1. 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.”

  2. Hannah Arendt on Scientism

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    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

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    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.