George Mason University Department of Philosophy

George Mason University Department of Philosophy Home of graduate and undergraduate programs in philosophy at George Mason University.
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Another ad for the Theories of Knowledge course next semester...
07/23/2020

Another ad for the Theories of Knowledge course next semester...

07/08/2020

Lately I've been watching the Harry Potter movies for the nth time. So here a few philosopher's quibbles about Harry Potter: First, if a soul is indivisible [see Descartes, Rene], how can Voldemort split his into seven pieces? Or, if a soul *is* divisible, then when Harry and the gang destroy one, shouldn't Big V be 1/7 dead? Second, what do they teach at Hogwarts? Magic, of course, but if it's truly magical and not scientific (i.e. expressible in terms of causal laws [see Hume, David]), then they're just memorizing stuff nonstop for seven years straight. Third, if polyjuice potion were real, even within the Harry Potter universe, it would defeat its own purpose, because we would no longer have any reason to associate a given appearance with a particular person [see Wittgenstein, Ludwig]. The only reason it works in the books is because our intrepid heroes seem to be the only one who know about it.

I conclude that the Harry Potter universe is highly implausible.

In related news, there are still good seats available in PHIL373: Theories of Knowledge next semester! If you get the jo...
06/25/2020

In related news, there are still good seats available in PHIL373: Theories of Knowledge next semester! If you get the joke in this image, you'll know why I mention the course.

Heavy.
05/09/2020

Heavy.

05/02/2020
Happy 296th birthday, Immanuel Kant! You hardly look a day over 250-- I mean that sincerely.
04/22/2020

Happy 296th birthday, Immanuel Kant! You hardly look a day over 250-- I mean that sincerely.

Communitarian philosopher Michael Sandel: "In recent decades, governing elites have done little to make life better for ...
04/20/2020
Opinion | Are We All in This Together?

Communitarian philosopher Michael Sandel: "In recent decades, governing elites have done little to make life better for the nearly two-thirds of Americans who do not have a college degree. And they have failed to confront what should be one of the central questions of our politics: How can we ensure that Americans who do not inhabit the privileged ranks of the professional classes find dignified work that enables them to support a family, contribute to their community and win social esteem?" https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/13/opinion/sunday/covid-workers-healthcare-fairness.html

The pandemic has helpfully scrambled how we value everyone’s economic and social roles.

Nietzsche, 2020: "Oh my God, people, if I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times: 5/8ths of a college degree and ...
04/15/2020
Noted Philosophers Reconsider Their Key Insights After a Month of Social Distancing

Nietzsche, 2020: "Oh my God, people, if I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times: 5/8ths of a college degree and a plane ticket to a warm beach town do not make you the übermensch. Just follow the CDC guidelines, for Christ’s sake — that’s our new secular morality. And yeah, I said “oh my God” and “for Christ’s sake.” Deal with it." https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/noted-philosophers-reconsider-their-key-insights-after-a-month-of-social-distancing

Sartre 1944: Hell is other people. April 2020: All this time, I thought the problem was viewing myself through the lens of others’ subjectivities. ...

Sounds like hell to me!
04/11/2020

Sounds like hell to me!

If hell exists ...

04/04/2020
Any Foucault (or Magritte) fans out there?
04/02/2020

Any Foucault (or Magritte) fans out there?

My dream come true...
03/30/2020

My dream come true...

George Mason University Department of Philosophy's cover photo
03/24/2020

George Mason University Department of Philosophy's cover photo

Stay safe, everyone!
03/11/2020

Stay safe, everyone!

3 steps to protect yourself against the coronavirus:
1) Get a copy of Hegel's Phenomenology (cheaper than hand sanitizer)
2) Read it from cover to cover (should keep you busy at home for at least two weeks)
3) Try to talk to others about it (they will avoid you at all costs)

Bet you didn't see this coming: Instant replay and the Sorites paradox! https://deadspin.com/a-philosophers-definitive-a...
10/03/2019
A Philosopher's Definitive (And Slightly Maddening) Case Against Replay Review

Bet you didn't see this coming: Instant replay and the Sorites paradox! https://deadspin.com/a-philosophers-definitive-and-slightly-maddening-case-1838637147

The motivation for using video review in sports is obvious: to get more calls right. This seems like an easy enough mission to fulfill, but anyone who has spent even a little time watching sports on TV can attest to the fact that the application of video review is not so simple. In most sports where...

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