1. Why Substance Matters


    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.”

  2. Hannah Arendt on Scientism


    The question of the “pernicious influence” of scientism on modern life and philosophy gets raised fairly often here at PEL. I get the sense that Wes and Seth think the influence ‘quite pernicious’…Read more »

  3. Thinking Hot Thoughts: “The Secret” as Manic Defense


    Psychoanalysts have a name for this sort of thing: it’s called the “manic defense.” This isn’t the full-blown manic depression (now “bipolar disorder”) of DSMV fame. Rather’s its an avoidance of the inevitable mourning (and associated guilt) involved in a realization that we can’t have it all.