Aristotle on AI

Apparently the world is all agog over a computer program called ChatGPT. It’s a harbinger of yet another emergency disaster crisis! The singularity is near! We’re facing an imminent reality collapse! We won’t be able to tell fake from real, machine from human, false from true! How will we know what information to trust?!? Well,Continue reading “Aristotle on AI”

The Emergency Disaster Crisis

One reason I don’t pay much attention to the news is that just about everything being reported on is an emergency, a disaster, a crisis! I like to run them all together and say that we’re in the midst of an Emergency Disaster Crisis. Naturally, what you consider part of the Emergency Disaster Crisis is aContinue reading “The Emergency Disaster Crisis”

The Circles of Friendship

As noted last week, Robin Dunbar, who has done amazing research into close personal relationships, is best known for “Dunbar’s Number” – his finding that the typical friends network contains about 150 people (as discussed in a recent post by Arnold Kling). Yet as I also noted long ago in my blog post “Joining theContinue reading “The Circles of Friendship”

Metaphysics in Verse II

Among the strangest conceptions of metaphysics is Aristotle’s fanciful (or perhaps deadly serious) hypothesis of the Unmoved Mover. It’s difficult to understand quite what he was getting at, and I’m not about to formulate a scholarly exegesis of the idea. But I did compose a little poem about it: Had I a god, I’m sureContinue reading “Metaphysics in Verse II”

The Seven Pillars of Friendship

Love, friendship, and other close personal relationships have been ill-served in the philosophical literature. Aside from Aristotle’s foundational discussion and the occasional essay by the likes of Montaigne, Bacon, and Emerson, few philosophers have contributed deep insights to human relationships. This is disappointing, because as Aristotle observed 2400 years ago we are social creatures forContinue reading “The Seven Pillars of Friendship”

Best Self vs. True Self

As previously mentioned, I am skeptical about the notion of the true self. Recently I’ve done some reading that has reinforced this skepticism. In particular, research by the likes of Roy Baumeister shows that human beings tend to identify with the activities and desires that they think are best (either individually or socially) and toContinue reading “Best Self vs. True Self”

Metaphysics in Verse

One of the things I do to avoid exposure to the news is immerse myself in poetry. Most recently I’ve been reading English and American poets from the 1500s and 1600s, such as Anne Bradstreet, Samuel Daniel, and Thomas Traherne. At the same time, I’ve started an intensive re-reading of Aristotelian texts and commentary inContinue reading “Metaphysics in Verse”

Growing into One’s Nature

Existentialist philosophers insist on the ability – indeed, the responsibility – for human beings to create themselves. This is the import of Sartre’s famous formulation “existence precedes essence”: there is no human essence, and if you believe so then you are engaging in “bad faith” and living inauthentically. Given all that we have discovered soContinue reading “Growing into One’s Nature”

Goodness Trumps Uniqueness

Advocates of modern eudaimonism and the “true self” place great value on individual uniqueness. Consider David L. Norton in his 1976 book Personal Destinies (p. 16): According to self-actualization ethics it is every person’s primary responsibility first to discover the daimon [on p. 5 equated with the “true self”] within him and thereafter to live in accordanceContinue reading “Goodness Trumps Uniqueness”