Philosophy Now June - July 2020

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
6 Issues

in this issue

4 min
when tides of thought meet

Like the wider world, Philosophy Now has devoted a fair amount of attention to the arguments between theists and atheists. This tends to highlight the divide between religion and secularism. In this issue, by contrast, our theme is more about observing the religious and irreligious worldviews as they move towards each other, or where they each struggle in their own way with the same concerns within society. (This time we’re not just focusing on Atheists v. Christians, either). So the articles here look at the overlaps and commonalities between religious and secular thinking, as well as differences between them, and their role in society. Doing this, we can see just the sorts of mental and cultural exchanges that have taken place throughout history when contrasting tides of thought flow through…

3 min

Prize for Making Life Worth Living The Vienna Medical Association awards a grand prize to promote interdisciplinary cooperation between the sciences. This year it has given the Paul Watzlawick Ring of Honour to a philosopher: Robert Pfaller. Pfaller, who is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Linz, is a value theorist and social critic. Writing books with philosophical rigour but popular appeal in a witty and engaging style, Pfaller discusses questions about human behaviour, popular values, political discourse and what it is that makes life worth living. Prize for Disagreeing Instructively The American Philosophical Association, in conjunction with the mysteriously-named Phi Beta Kappa Society, has awarded Agnes Callard, associate professor of philosophy at the University of Chicago and Laurie Paul, professor of philosophy at Yale, the Lebowitz Prize for Philosophical Achievement and…

7 min
meaning in the executive suite

On that fall morning years ago when the eighteen-year-old me first entered a college philosophy classroom, I carried with me a notebook, the assigned texts, and the naïve confidence that somewhere in these lectures or these pages I would find (at last) the meaning of life. I was to be somewhat disappointed. Although the philosophical tradition from Plato to Richard Rorty is brimming with potential answers to the timeless question of life’s meaning, I found those answers to be neither as singular nor as clear cut as I had hoped. If, as we learn in The Republic of Plato and his other dialogues, what we perceive in day-to-day life is a knock-off of ideal Forms that exist in a perfect world, and if knowledge of those Forms is the highest…

14 min
einstein & the rebbe

“The Bible shows the way to go to heaven, not the way the heavens go.”– Galileo Galilei“There is no harmony between religion and science. When science was a child, religion sought to strangle it in the cradle.”– R.G. Ingersoll When I was a resident in psychiatry, over thirty-five years ago, one of my mentors said something that forever changed the way I thought about my profession. “In psychiatry,” he said, “you can do biology in the morning and theology in the afternoon”. He was being a little facetious, but on a deeper level he meant what he said. I understood his message to be simply this: the problems of my patients could be understood and approached from both a ‘scientific’ and a ‘religious’ perspective without fear of contradiction or inconsistency. Yes,…

8 min
christianity & homosexuality

In this article I will not discuss religious criticisms proposed against homosexuality. Rather, I will consider the upshot of these criticisms – what religious believers often recommend that a gay person do as a practical matter. And while there are many different criticisms religious people offer against same-sex relations, most agree on what the moral response should be, which is either to marry from the other sex or to lead a life of chastity. I will say that the first option, marrying someone of the other sex, is not psychologically possible for most gay men or women, and therefore cannot be morally expected of them. The second supposed solution, chastity, may be possible provided special conditions (which I’ll mention), but is not practically feasible for most gay men or women,…

13 min
beyond humanism?

There are many people who do not believe in gods in any sense. Some are fervent atheists, but there are also very uninterested atheists too, non-believers who just aren’t that bothered about religion. Such people are just as uninterested in campaigns of the kind conducted by the New Atheists or the New Humanists as they are in discussions promoting the existence of God, or of gods. They just do not want to talk about God at all. They have moved beyond that discourse, perhaps to the most atheistic place there is – the place where the gods are simply forgotten. Such people are sometimes now called ‘apatheists’, and there is evidence that their number is growing, particularly among the young. Apatheists have no interest in philosophical discussions about the existence…