Yearly Archives: 2014

15 posts

Reason and Arguments

This article will introduce the plural to the monumental concept of rationality. Rather than treating it as a fixed noun, I suggest we should contextualize “reason” and look at propositions and their supporting arguments instead. “Reasons” are crystallized statements found in the process of thinking about something “real,” which means that there is – beyond the real – an underlying […]

Transference in Freud and Lacan

What is “transference”? “Transference” is a psychoanalytic term that refers to something that is very common in daily life: People displace unresolved conflicts, dependencies, and aggressions onto others (e.g. substituting a lover, spouse, etc. for one’s parent) for reasons that are not easily understandable. This operation occurs commonly in psychotherapy when a client transfers feelings that were previously directed to […]

Three Perspectives on Political Theory

What is the main task for any state? Providing security, creating a diverse and stable reform-oriented middle class, or unifying the citizenship through education into a strong community? These three views on political theory can be correlated with the names of Machiavelli, Aristotle, and Plato. I will discuss them briefly.

1. Security first: political realism and the role of power (Machiavelli, Hobbes.)
2. Diversity and freedom: stability and reform (Aristotle, Locke)
3. Community, unity, and vision (Plato, Rousseau.)

For sale: baby shoes, never worn

How short can a story be and still have the characteristics of a story? Hemingway gave us an example. His shortest story consists of six words only: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” He called it his best work. Life is composed of stories, lived and told. Stories have a beginning and an end. If we ever reach a time […]

Philosophical Implications of Quantum Mechanics

Richard Feynman (1918-1988) argues in his famous Lectures on Physics (1961/62) that finite accuracy of measurement also makes the future very unpredictable, because even very small errors in prediction have cascading effects that lead to vastly different outcomes. Thus, the difference between a classical interpretation (deterministic) and a quantum-mechanical explanation (indeterminisitc) is not as categorical as we sometimes assume. He […]

The Idea of Dialogue

“The cup has to be empty in order to hold something.” When a group is new, in general people talk around the point for a while. They often have a way of not directly facing anything at the beginning. They talk around things, avoiding difficulties or direct questions. If the group continues to work, this tendency begins to break down. Dialog is different from discussion, […]

What are markets? Political and philosophical reflections.

The market mechanism, taught to millions of business and economics students, is not a simple model. Even though it has been studied extensively, the political discussion about the role and applicability of markets often seems confused. A deep fact/value problem distorts the debates about markets and democracy as the cornerstones of Western societies. Is the market mechanism a normative model, a necessary ingredient of […]

Market Mechanism Explained

It seems to be fairly simple, but it raises many questions. To start with: Did Adam Smith describe a law of economics akin to a natural law, or is the market mechanism only a model or idealization that describes an optimal way to produce and distribute goods and services? When economists refer to price in a market, they try to […]

Plato and Aristotle

Plato lived from 428/427 or 424/423 BCE  to 348/347 BCE. He was born and died in Athens, and reached 80. He was a student of Socrates, and started a school of philosophy, the Academy, when he was around 40. Aristotle (384-322 BCE) was born in Stagirus, northern Greece. His father died when Aristotle was a child. At eighteen, he joined Plato’s […]

Theology in Freud and Lacan

 A Short Summary of the Arguments. In the struggle to find what sustains the psychological reality of religious belief as well as its deep rootedness, psychoanalysis loses its initial hostility against the phenomenon. Religion becomes a fascinating field to study from the psychoanalytic point of view. The development of the psychoanalytic interpretation of religion from Freud to Lacan shows how […]

Patton’s speech to the Third Army.

General George Patton’s speech to the US Third Army was given in 1944, prior to the landing in the Normandy. Patton tried to motivate the inexperienced Third Army for its pending combat duty and terrible losses. He pushed his soldiers to do their duty regardless of personal fear, challenging them to be aggressive and engage in constant offensive action. The […]

History of Human Rights

Which movements, ideas, and events have contributed to the history and development of the concept of human rights?  The following list is very selective; it shows some historical highlights that manifest the trend that runs through the Western legal and philosophical traditions. Traditional Religions all support idea that the human person has worth and value and should be treated with […]

World Population, 2013 – 2050.

It’s interesting to look at some long-term world trends at the end of 2013. The graphs appear more normalized, for instance with the population growth rate above. Countries like Nigeria (see population chart below) are unfortunate exceptions. How will the world really look like in 2050? Trends are extrapolations from current and past data, enhanced with some mathematical modeling. Forecasts […]