Category Archives: Social Philosophy

Philosophers debate, but many don’t appreciate it much.

Much of our philosophical discussion on social and political issues such as abortion is really not of much help to those directly dealing with those problems in the world outside of the philosophical halls and coffee shops. Much of our philosophical discussions are mostly abstract and theoretical, so much so that only the academic specialists can truly appreciate them. And, with a few exceptions, such discussions and debates are not too relevant to the real problems that individuals like those working for family planning clinics and their clients face everyday.


I don’t want global warming to be real! I don’t like the gloomy prospects that some scientists forecast for the future of our planet. I am unhappy that current conditions—more severe heat, fires, droughts, intense storms, floods, etc. — are exceeding predictions from sophisticated computer models. All of this doom and gloom is not what I want to hear. However, I respect science and this issue is important. I am unwilling to bury my head in the sand and ignore reality because it might make me feel better. I am also motivated by concern about the eroding public confidence in science and sad state of scientific literacy in our country.

Over-reaching when we promote philosophy

Rebecca Goldstein over-reaches on behalf of the relevance and effectiveness of rational argument and the role that philosophers – with their rational arguments — played in bringing about an end to slavery and the plight of women (regarded as second-class members of society). Like with Yanni’s grand statement, so with Goldstein’s declaration of rational philosophy being the starting point of humanitarian developments, when we test the grand statement against the actual social and historical developments we find much reason for doubting and rejecting them.

The humanitarian movements that have helped to bring about the end of the institution of slavery have included social, historical, and economic forces not at all philosophical in nature; and have been executed by different people of different backgrounds, most of whom were not inspired by the “theoretical moral arguments” of some philosopher or other.


A friend asked why I voted for Obama when my business has been so adversely affected by this economy. It’s a fair question! One of my responses is that deep wounds do not heal quickly. It took more than 12 years to recover from the Great Depression, and the crash of 2008 was nearly as bad as that of 1929; and it’s the worst economic crash since that time.

Richard Rorty and the false charge of relativism in Pragmatism

In a collection of papers titled Objectivity, Relativism & Truth , specifically in “Solidarity or Objectivity,” (p. 21) and ““Science as Solidarity,” (p.35) Richard Rorty claims (among other things) that his brand of pragmatism is not a relativistic philosophy and that a pragmatist has good reason for preferring the scientific approach to other philosophies.

US Citizenship and a History of Racial Discrimination

All this nonsense about Obama’s citizenship set me thinking other things about US citizenship, the different ways in which people come to be citizens of this great country, and other facts about our country’s handling of issues regarding citizenship and naturalization, and the extent to which racial and ethnic discrimination has affected the process. .

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.