Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Small deaths and the real death: how humans are failing

Guest post by Federico TabelliniThis article was originally published last year on the Italian blog ‘Effetto Cassandra’. I repropose it here because I think the coronavirus crisis has made it somehow more relevant. The current situation raises new questions: is this new crisis just another ‘small death’ on a much wider scale? Or is it an opportunity to highlight the global ecological crisis we’ve been ignoring for decades? If it’s the latter, will the lights turn off once the emergency is over? Will the world return once more to blissful ignorance?Seneca used to say that death, real death, is a process of small deaths lived day by day. Yet people deal with the real death only when its effects come to a head when the proverbial last straw breaks the camel’s back, and the camel falls upon us with all its weight. Then, yes, we notice both the straw and the camel. Until then, however – or perhaps we should say, until now – the small deaths dominate our thoughts.The difference between these small deaths and true death lies in three factors: spatial proximity, temporal proximity, and speed of execution. What's near worries us more than what's far, the present issues are more important than the future ones, the event more than the process. Such is human nature. We are biologically programmed to pay more attention to current events, the forthcoming ordeal, the tragedy that we can experience first-hand. We mourn the tree burning in the garden while the forest on the horizon is [More]

The Denial of Death and Risk Assessment

The threat of widespread death from COVID-19 has become so all consuming that we're willing to give up real community, finances, jobs, possibly a healthy mental life, and, perhaps worst of all, the ability to buy toilet paper at any local store. We’ve somehow decided that all the things we thought we apparently valued prior to the disease can be set aside because this one option—stopping the spread of COVID-19—is the only thing that matters. [More]

David Efird (1974-2020)

David Efird, senior lecturer in philosophy at the University of York, died unexpectedly last Thursday. Dr. Efird worked in philosophy of religion, analytic theology, metaphysics, and epistemology. He had taught philosophy at York since 2002, and at the time of his death was the principal of one of the university’s colleges. He earned his D.Phil at Oxford University and his undergraduate degree at Duke University. He also studied at Princeton Theological Seminary and the University of Edinburgh. He became a priest in 2011. You can learn more about his work here and here. The post David Efird (1974-2020) appeared first on Daily [More]

Roger Scruton (1944-2020)

Roger Scruton, a philosopher who for many years taught at Birkbeck College, London, held various other academic appointments, wrote extensively for the public, and who was knighted in 2016 for “services to philosophy, teaching and public education”, has died. Scruton received his undergraduate and graduate education at Cambridge University. He taught at Birkbeck from 1971 to 1992. He also held appointments at other schools, including Boston University, Buckingham University, and Oxford University, as well as think tanks, such as the American Enterprise Institute. Scruton was known largely for his work in aesthetics and for his advocacy of traditional conservatism. Much of his writing was aimed at the broader public. He founded the conservative periodical The Salisbury Review, produced a wine column for The New Statesman for nine years, authored non-fiction books as well as novels, and even wrote libretti for opera. In 2018 he was appointed to the British government’s Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission, to advise on housing design. He died after a six-month battle with cancer. [This post will be updated with links to obituaries elsewhere.] The post Roger Scruton (1944-2020) appeared first on Daily [More]

On Philip Seymour Hoffman

While Hoffman's passing is upsetting, I have an overall sense of gratitude and found myself actually envying his accomplishments rather than fixating on his death. He left us something and he used his great skill as an actor to show us something about the world and about ourselves. Few of us, even if we live to a ripe old age, will have either the talent or the opportunity to do what he did. [More]

The Daily Owl 12-30-2013

The threat of death is the most common symbol for anxiety, but most of us in our ‘civilized’ era do not find ourselves looking into the barrel of a gun or in other ways specifically threatened with death very often. The great bulk of our anxiety comes when some value we hold essential to our existence as selves is threatened. (May) [More]

Latest News


Here are some of the things going on in philosophy
and the humanities.

See all News Items

Philosopher Spotlight


Conversations with philosophers, professional and non-professional alike.
Visit our podcast section for more interviews and conversations.

Interview with

Dr. Robert McKim
  • on Religious Diversity
  • Professor of Religion and Professor of Philosophy
  • Focuses on Philosophy of Religion
  • Ph.D. Yale

Interview with

Dr. Alvin Plantinga
  • on Where the Conflict Really Lies
  • Emeritus Professor of Philosophy (UND)
  • Focuses on Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Religion
  • Ph.D. Yale

Interview with

Dr. Peter Boghossian
  • on faith as a cognitive sickness
  • Teaches Philosophy at Portland State University (Oregon)
  • Focuses on atheism and critical thinking
  • Has a passion for teaching in prisons
See all interviews

30500

Twitter followers

10000+

News items posted

32000+

Page views per month

21 years

in publication

Latest Articles


\
See all Articles