Author Archives: Bob Shepherd

About Bob Shepherd

interests: curriculum design, educational technology, learning, linguistics, hermeneutics, rhetoric, philosophy (Continental philosophy, Existentialism, metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, epistemology, ethics), classical and jazz guitar, poetry, the short story, archaeology and cultural anthropology, history of religion, prehistory, veganism, sustainability, Anglo-Saxon literature and language, systems for emergent quality control, heuristics for innovation

I’m Woke. You Should Be, Too, by Diane Ravitch

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

Things I Worry About: How Alternative Fact Worldviews Enable Fascism

George Santayana, in Reason in Religion, makes the argument that religion serves the same sort of purposes that poetry does and that, while not literally true,* is nonetheless elevating. William James, in Varieties of Religious Experience, makes a pragmatic argument … Continue reading

Posted in Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Trump (Don the Con) | 4 Comments

On Putting Powerful Tools in Unskilled Hands: Two Egregious Tendencies in Contemporary Poetry

NB: Several of the examples I use in this essay come from various essays by Randall Jarrell that I read years ago in my own wayward youth. If this were a scholarly piece, I would track those down and footnote … Continue reading

Posted in Poetry, Teaching Literature and Writing | 10 Comments

Why Is Christianity So Weird?

Imagine for a moment that you have never heard of Christianity. Seriously. Try this. A little thought experiment. A missionary comes to you and says, “Here’s the deal. There’s this all-powerful guy in the sky, and he created everything, including the … Continue reading

Posted in Metaphysics, Philosophy, Religion | 2 Comments

On the Dobbs Decision: It Can Happen, It Is Happening, Here

I’ve never liked the term unenumerated rights because the point is not whether they are numbered but whether they are expressed, so until now, I have avoided it in my comments on this decision. But that’s the standard legal term … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Religion, Sex and Gender, Trump (Don the Con) | 17 Comments

Ukraine and the U.S.: A Tale of Two Republics

In literary studies, a foil is a character who stands in contrast to another character, thereby throwing the qualities of the other character into sharp relief. I’d like to share an example, which I’ll call, “A Tale of Two Republics.”  … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Trump (Don the Con) | 5 Comments

How to Become an Expert on Military Strategy and Preparedness

Too bad we don’t have a stable genius like Donald Trump in the offal office right now, given the war in Ukraine. He is soooooo well informed! Here, a blast from the past, Trump talking to NBC reporter Chuck Todd … Continue reading

Posted in Humor, Politics, Trump (Don the Con) | 5 Comments

What George Orwell Had to Say about Alternative Facts Universes like Those of Putin and Trump

We live in an open society, and so it is relatively easy for Putin to embed agents (e.g., Maria Butina) and recruit assets here to spread his “truths.” Because we are awash in agents and assets (witting and unwitting) of … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Trump (Don the Con) | Leave a comment

Diane Ravitch Responds to Putinist Trolls

Please read this moving piece by my candidate for Greatest Living American, Diane Ravitch. As she so often does, she nails this. Dr. Ravitch writes: As regular readers know, I have received and posted several comments complaining that I don’t … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 5 Comments

An Existentialist Perspective on Russia v. the West

This is an excerpt from a PBS interview with the profound, learned, witty, altogether brilliant Russian political scholar and former member of the Russian Duma Ekaterina Schulmann. It’s from a series called The Putin Files. I say that this is … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Trump (Don the Con) | Leave a comment