1. Philosophy and Comedy

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    William James said of philosophy, “It sees the familiar as if it were strange, and the strange as if it were familiar.” The comedian evokes laughter by making the familiar seem strange, but the philosopher’s way of unsettling us can please in a similar way.

  2. The Nietzschean Comedian

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    We all need to talk about death especially our own. “I’m talking about something that everyone NEEDS to start talking about, which is death. That is my work as a comedian now, fortunately or unfortunately,” says T. J. Miller. This Nietzschean comedian is starting to put fairly serious philosophy into his stand-up act

  3. Why Substance Matters

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    What matters about matter is that it’s a certain kind of substance, which is to say that matter is refutable and problematic because it is taken as something underlying or standing below (sub-stance) the outward appearances, such as the hardness and heaviness of Johnson’s rock. In other words, “substance” is a metaphysical reality, not an empirical or phenomenal reality. Pragmatists like William James and Robert Pirsig both reject what the latter called “the metaphysics of substance.”

  4. Thoreauly Ponderous

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    The smoke and noise of 19th century steam engines seem quaint now that we measure annual carbon emissions in billions of tons.

  5. Emersonian America

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    Emerson, philosophical mysticism, and Jamesian pragmatism all make the same basic assertion about the relation between concepts and the immediacy of lived experience.

  6. Truth Without the Capital “T”

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    “Man tries to make for himself in the fashion that suits him best a simplified and intelligible picture of the world.  . . . The supreme task is to arrive at those universal elementary laws from which the cosmos can be built up by pure deduction.…Read more »

  7. The Jung and the Restless

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    …I cannot outline the spiritual problems of modern man without giving emphasis to the yearning for rest that arises in a period of unrest… It is from need and distress that new forms of life take their rise,…Read more »

  8. Don’t sell it to Hollywood

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    “I really would like to have the film rights to this book,” Robert Redford said to the book’s author. “You’ve got them,” Robert Pirsig replied. “I wouldn’t have gotten this involved if I hadn’t intended to give it to you.”…Read more »