Eric Alfred Havelock (/ˈhævlɒk/; 3 June 1903 – 4 April 1988) was a British classicist who spent most of his life in Canada and the United States. He was a professor at the University of Toronto and was active in the Canadian socialist movement during the 1930s. In the 1960s and 1970s, he served as chair of the classics departments at both Harvard and Yale. Although he was trained in the turn-of-the-20th-century Oxbridge tradition of classical studies, which saw Greek intellectual history as an unbroken chain of related ideas, Havelock broke radically with his own teachers and proposed an entirely new model for understanding the classical world, based on a sharp division between literature of the 6th and 5th centuries BC on the one hand, and that of the 4th on the other.
Much of Havelock's work was devoted to addressing a single thesis: that all of Western thought is informed by a profound shift in the kinds of ideas available to the human mind at the point that Greek philosophy converted from an oral to a literate form. The idea has been controversial in classical studies, and has been rejected outright both by many of Havelock's contemporaries and modern classicists. Havelock and his ideas have nonetheless had far-reaching influence, both in classical studies and other academic areas. He and Walter J. Ong (who was himself strongly influenced by Havelock) essentially founded the field that studies transitions from orality to literacy, and Havelock has been one of the most frequently cited theorists in that field; as an account of communication, his work profoundly affected the media theories of Harold Innis and Marshall McLuhan. Havelock's influence has spread beyond the study of the classical world to that of analogous transitions in other times and places. (Full article...)
The problem of religious language considers whether it is possible to talk about God meaningfully if the traditional conceptions of God as being incorporeal, infinite, and timeless, are accepted. Because these traditional conceptions of God make it difficult to describe God, religious language has the potential to be meaningless. Theories of religious language either attempt to demonstrate that such language is meaningless, or attempt to show how religious language can still be meaningful.
Traditionally, religious language has been explained as via negativa, analogy, symbolism, or myth, each of which describes a way of talking about God in human terms. The via negativa is a way of referring to God according to what God is not; analogy uses human qualities as standards against which to compare divine qualities; symbolism is used non-literally to describe otherwise ineffable experiences; and a mythological interpretation of religion attempts to reveal fundamental truths behind religious stories. Alternative explanations of religious language cast it as having political, performative, or imperative functions. (Full article...)
Intelligent design (ID) is a pseudoscientific argument for the existence of God, presented by its proponents as "an evidence-based scientific theory about life's origins". Proponents claim that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection." ID is a form of creationism that lacks empirical support and offers no testable or tenable hypotheses, and is therefore not science. The leading proponents of ID are associated with the Discovery Institute, a Christian, politically conservative think tank based in the United States.
Thomas More (7 February 1478 — 6 July 1535), posthumously known also as Saint Thomas More, was an Englishlawyer, author, and statesman. During his lifetime he earned a reputation as a leading humanist scholar and occupied many public offices, including that of Lord Chancellor from 1529 to 1532. More coined the word "utopia", a name he gave to an ideal, imaginary island nation whose political system he described in a book published in 1516. He is chiefly remembered for his principled refusal to accept King Henry VIII's claim to be the supreme head of the Church in England, a decision which ended his political career and led to his execution as a traitor.
Moral realism is the view in philosophy that there are objectivemoral values. Moral realists argue that moral judgments describe moral facts. This combines a cognitivist view about moral judgments (they are truth-evaluable mental states that describe the state of the world), a view about the existence of moral facts (they do in fact exist), and a view about the nature of moral facts (they are objective: independent of our cognizing them, or our stance towards them, etc.). It contrasts with expressivist or non-cognitivist theories of moral judgment, error theories of moral judgments, fictionalist theories of moral judgment and constructivist or relativist theories of the nature of moral facts.
