Please see below selected recent philosophy-related change.
- What's New? - Philosophy
- What's Changing? - Humanism
- What's Changing? - Ideas
- What's Changing? - Knowledge
- What's Changing? - Meaning
- What's Changing? - Religion
- On Albert Camus
- On David Hume
- On Jean-Paul Sartre
- On Theodore Zeldin
- On Voltaire
- The Stoics
- Philosophy is often told as a story leaping straight from the Ancient Greeks to the Renaissance with little in between. The American academic Peter Adamson, who teaches in Munich and London, challenged the old narrative with his podcast The History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps.
- According to philosopher Michel Weber, Western philosophy has ignored the psychedelic experience for too long. The focus on a particular logical framework is misplaced and an emphasis on empiricism cannot be complete until we take into account all experiences. Philosophy of mind has been crippled, since its very beginnings, by two main prejudices. First, the "blind implementation" of the traditional Western logical framework, that boils down to Aristotelian logic; second, the perennial neglect of crucially relevant empirical data, in so far as, in most arguments, sense-perception is reduced to sight alone. We can overcome these crippling effects if we take into account data coming not only from the other external senses, but also from internal senses, as well as what is gathered in altered states of mind, including the psychedelic state, claims Weber.
- Stephen Hawking reportedly once said, “Philosophy is dead.” However, the Four Schools of Greek Philosophy - Stoicism, Epicureanism, Cynicism, and Scepticism - contain much wisdom that is still applicable today. For instance, elements of Stoicism form the foundation of cognitive behavioral therapy, which is used by psychologists to treat patients with a range of conditions, from anxiety to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
- The wisdom of philosophy is – in modern times – mostly delivered in the form of books, noted The School of Life (TSOL). But in the past, philosophers sat in market squares and discussed their ideas with shopkeepers or went into government offices and palaces to give advice. It wasn’t abnormal to have a philosopher on the payroll. Philosophy was thought of as a normal, basic activity – rather than as an unusual, esoteric, optional extra. Nowadays, it’s not so much that we overtly deny this thought – we are always getting snippets of wisdom here and there – but we just don’t have the right institutions set up to promulgate wisdom coherently in the world. In the future, though, when the value of philosophy is a little clearer, we can expect to meet more philosophers in daily life, added TSOL.
- Professor David Egan, author of The Pursuit of an Authentic Philosophy: Wittgenstein, Heidegger, and the Everyday, believes that in fact we’re all doing philosophy all the time. We can’t escape the question of what matters and why: the way we’re living is itself our implicit answer to that question. A large part of a formal philosophical training is therefore to make those implicit answers explicit, and then to examine them rigorously. Philosophical reflection, once you get started in it, can seem endlessly demanding, but if we can’t avoid living philosophically, it seems sensible to learn to do it well.
- “Philosophy’s main task is to respond to the soul’s cry; to make sense of and thereby free ourselves from the hold of our griefs and fears,” wrote Sharon Lebell in her book The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness.
- Philosopher Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, author of“Plato at the Googleplex, told The Atlantic that philosophy teaches people to “think critically” and “challenge your own point of view...it’s us at our most human. And it helps us increase our humanity."
- One of the great unexplained wonders of human history is that written philosophy flowered entirely separately in China, India and Ancient Greece at more or less the same time. These early philosophies have had a profound impact on the development of distinctive cultures in different parts of the world. Thinking in different places has a varied influence on our cultures, our ideals and how we see ourselves.
- Further reading:
- One of the great unexplained wonders of human history is that written philosophy flowered entirely separately in China, India and Ancient Greece at more or less the same time. These early philosophies have had a profound impact on the development of distinctive cultures in different parts of the world. What we call “philosophy” in the west is not even half the story. In Prospect, Julian Baggini set out to expand our horizons in How the World Thinks, which explored the philosophies of Japan, India, China and the Muslim world, as well as the lesser-known oral traditions of Africa and Australia’s first peoples.
- World Philosophy Day is an annual occasion to consider the impact of philosophy and big ideas around the world and across cultures and an opportunity to reflect on the intellectual challenges that are confronting humanity today, whether that be enviromental damage, rising political tensions and a renewed nationalist fervour, or calculated attempts to undermine respect in truth. iai spoke to experts across the discipline to put together a list of their recommended philosophy books that everyone should read.
