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Philosophy Now

Philosophy Now June - July 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.

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United Kingdom
Anja Publications Ltd
$8.93(Incl. tax)
$32.79(Incl. tax)
6 Issues

in this issue

4 min.
the impossible issue

“The winds rise in the north,Blow west, blow east,And now again whirl high aboveWho breathes them out, who breathes them in?” The classical Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi has once again hit the nail on the head: ideas arise and make their rounds, they are articulated, accepted or rejected by a variety of thinkers. His poem above is a small part of a long argument about putting philosophical ideas into perspective. Ultimately, Zhuangzi recommends rising above them altogether by trusting your own instincts. ‘Western’ philosophers may be forgiven for not agreeing or disagreeing with Zhuangzi. His style and conceptual framework are unfamiliar. After all, what exactly is he even saying? And even if we can figure it out, is this philosophy? I have come across this kind of scepticism millions of times. It ranges…

4 min.

Anita Silvers Anita Silvers, philosopher and activist, whose writings ranged from aesthetics to medical ethics, feminism, and disability rights, has died of pneumonia in San Francisco at the age of 78. She was Professor of Philosophy at San Francisco State University, and also served as Secretary-Treasurer of the American Philosophical Association’s Pacific Division for more than 25 years until 2008. A serious case of polio at the age of eight left Silvers with partial quadriplegia. Angry about her limited mobility, she was determined not to be held back by it. Starting her career in academic philosophy as an expert on aesthetics, she later turned her interest to developing a new field of applied ethics: philosophical engagement with disability. This refocus was motivated by her analysis of the Americans With Disabilities Act passed…

10 min.
meditating with descartes

Why did René Descartes (1596-1650) name his famous treatise Meditations on First Philosophy? Broadly speaking, ‘to meditate’ means ‘to think deeply about something’ (OED). Although Descartes probably meant the word in this general sense, I would like to look at whether his method, and Western philosophy in general, has some correlation with meditation in the Eastern sense of the word. To do this I will consider the meditation techniques of Zen and of traditional Theravada Buddhism. Peace of Mind First let us consider whether Western philosophy aims for peace of mind. The purpose of Western philosophising is to find solutions to profound questions, such as the meaning of life or the nature of mind, and every philosophical theory is an attempt at solving a philosophical problem. To develop such a theory might momentarily…

11 min.
some solid ideas

In his 1738 classic A Treatise of Human Nature, the Scottish philosopher David Hume criticised a conception of substance held by many philosophers throughout the long history of Western thought. He rhetorically asks these philosophers how they know of the existence and nature of substances. Hume considers two possible answers: sense perception or sheer thought. If our senses are the source of our knowledge of substances, then substance would need to be observable through taste, smell, touch, and so on. No one, of course, considered substance to be a smell or a taste or a touch, nor even the combination of all these. Rather, the combination of all our sensations of an object, argues Hume, is imagined to belong to an unknown entity that acts as the locus of their…

1 min.
solid ground

Our greatest philosopher David HumeWhose logical doubts left nothing assumedWith the skeptical arguments he had foundLeft nothing standing on solid ground.Until a Mensch named Kant came alongAnd pointed out where Dave went wrongWith the help of a little a prioriNow the world was just a category.Years later all the cerebral minds of the LogicsEven with the help of modern mathematicsOr PhDs debating with esoteric intellectualismCould not connect the pieces to any new ism.Disgruntled I found nothing to sufficeUntil I saw Sophie skating on solid ice. © CLINTON VAN INMAN 2019 Clinton Van Inman was born in England, raised in North Carolina, graduated SDSU with a degree in philosophy, and is now retired and living in Florida with his wife Elba.…

13 min.
truth and the true

“…when he is in doubt about anything, or unable to find a proof for the object of his inquiry, he must not at once abandon, reject and deny it; he must modestly keep back, and from regard to the honour of his Creator, hesitate [from uttering an opinion] and pause.”(Maimonides, The Guide for the Perplexed, trans. M. Friedlander, p.43) Is there a difference between the true and the truth? Facts, we might say, are true but is truth itself a fact we have in our hands or an ideal we seek without guarantee of possession? We speak about the truth of a situation, the truth about things, the truth about persons, about life. But do we ever have full knowledge of any of these? If truth involves full knowledge we would have…