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Ethics Part 16: The Frankfurt School (aka Critical Theory) and the Devolution of Academia

“The Matrix” was an unusual event as a movie at the close of the millennium. A box office hit that set a long-standing record for an R-rated film, people lined up around the block to watch it because it would blow your mind and was the kind of social force Walter Benjamin long before said […]

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Ethics Part 15: Existentialism, Depth Psychology and Radicalism

Early in the 20th Century, really smart people were asking why anyone should pay attention to academic philosophy, since it had become a vapid fanboy exercise in fawning over technocrats as practitioners proved themselves to be serviceable villains for the club who own everything and know better than you do what is right. The focus […]

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Ethics Part 14: Darwin, the Death of God and the Birth of AI

Otto Neurath was a founding member of the Vienna Circle of logical positivists in the early 20th century. A latter day Comte, Neurath was both a Marxist utopian and a campaigner for the grand vision of the unification of all learning under one materialist, atheist, anti-metaphysical science. Neurath was a pre-cursor to Edward O. Wilson’s […]

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Ethics Part 13: Transcendentalism, Idealism, Pragmatism and Vedanta in the West

  Ram Dass and George Harrison did much to popularize Indian metaphysical and spiritual ideas in the 1960’s and beyond.  They were gurus to hippies the world over. But they were not the first to bring this way of being to the West. In early to mid- 19th century America, Emerson and Thoreau were part […]

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Ethics Part 12: Hero Worship, the Welfare State and Totalitarianism

Tolstoy’s War and Peace is not about hedgehogs and foxes as Isaiah Berlin would have it. It is about whether history is made by great men or, as Tolstoy preferred to think, providence arranges things including creating opportunities for exceptional people who may then fall because of hubris. Napoleon’s apologists were inclined to say you […]