- Further reading:
- It’s time to decolonise philosophy, argued Quartz. In South Africa, for example, many universities still teach philosophy through the lens of dead white European men. However, there is a growing movement to incorporate African ideas like ubuntu - a humanist principle that holds that the self exists in relation to others - into college curriculums, offering students a new way to look at ethics, morality, and free will.
- When we are furious, paranoid, weak-willed or sad, Stoicism is on hand – as it has been for 2,000 years, to nurse us with wisdom and friendship, argued The School of Life. We must always try to picture the worst that could happen - and then remind ourselves that the worst is survivable. The goal is not to imagine that bad things don’t unfold; it’s to see that we are far stronger than we think.
- The School of Life also outlined what Stoic philosophers call the ‘inner citadel,’ a minimal self immune from the cruelty of fortune: a different sort of happiness can be found by focusing on all that fortune can never make one lose, specifically one’s powers of reasoning, which give one access to the beauty, mystery and complexity of the universe. True philosophers rise above their immediate circumstances, become indifferent to their own fate and identify with the vast forces of history and nature.
- Philosophy, Mary Midgley wrote, “is best understood as a form of plumbing”. Our thinking depends on hidden assumptions, and “we don’t notice this background till things start to go wrong - until the smell coming up from below is so bad that we are forced to take up the floorboards and do something about it", reported Prospect.
- Further reading:
- Changing the Subject is a history of philosophy in 12 thinkers. There are self-contained essays on Socrates, Plato, Lucretius, Augustine, Montaigne, Hobbes, Hegel, Nietzsche, Lukács, Heidegger, Wittgenstein and Adorno; but Descartes, Locke, Leibniz, Hume and Kant don’t even make it to the index.
- Stephen Hawking declared that science had replaced philosophy as the torch-bearer of knowledge. And many philosophers now equally see metaphysics as a mere exercise in language. A new course aimed to revive metaphysics and address the big questions of substance, causation and consciousness.
- Pythagoras coined the word philosopher to describe himself as a “lover of wisdom” — a love the subject of which he encapsulated in a short, insightful meditation on the uses of philosophy in human life.
- Aristotle, student of Plato and tutor of Alexander the Great, continually returned to the idea that the cultivation of a practical ethical life was the surest route to happiness or eudaimonia. But as a new book argues, eudaimonia isn’t something passive: “it requires positive input,” and the development of self-conscious habit.
- Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations remains one of humanity’s most significant and influential packets of thought on what it means to live a meaningful life.
- Thomas Aquinas was a man of deep faith, and provided a philosophical framework for the process of doubt and open scientific inquiry. For The School of Life (TSOL), he reminds us that wisdom (that is, the ideas we need) can come from multiple sources. From intuition but also from rationality, from science but also from revelation, from pagans but also from monks: he’s sympathetic to all of these; he takes and uses whatever works, without caring where the ideas come from.
- TSOL founder Alain de Botton, author of The Consolations of Philosophy explored in an animated essay the case for what we lose, as a culture and as individuals, when we banish philosophy to the academy rather than seeing it as a powerful and necessary tool of government, leadership, and personal growth in everyday life.
- Further reading:
- Eastern Philosophy has always had a very similar goal to Western philosophy, argued The School of Life (TSOL): that of making us wiser, less agitated, more thoughtful and readier to appreciate our lives. However, the way it has gone about this has been intriguingly different. In the East, Philosophy has taught its lessons via tea drinking ceremonies, walks in bamboo forests, contemplations of rivers and ritualised flower arranging sessions. TSOL presented a few ideas to offer us the distinctive wisdom of Eastern Philosophy to enrich our notions of what philosophy might really be.
- If the big questions are: 1. How was the world created? 2. Is there any will or meaning behind the world? Is there life after death? and 4. How ought we to live?, then as many get older they increasingly find number 4. by far the most interesting and important.
- A designer created a series of philosophy posters, representing some of his favourite thinkers and ideas and using the best paper, processes and shipping materials.
- See also: