John McCain and Edmund Burke

Jonathan Rauch argues that John McCain is a true conservative, in the mold of Edmund Burke–and that “movement” conservatives aren’t. Rauch starts with a nice precis of an aspect of Burke’s thought that influenced, among others, Freidrich von Hayek: Burke is the father of modern conservatism, and still its wisest oracle. Tradition-minded but (contrary to stereotype) far from reactionary, he believed in balancing individual rights … Continue reading John McCain and Edmund Burke

What Not to Think

Ann Althouse critiques an episode of “What Not to Wear,” and suggests an alternative starring philosophers: The show ends with everyone celebrating the amazing changes in the woman’s appearance. You have scenes where everyone claps and cheers and the makeover target twirls around in her new clothes — which look ugly to me — and professes to be transformed. We’re assured — typical woman’s TV … Continue reading What Not to Think

Socratic Method

Tully attacks the use of the Socratic method in law schools. (Warning: Strong language!)  The method, I’ve always thought, is misnamed.  Socrates asks questions of people who claim to know something; he doesn’t call on Athenians who have come to learn from him and make no such claim.  Moreover, he asks questions that tease out implications of the views of his interlocutors.  He doesn’t ask … Continue reading Socratic Method

The Love of the Love of Wisdom

The New York Times profiles the Rutgers Philosophy Department, ranked second in the nation, which now graduates 100 philosophy majors a year, about the same number as The University of Texas at Austin. (HT: Ann Althouse) Why is philosophy becoming more popular? One Rutgers students has an explanation: Jenna Schaal-O’Connor, a 20-year-old sophomore who is majoring in cognitive science and linguistics, said philosophy had other … Continue reading The Love of the Love of Wisdom

Doubting Thomas

Syracuse philosophy professor and noted virtue ethicist Laurence Thomas walks out of class when a student in the front row sends a text message, sparking a debate about the justifiability of his action and the collective punishment it involves. (HT: Instapundit) I wouldn’t doubt Larry Thomas when it comes to a question of ethics. I admit, however, that it would never occur to me to … Continue reading Doubting Thomas

Great Moments in Homeschooling

Lydia McGrew‘s daughter discovers the essence of Gnosticism and postmodernism: I got to the part about how the Gnostics tried to create mysteries and then told people that they could be part of their secret “club” by going through an initiation ceremony. People thought this was pretty cool and that they would be profound thinkers like their teachers if they learned this hidden knowledge, but … Continue reading Great Moments in Homeschooling

No longer a “brain-dead liberal”

David Mamet writes revealingly of his political awakening: As a child of the ’60s, I accepted as an article of faith that government is corrupt, that business is exploitative, and that people are generally good at heart. These cherished precepts had, over the years, become ingrained as increasingly impracticable prejudices. Why do I say impracticable? Because although I still held these beliefs, I no longer … Continue reading No longer a “brain-dead liberal”