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Marcellina was an early ChristianCarpocratian religious leader in the mid-second century AD known primarily from the writings of Irenaeus and Origen. She originated in Alexandria, but moved to Rome during the episcopate of Anicetus (c. 157 – 168). She attracted large numbers of followers and founded the Carpocratian sect of Marcellians. Like other Carpocratians, Marcellina and her followers believed in antinomianism, also known as libertinism, the idea that obedience to laws and regulations is unnecessary in order to attain salvation. They believed that Jesus was only a man, but saw him as a model to be emulated, albeit one which a believer was capable of surpassing. Marcellina's community appears to have sought to literally implement the foundational Carpocratian teaching of social egalitarianism. The Marcellians in particular are reported to have branded their disciples on the insides of their right earlobes and venerated images of Jesus as well as Greek philosophers such as Pythagoras, Plato, and Aristotle. Although the Marcellians identified themselves as "gnostics", many modern scholars do not classify them as members of the sect of Gnosticism. (Full article...)
Amid the rain, Dante and Virgil encounter Cerberus, as illustrated by Stradanus
The tempest of lust, with Minos in the distance, as illustrated by Stradanus
From 2001, Varner embarked on a research project exploring animals in Hare's two-level utilitarianism. Personhood, Ethics, and Animal Cognition, published by Oxford University Press in 2012, was the first monograph arising from this project. In the book, Varner moved away from his biocentrism, instead endorsing a developed version of Hare's ethics. Varner draws a distinction between persons, near-persons and merely sentient beings; although all are morally considerable, the lives of persons are of the most significance, and the lives of merely sentient beings are of the least. The practical consequences of this view, though initial comments were offered in Personhood, Ethics, and Animal Cognition, will be explored in Sustaining Animals, forthcoming with Oxford University Press. (Full article...)
Image 2The center third of Education (1890), a stained glass window by Louis Comfort Tiffany and Tiffany Studios, located in Linsly-Chittenden Hall at Yale University. It depicts Science (personified by Devotion, Labor, Truth, Research and Intuition) and Religion (personified by Purity, Faith, Hope, Reverence and Inspiration) in harmony, presided over by the central personification of "Light·Love·Life".
Image 17Oscar Wilde reclining with Poems, by Napoleon Sarony, in New York in 1882. Wilde often liked to appear idle, though in fact he worked hard; by the late 1880s he was a father, an editor, and a writer.
Philosophy ponders the most fundamental questions humankind has been able to ask. These are increasingly numerous and over time they have been arranged into the overlapping branches of the philosophy tree:
Aesthetics: What is art? What is beauty? Is there a standard of taste? Is art meaningful? If so, what does it mean? What is good art? Is art for the purpose of an end, or is "art for art's sake?" What connects us to art? How does art affect us? Is some art unethical? Can art corrupt or elevate societies?
Epistemology: What are the nature and limits of knowledge? What is more fundamental to human existence, knowing (epistemology) or being (ontology)? How do we come to know what we know? What are the limits and scope of knowledge? How can we know that there are other minds (if we can)? How can we know that there is an external world (if we can)? How can we prove our answers? What is a true statement?
Ethics: Is there a difference between ethically right and wrong actions (or values, or institutions)? If so, what is that difference? Which actions are right, and which wrong? Do divine commands make right acts right, or is their rightness based on something else? Are there standards of rightness that are absolute, or are all such standards relative to particular cultures? How should I live? What is happiness?
Logic: What makes a good argument? How can I think critically about complicated arguments? What makes for good thinking? When can I say that something just does not make sense? Where is the origin of logic?
Metaphysics: What sorts of things exist? What is the nature of those things? Do some things exist independently of our perception? What is the nature of space and time? What is the relationship of the mind to the body? What is it to be a person? What is it to be conscious? Do gods exist?
Political philosophy: Are political institutions and their exercise of power justified? What is justice? Is there a 'proper' role and scope of government? Is democracy the best form of governance? Is governance ethically justifiable? Should a state be allowed? Should a state be able to promote the norms and values of a certain moral or religious doctrine? Are states allowed to go to war? Do states have duties against inhabitants of other states?