Consequences of Leibnizian Complete Notions

By SHANE STEINERT-THRELKELD In section eight of his Discourse on Metaphysics, Leibniz states: “…the nature of an individual substance or of a complete being is to have a notion so complete that it is sufficient to contain and to allow us to deduce from it all the predicates of the subject to which this notion is attributed.” This paper will first delve into the meaning of this definition and many of its logical consequences. An analogy will be drawn between Leibniz’s conception of the universe and the branch of mathematics known as dynamical systems in order to give a more … Continue reading Consequences of Leibnizian Complete Notions

The Conceptions of Belief Within the Brain

By Julian Grove
Though people use the term regularly, “believing” is a somewhat foggy notion in philosophy. It’s easy for a person to say that he or she has a belief, but saying what that even means is a completely different story; having a belief seems to be a very complicated endeavor from the analyst’s point of view. Jerry Fodor and Daniel Dennett are two contemporary philosophers who propose different accounts of what constitutes belief. This paper compares and contrasts the two, in the end coming up with a slightly different conception of beliefs in the brain than either. Continue reading The Conceptions of Belief Within the Brain

Creative Force of Ressentiment

By CUONG NGUYEN In Friedrich Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals, he states the “the slave revolt in morality begins when ressentiment itself becomes creative and gives birth to values” (GM Essay 1; 10). This idea of ressentiment is prevalent in Nietzsche’s philosophy because it corresponds to the idea of master and slave morality and, most importantly, explains how the lower slaves are able to overcome the higher masters and change the dominant morality to the slave morality. Ressentiment is the driving force that causes the anger and hatred of the slaves to rebel against the higher and noble masters. As Nietzsche … Continue reading Creative Force of Ressentiment

Truth in Doubt

Rene Descartes’ Meditations contains many interesting thoughts on mind and knowledge, one being his claim that there is nothing easier for him to understand than his own mind. In his essay, Rocky Barilla attempts to prove that Descarte’s claim (regarding the understanding of his mind) plays an important role in The Meditations, and that although he did not expect people to believe his claim, he attempted to show the truth in it regardless. Continue reading Truth in Doubt

What is philosophy? Why is it important?

There is this preconceived notion that philosophy has very little intrinsic worth, especially in the twenty-first century. Many people have a hard time comprehending the significance of a study they believe has long been replaced by psychology and the natural sciences. Many people are intrigued then when I tell them I am a philosophy major at Johns Hopkins.


So I’m often asked two questions. What is philosophy? Why is it important?

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The Problem of Utility and Democracy

By MIN SHIN Unlike Joshua Cohen and Thomas Christiano who argue that in ideal government institutions, justice and democracy are purely intrinsic; Richard Arneson’s paper on Democratic Rights at the National Level partakes in the conception of justice and democratic rights from an instrumental standpoint.  He argues that a protective account of democratic rights provides the most natural and convincing justification of modern political regimes.  Throughout his paper, Arneson argues for the instrumental view of social institutions because in pluralist societies, this particular view of justice and democracy brings about appropriate and just results.  This substantially differs from Cohen and … Continue reading The Problem of Utility and Democracy