Plato, the person whom many philosophers still admire as the quintessential thinker, conveyed all his thoughts on the emerging discipline philosophy through a character appearing in dialogues. That character, Socrates, lived a fairly marginalized life. He did not teach in a school; he taught in the streets of Athens. He did not engage is very esoteric discussions; there is some practical, real world concern at the heart of each of Plato’s dialogues. And Socrates challenged everyone with whom he conversed to think through their beliefs.
Historians of philosophy tell us that Plato’s emphases on dialectic, skepticism, and reason are the key features of philosophy, but I have always believed that the public relevance and practicality of Plato’s concerns ought to be emphasized as well. So, this week, I present to you a carnival of philosophical inquiries into practical issues.
David Hunter presents two pieces on the ethics of killing. Killing me softly with his political theory: Social Change, Suicide and Political Theory appears at the International Network for Ethical Issues in Resource Allocation and Killing people in Research: Would you approve? appears at Philosophy and Bioethics.
At a time when war goes largely unquestioned and unexamined, Shaheen Lakhan submitted a refreshing piece by guest writer Frank MacHovec asking whether war is a psychosis?. It’s over at GNIF Brain Blogger.
Enigman asks whether philosophical materialism amounts to an unjustified conception of a god in A Mysterious Subject.
Thad Guy submitted his comic entry Denying Causation, and I invite you to look at his other question-raising strips as well.
Philosophers throughout history have weighed in on how students ought to be educated, but Michele Loi wonders what kind of parents Humeans, Kantians and Aristotelians would be.
In his post Freedom in Physicalism, Bryan Norwood invites us to attempt to figure out with him what the experience of freedom within physicalism might look like. It’s posted on his blog Movement of Existence.
We have two entries from the Florida Student Philosophy blog this week. First, Jennifer Lawson presents Examples for Teaching Intro. Next, Quincy Faircloth asks what makes the difference between mere sexual interest and perversion.
Avery Archer takes on the daunting (and sometimes futile) task of arguing with fundamentalists in The Philosopher vs. the Biblical Fundamentalist.
A final note: I received many more entries than those which appear here. I took editorial liberties, including only those entries I thought were on topic (the topic was posted well in advance), those that are philosophical rather than didactic (i.e. I did not include self-help prescriptions), and those I could understand.