April 29th, 2022
Can wisdom be understood, developed, and improved?
Does wisdom really underlie success, fulfillment, and happiness?
What are the characteristics and skills of wise individuals?
Can one be happier and more fulfilled by “loving wisdom”?
Should books about wisdom ideally be secular, or religious in nature?
What do I need to know to successfully put wisdom to use in my everyday life?
Four-time author and philosophical thinker Jason Merchey answers these and many other important questions in his 2022 book, Wisdom Read More
September 15th, 2021
Epicurus (341-271 BCE) put forth an argument centuries ago that still retains much appeal and boasts some notable adherents (e.g., Rosenbaum, 1986). His thesis was that the actual occurrence of death (as distinguished from any possible afterlife or the act of dying) was not a bad thing, and thus the great anxiety our fear of death brings many people is unwarranted. He did admit that “being alive is generally good.” Epicurus believed that no post-mortem experience was likely, and that we never really know death because where we are, it isn’t, and where it is, we aren’t. It is appealing, but though it contains a meritorious theoretical/cognitive technique to stave off anxiety, I believe that Epicurus’ argument is somewhat shallow and incomplete, it doesn’t quite stand up to scrutiny. Read More
May 5th, 2021
Few persons are relevant 2,350 years after they died. Confucius, The Buddha, and Jesus of Nazareth all have deep and lasting legacies. Socrates is certainly one of the most influential individuals ever to live. Considering how many ancient Greek documents and texts have been lost, we are lucky to have any information about him at all. He never wrote anything down! I will share a few thoughts and quotes about Socrates, one of the best teachers of wisdom and most interesting thinkers in history. He is a great guide to us in the waning days of empire here in the United States, just as he was in the tumultuous period in which he lived in ancient Athens. Read More
August 24th, 2020
A while back, I took a wonderful class entitled “Meaning in Life.” It dealt with meaning, obviously, and personal significance, purpose, fulfillment, death, and philosophy. My professor was named Mattias Risse and he’s really quite erudite. The topic I wanted to write about follows a lecture of his about renowned existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre. Ancillary topics are scientism, truth, and ethics. The background is in the era of 1900-1960, thinkers such as inimitable philosopher Bertrand Russell and the French intellectual Sartre were trying to find meaning and purpose in a secular-humanistic way. Much later, philosopher Robert Nozick made some improvements to their work. None wanted to slide into radical scientism as much as they didn’t want to resort to theological/religious assumptions. Indeed, Sartre penned a significant essay entitled “Existentialism is a Humanism”, and this is a medium-length encapsulation of how Sarte believes ethics is part and parcel of a developed form of existentialism. Read More
August 9th, 2018
Having read a great book on wisdom entitled Wisdom: From Philosophy to Neuroscience by author Stephen S. Hall, one of the aspects that clearly comes across is that wisdom is elusive, in need of deliberate development (or life giving one a few Aces right from the get-go), and complex. It’s multifaceted and culturally contextual. Some young adults are surprisingly adept and putting together the big picture and seeing patterns and learning from experience, and some people in late adulthood still don’t get it and can’t see the forest for the trees. Wisdom does not come easily, but it is a glorious and sought-after state of mental, spiritual, and emotional development worth pursuing. Read More
July 11th, 2018
The following is a guest blog about the meaning of life by philosopher Iddo Landau, Ph.D. He teaches philosophy at the University of Haifa, Israel. This essay is adapted from his new book, Finding Meaning in an Imperfect World, by Oxford University Press. Read More
February 21st, 2018
Irving Singer (1925-2015) was a prominent philosopher at MIT. I read his book Meaning in Life: The Creation of Value, and liked it about a B+ on an A-F scale. It is rife with quotes about meaning, fulfillment, ethics, value, values, philosophy, and self-examination. In this blog, I will reflect on a few quotations, but will also provide all the quotes about meaning I found in the book, which are many. Enjoy! Read More
November 17th, 2017
The goal today is to discuss business ethics, corporations, companies, non-profits, workplaces, and industry: what best practices are, which ethical principles are relevant, what can go wrong, what ought to happen, how corporations fit into the scheme of corporate social responsibility, how business ethics relates to sustainability, the “triple bottom line,” and the like. Ronald F. Duska, Ph.D. is my first partner in dialogue. He served as a past president and executive director of the Society of Business Ethics, and has published many books on this topic. Currently, he is an adjunct professor in the graduate business schools of St. Joseph’s and Villanova Universities. My second guest is Michael Boylan, Ph.D., the John J. McDonnell, Jr. Chair in Ethics as well as the philosophy department chair at Marymount University. In addition to books entitled Natural Rights and The Origins of Ancient Greek Science, he put one out last year named A Just Society – his manifesto on ethics and social-political philosophy. Read More
November 16th, 2017
What is applied philosophy? How should we live? What is the right thing to do? Are we really free? What ancient ideas and teachings are still applicable to modern life? What can professional philosophers offer us that we can use in a practical way? These are important questions from the realm of applied philosophy, which is an ideal discipline to identify astute questions and provide insight into potential answers. In this excerpt from chapter 14 in the book Values & Ethics: From Living Room to Boardroom, I interview Tom Morris, Ph.D. and Arthur Dobrin, Ph.D., both philosophers, authors, and former professors at major universities to achieve some insight into applying philosophy to your life. Read More
September 28th, 2017
In the interview I conducted with the author of Doubt: A History, Jennifer Michael Hecht, many great quotations about doubt found their way into the book chapter. She is erudite and a great exponent of philosophy and literature, but quotations about doubt by great minds throughout the ages aptly supplement the discussion. Read More