Cartoon Introduction to Philosophy | Daily Nous

The Cartoon Introduction to Philosophy is out! By philosopher  Michael Patton (Montevallo) and illustrator Kevin Cannon, the book stars Heraclitus as the reader’s guide and companion through various philosophical topics, including logic, perception, minds, free will, god, and ethics. At over 150 pages, it has the heft and look of a big graphic novel, and it’s all about philosophy.    It does a good job of laying out the basics, making clear the fundamental disputes, and doing so through humorous images and story lines. I let my kids take it for a test run. They seem to be enjoying it. Some of the vocabulary in the book is a bit sophisticated or jargony for young kids, but my oldest (age 11) found the book’s notes and glossary quite helpful in this regard. He likes the illustrations and “funny parts” and said he learned about “some of the interesting problems philosophers have to solve.” I’ll take it. Since philosophy is generally not taught pre-college (at least in the United States), I think books like this can be a good way of spreading information to young people about what philosophy is. It would be great to have a copy in every school library, for example, or in every doctor’s waiting room. The book is on sale here. You can also visit the website of the publisher (Hill and Wang, a division of Farrar, Straus and Giroux) to learn more about it. They are currently advertising the book here at Daily Nous and clicking on their ad will take you to the right page. In the meanwhile, if you know of other philosophy done in cartoon or comic strip style, please post about it in the comments. 1 likes

via Cartoon Introduction to Philosophy | Daily Nous.

Is Satire a Form of Cultural Imperialism?


Have a look at Will Self’s stance on satire in the context of the events at Charlie Hebdo and join me on a thought experiment:

The paradox is this: if satire aims at the moral reform of a given society it can only be effective within that particular society; and furthermore only if there’s a commonly accepted ethical hierarchy to begin with. A satire that demands of the entire world that it observe the same secularist values as the French state is a form of imperialism like any other.

The same claim could be extended to what happened in Copenhagen just this past weekend by simply replacing “French” with “Danish” or “Swedish.”

If Will Self’s stance immediately reads like a leap of faith, you can listen to the full but short radio broadcast here and make up your own mind before continuing. There are far worse ways to spend 10 minutes of your life … and I am curious to hear what you think about Will Self’s claims. Differences in opinion are welcome, absolute truths (and bullets) are best left at the coat check.

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Job is a nightmare!

Someone asked me why suddenly there was a page link on  the top banner devoted to Job. They thought at first I was looking for a job! But no, last week I led a couple of seminars on the Book of Job from the Hebrew Bible. I was invited to talk to the students of the local Clemente Course. Never heard of Clemente?

The Clemente Course in the Humanities® is a unique educational institution founded in 1995 to teach the humanities at the college level to people living in economic distress.

The course works in conjunction with faculty from leading colleges and universities on five continents. Students learn through dialogue about moral philosophy, literature, history, art history, critical thinking, and writing.

More than ten thousand students worldwide have attended a Clemente course, and over fifty percent have successfully completed it.

The aim of the course is to bring the clarity and beauty of the humanities to people who have been deprived of these riches through economic, social, or political forces. While the course is not intended as preparation for college, many students have gone on to two- and four-year colleges.

There is no tuition; books are provided, and the college credits offered in most courses are readily transferable to other institutions.

In addition to free tuition and books, access to child care and transportation is provided without charge.


It was an interesting gig! I found the students were interested and interesting and they had little trouble joining in the conversation. I remember one middle-aged man who, after reading the prologue, burst out with “What kind of God is that!”

Take a look at my Reading the Bible for a chapter on Job (free!) and for two of William Blake’s marvelous plates – a sort of before and after picture of Job and his family. I always remember when I first studied the book and my prof pointed out that Blake had given God, Satan, and Job the same face.

When I was still teaching I always had “teacher dreams” before each semester began – me in a large lecture hall but . . . all by myself!  Or, behind a lectern ready to pontificate to a full house when all the students get up and leave! Well, I had a nice long dream in honour of this teaching assignment. I was outside the dean’s office and heard him accuse me of something or other and when I confronted him he would not tell me what was going on. Most frustrating. Job like.

Holy Sh*t

Principal fissures and lobes of the cerebrum v...

Principal fissures and lobes of the cerebrum viewed laterally. Figure 728 from Gray’s Anatomy with labels removed. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Scientists now believe that we store swear-words in an entirely different part of our brain from our more considered discourse. We swear in the limbic system, our “lower brain”, a murky coagulation of involuntary reflexes. We speak from our cerebral cortex, which is where we (ideally) think before we say things.

Read the review here.

Attack on Vikings!

vikingsNo Tax Dollars Went To Make This Space Viking Photo

by Geoff Brumfiel

August 05, 2013 3:28 PM

A great story from NPR about the Republicans in the USA working hard to stop waste in government.

Scrutinizing the books of government agencies can turn up lavish parties or illicit trips at the taxpayers’ expense. But not every investigation turns out that way. And when they don’t, the hunt for waste can appear to be a waste itself.

Such appears to be the case with a recent inquiry involving NASA and Viking re-enactors. This whole saga began with an idea from Ved Chirayath, an aeronautics graduate student at Stanford University who loves photography. He was talking over what to shoot one day with a colleague, and thought of Vikings.

Read or listen here.

Try a philosophy podcast?

The Guerrilla Radio Show: “If Bob Dylan’s right, “the times they are changing”. But what is time anyway? We usually carve up time in terms of the past, the present and the future. But are all of these temporal divisions on an equal ontological footing? Or is there something ontologically special about the present moment, the now? If so, how should we conceive of the past and the future? Are they real? Does time really flow (like we think it does)? And what’s the relationship between space and time? Are the laws of physics time reversible? Is time travel possible?”

Let us know what you think.