High-School Philosophy

When I was a teenager, I was nothing if not rambunctious. This was due to two factors: one, I had numerous mental issues that my parents and society at large did little to nothing to address, and two, I wasn’t versed in any sort of philosophy outside of Methodist Christianity, which (surprise, surprise) was about as useful for addressing my issues as breasts on a bull. Had I been introduced […]

The Mind-Body Problem: Part 3 – Symbols and Context

Imagine you have been hired to work in a room with thousands of pigeonholes, numbered and indexed, containing small ceramic tiles with symbols on them. There is also a table and chair, two slots in a far wall labeled “In” and “Out,” and a large book. Your employer explains that should a slip of paper with similar symbols come through the “in” slot, you should take the paper, follow the […]

The Three Steps

Culturally and philosophically, America is on fire. Terrorism, racism, religious intolerance, anti-intellectualism, extremism, fascism, nihilism; our culture roils with conflict caused by ills long ago demonstrated to be ineffective in creating modern, healthy societies. As should be expected in a nation that reveres freedom of speech, there is a vocal minority who seeks to promote these bad ideas as acceptable for America and the world. The human tendency to discard […]

The Mind-Body Problem: Part 2b – Functionalism

We recently paused our mind-body discussion for a brief look at consciousness, and now we’re ready to move on to the thoughts of Jerry Fodor and that philosopher’s definition of functionalism. This theory states that whatever material the brain is made of (living cells, circuitry, mental or spiritual substance) has no bearing on what states the mind (consciousness, awareness, and thought) might be capable of. In other words, mental states aren’t defined by […]