Category Archives: philosophy history

Twentieth Century Tragedy and a Philosopher’s Blind Spot

Some people prefer to leave the past alone for different reasons. Some prefer to concentrate on problems and issues of the present and those that we shall face in the future; and such people don’t see how the past is relevant to current issues. But some prefer to ignore the past because they prefer to cover up the past insofar as events of the past do not present humans and human society in a good light. But generally those who prefer to ignore past history are those for who do not apply the lessons of history; and history surely has lessons to teach us.

Bertrand Russell on the Budda’s and the Christian’s Ideal, and Nietzsche’s ‘Pathology’

In his book, A History of Western Philosophy,* Bertrand Russell makes some rather surprising statements about love as definitive of two great religions, Christianity and Buddhism. It is in the process of contrasting what he sees as advocacy of love by Christianity and the Buddha with what he takes as Friedrich Nietzsche’s ethic, that Russell contrasts the Christianity’s and Buddhists love for humanity with Nietzsche’s complete lack of sympathy for others. In the process Russell effectively misleads us both with regard to the religious ideal and Nietzsche’s philosophy

A Strange Philosophical Objection to the Work of Simon Weisenthal

Simon Wiesenthal, a survivor of the Nazi death camps, dedicated his life to documenting the crimes of the Holocaust and to hunting down the perpetrators still at large. “When history looks back,” Wiesenthal explained, “I want people to know the Nazis weren’t able to kill millions of people and get away with it.” His work stands as a reminder and a warning for future generations.

But my philosophy correspondent, Pablo, was not impressed. “That immoral!” he declared.

Evil and human suffering – Philosophical/theological problem or human tragedy?

Many studies of the philosophy of religion include the “problem of evil,” which can be treated either as an intellectual problem, one which raises logical and epistemic issues, or as an existential problem of human tragedy. Philosophers and theologians take on the challenge of trying to show that one can consistently affirm God’s existence and the fact of evil in the world. But the intellectual problem arises from the “existential problem”, one concerning human experience of suffering and evil, and human attempts to make sense of such suffering and evil

Questions about the consequences of monotheism

We can raise raise a number of questions regarding the sociological and historical effects of monotheism, questions which many members of secular communities tend to answer in negative terms. But, of course, a definitive statement on this issue is not easy and maybe not even possible, given that most answers are posed in terms of a religious or a secular bias. Nonetheless, maybe a few things can be said which are not just partisan statements that belief in one god is good for you or the opposite.