Egypt, Libya, and the Just War: Lenin versus Gandhi

By Omar Quinonez Abstract: The ‘Arab Spring’ has finally seen its light. Revolutions are sweeping the Middle East and North Africa. Tunisia and Egypt have experience the collapse of decades-long regimes through peaceful protests, while Libya has taken the path of armed struggle. Such differences bring the Arab Spring to the philosophical table. What is the correct path for revolution? Are the Libyan rebels philosophically justified in their armed struggle? Or is non-violence the only ethical path for the Arab Spring? In short, the philosophical question for the Arab people is the question of the just war. This paper is … Continue reading Egypt, Libya, and the Just War: Lenin versus Gandhi

Reason and Self-Interest in Hobbes’ Reply to the Fool

By JOSEPH CARLSMITH ABSTRACT: The Fool offers a famous objection to Hobbesian ethics: if practical rationality is rooted in self-interest, then isn’t it rational to abandon ethical reasoning when doing so “conduces to one’s benefit”? In this paper, I examine Hobbes’ reply to the Fool as it reveals the limitations of the moral theory presented in Leviathan. I begin by sketching out the reply and two traditional ways of interpreting it – the “case-by-case” interpretation and the “rule-commitment” interpretation. I argue that for empirical reasons both these interpretations fail to answer the Fool’s challenge. I then turn to an interpretation … Continue reading Reason and Self-Interest in Hobbes’ Reply to the Fool

Rorty, Connolly, and the Role of Irony

By MATT FRIBERG ABSTRACT: Despite agreeing on the importance of irony, Richard Rorty and William Connolly differ sharply on its role for the individual, and for society more broadly. That is, Rorty understands irony as of strictly personal use, whereas Connolly bases an entire public realm on ironic discourse. I will, in this paper, analyze each thinker’s views on irony’s ultimate function. That is, I will articulate Rorty’s view of ironist theory as problematic, and will attempt to apply Rorty’s claims regarding the ironist theorist to Connolly’s project. Also, I will attempt to support Rorty’s argument for liberal democracy as … Continue reading Rorty, Connolly, and the Role of Irony

The Possibilities of Imagination in Hannah Arendt’s Thought

By Gary Wang In Hannah Arendt’s earlier work, The Origins of Totalitarianism, imagination is caught by totalitarian ideology leading to a denial of experience and a complicity in evil.[1] In her later work, Eichmann in Jerusalem, she explicitly condemns Eichmann’s “lack of imagination” as evidence of his inability to think and as paradigmatic of her diagnosis of totalitarian evil as banal[2]. In her Lectures on Kant’s Political Philosophy, Arendt’s discussion centers on how imagination is central to the faculty of judgment to possibly resist evil.[3] The relationship between Arendt’s conceptions of imagination hinges upon the existence of a space of … Continue reading The Possibilities of Imagination in Hannah Arendt’s Thought

Epictetus the Analyst: A Stoical Response to a Patient of Sigmund Freud’s

By CHRIS GRAVES Both the philosophy of Epictetus, stoicism, and the psychology of Sigmund Freud, psychoanalysis, offer their own unique insight into the phenomena of desire, attachment, loss and mourning. However, because Epictetus is historically and theoretically situated pre-Freud, and because psychoanalysis offers in many ways a crippling critique of stoicism, Epictetus can be too easily disregarded. However, in an effort to gain a better understanding of Epictetus and come to appreciate his unique contribution to the above phenomena, this paper will examine Freud’s “The Psychogenesis of a Case of Homosexuality in a Woman” in light of his philosophy. Essentially, … Continue reading Epictetus the Analyst: A Stoical Response to a Patient of Sigmund Freud’s

Ethical Subjects, Empowered Subjectivities

by FAHD HUSAIN Ethical Subjects, Empowered Subjectivities: Individuality, Agency and Interpersonality in the late Foucault ABSTRACT This essay will focus on the Foucauldian notion of the ‘care of the self’, wherein care is defined as the process undertaken by the self to perpetually regenerate its own unique ‘aesthetics’ that best informs and enriches its everyday life. Foucault’s insistence on a perpetual self-regeneration hinges upon a problematization of the pre-established criteria of normality structuring the context: it involves a mode of thinking that scrutinizes the relation of the self to such yardsticks and resists the passive acceptance of their prescribed normative … Continue reading Ethical Subjects, Empowered Subjectivities

The Inequality Created by Rawls’ “Justice as Fairness”

By Cuong Q. Nguyen American political philosopher John Rawls developed a concept of justice as fairness in his influential work, A Theory of Justice, to answer the existing question: what is just or right with respect to the allocation of goods in society.  This conception of justice as fairness borrows elements from Kantian philosophy to justify the method of morally evaluating political and social institutions.  Rawls argues that individuals would intrinsically support the proposal of distributive justice for a variety reasons.  Primarily, Rawls suggests that individuals in a given society would agree on the equal distribution of goods if they … Continue reading The Inequality Created by Rawls’ “Justice as Fairness”

Discussion: Towards a More Perfect Union

By Shane Steinert-Threlkeld
One part of Obama’s victory speech that stood out was his comparison of the USA to an evolving being. Through exercising our democratic ability to change our government, we are helping render our union more perfect. When one analyzes the philosophical foundations upon which his belief system rest, it appears that Obama believes in the same brand of minimalism for which most natural rights philosophers argue. We explore this implication and ask questions about our nation and moral relativism. Continue reading Discussion: Towards a More Perfect Union

Obama and State Aggression Acting in Violation of Libertarian Principles

By Matthew Ignal
The recent election of Barack Obama was certainly an historic moment for the United States, but for those who carry an affinity for the concept of freedom, its symbolism is rather disheartening. While the majority of libertarians (even at more traditionally mainstream outlets such as Reason Magazine) rightly preferred Obama to that neocon sycophant, John McCain, this election witnessed the triumph of a man who campaigned on the promise of a benevolent activist government. From the libertarian perspective, there are scant words in the English language more frightening to emanate from a politician’s mouth. Continue reading Obama and State Aggression Acting in Violation of Libertarian Principles