard to religion and the origins of Christian morality, and Western philosophy, examining the…