Monthly Archives: February 2014

A Cup of Tea

Many years ago, a professor from one of the western world’s great universities went to visit the Japanese master Nan-in to learn about Zen. Nan-in invited the professor to sit and offered him tea. As Nan-in prepared the tea, the … Continue reading

Posted in Epistemology, Philosophy, Teaching Literature and Writing | 6 Comments

The Limits of Learning

OK, I admit it. I haven’t read The Vicar of Wakefield. I’m always suspicious of people who have that air about them of having read everything.  I’m onto them. Here’s why: Years ago, when I was an undergraduate at Indiana, … Continue reading

Posted in Epistemology, Teaching Literature and Writing | 9 Comments

Theories of the Origins of Religion

 “Why are there ants on the sidewalk?” asked the author of a popular science book. Well, people drop onto sidewalks stuff that ants like to eat. Sidewalks provide an unbroken substrate for the chemical trails that ants follow. And, of … Continue reading

Posted in Metaphysics, Philosophy, Religion | 6 Comments

A Brief Analysis of Two Common [sic] Core [sic] State [sic] Standards [sic] in ELA

“And be these juggling fiends no more believed, / That palter with us in a double sense.” –William Shakespeare, Macbeth The defenders of the CC$$ often make the claim that “the standards do not tell you what to teach.” That’s … Continue reading

Posted in Ed Reform | 37 Comments

Aidan Reading on the Way to Preschool

So, Aidan was asking whether I thought that the being of self-consciousness is such that in its being its being is in question, and I said, “Come on, Aidan, you’re old enough to figure that out for yourself,” which he … Continue reading

Posted in Existentialism, Metaphysics, Philosophy, Philosophy of Mind, Short Stories | 3 Comments

Prototypes versus Aristotelian Categories in the Teaching of Writing

During the last few decades of the twentieth century, rhetorical ideas dominated academic discourse in the humanities. It is difficult to overstate, for example, the influence during that time of such ideas as “All speech is political” or “Readers construct … Continue reading

Posted in Teaching Literature and Writing | 3 Comments

The Tractatus Comico-Philosophicus: Martin Heidegger

Martin Heidegger Cares (Except When He Doesn’t) We didn’t ask for this crap. We fell into it, like some amnesiac thrown onto a stage, without a script, in the middle of a play already underway. (So, your first reaction is, … Continue reading

Posted in Existentialism, Humor, Philosophy | 1 Comment

The Tractatus Comico-Philosophicus: Rene Descartes

Rene Descartes Explains It All to You Here’s my method: I start by trying to doubt everything. I realize, however, that I cannot doubt that I am doubting, that I am thinking. Therefore, I exist. (I think; therefore, I am.) … Continue reading

Posted in Humor, Philosophy, Philosophy of Mind | Leave a comment

The Tractatus Comico-Philosophicus: Søren Aabye Kierkegaard

Søren Kierkegaard Takes a Leap of Faith Being a human being is weird. We’re not predetermined. Because we are free, nothing is required of us. All that we have, then, are our absurd commitments. Real commitment is shown when we … Continue reading

Posted in Existentialism, Humor, Philosophy | 1 Comment

Philosophical Zombies with Chairs in Philosophy of Mind

For Rebecca Goldstein Daniel Dennett called one of his books Consciousness Explained. He should have called it Why, Even with My Gifts, I Cannot Explain Consciousness Away. Dennett gives a compelling account of how various unconscious events occur in our … Continue reading

Posted in Metaphysics, Philosophy, Philosophy of Mind | 8 Comments