Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

What Are Love and Sex? Eight Answers from Philosophy

For Valentine’s Day this year, we/ve compiled a collage of extracts of classic and recent Western post-war philosophy, theory and ideas on sex and love – from exploring the cultural roots of our feelings and the apparent tensions between self-love and love for others, to heterosexual desire and transgender sexual experience, and the limits of our imagination regarding sex robots. ___LOVE AS ART"Is love an art? Then it requires knowledge and effort. Or is love a pleasant sensation, which to experience is a matter of chance, something one 'falls into' if one is lucky? This little book is based on the former premise, while undoubtedly the majority of people today believe in the latter. Not that people think that love is not important. They are starved for it; they watch endless numbers of films about happy and unhappy love stories, they listen to hundreds of trashy songs about love — yet hardly anyone thinks that there is anything that needs to be learned about love. This peculiar [More]

On Being Naked and Having Sex

Even though it may cause embarrassment, nudity is frequently easier to discuss than gender. Nudity might seem to reveal gender, in so far as clothed men and women can sometimes confuse onlookers about their gender. It used to be thought that nudity undoes that confusion, but now we know better: seeing a person’s genitals does not tell us his or her gender.  Such simplistic correspondence is a thing of the past. Of course, social conservatives can and often do disagree with this new view.A society unevenly committed to the idea of gay equality might pretend to fight nudity when in fact it is blocking a political crusade. A society with a puritanical inheritance can insist it is only being true to itself when it punishes some instances of nudity. A predominantly Christian society in which women regularly expose décolleté, arms and legs might look askance at non-Christian women who refuse to.An old topic indeed, nudity befuddled Americans anew at the outset of the 21rst century. Rest [More]

The 10 Year Green Plan

The new Democrats (“greenocrats”) have proposed a Green New Deal focused on climate change and radically changing the economy of the United States. As would be expected, the plan has been presented in strawman fashion (presenting a distorted or exaggerated version in place of the real thing) by many of its critics. Trump, for example, [More]

Truthmakers

[Revised entry by Fraser MacBride on February 13, 2019. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] This much is agreed: "x makes it true that p" is a construction that signifies, if it signifies anything at all, a relation borne to a truth-bearer by something else, a truth-maker. But it isn't generally agreed what that something else might be, or what truth-bearers are, or what the character might be of the relationship that holds, if it does, between them, or even whether such a relationship ever does hold. Indeed sometimes there's barely enough agreement amongst the parties to [More]

Once in a Lifetime: Should you plan your life?

Image from Brett Streutker via FlickrHave you ever met somebody who has it all worked out? Someone who had their life goals identified from a young age and worked their damnedest to achieve them? Someone with tunnel vision and focus? I know I have. I have met people who have known exactly what they want to do and how they want to do it since their early teens. At times I envy them. They have such certainty and conviction. They never seem waver from their plan.I must say I am cut from a rather different cloth. Looking back over the course of my life, it might be possible to identify some coherent patterns and forward momentum to it all. If you squint and gloss over some of its muddled complexity, it might seem like the product of a careful plan. But it definitely didn’t (and doesn’t) feel like that in the moment. I have never planned my life — to a degree that’s frustrating to people that know me. I have never thought about where I want to be in five months time, let alone five years. If you wanted to sum up my philosophy of life, you could do worse than quote from Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen’: Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life… the most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don't...I’m closer to 40 than I am to 22, so I’m hoping I’ll still be pretty interesting by then.All of this makes me suspicious of people who [More]