Liberalism is the view that humans are independent, autonomous, and self-sufficient and, thus, institutional policy is warranted only when it advances these values. As an important thread in moral thought today, liberalism defines a good life as the complete freedom of all people to pursue their own desires, provided that little or no harm is done to others along the way.Moral liberalism also pervades the literature in philosophy of sport today. In this paper, I argue that liberalism as moral policy (...) in sport is wrong because liberalism as moral policy is wrong. Human autonomy implies social responsibility, which moral liberalism today disavows. At paper’s end, I sketch out a normative account of sport, aretism, that fleshes out the types of responsibilities that bind athletes to sport, properly construed as a social institution. (shrink)
In a series of essays that examine Thomas Jefferson’s own writings, Holowchak investigates the always profound and often provocative ideas of this founding father. Dutiful Correspondent explores Thomas Jefferson as a philosopher in his own right. Holowchak expands our view of Jefferson by examining his own words on issues such as race, politics, ethics, education, and the intersection of philosophy and science.
Though Freud never makes utopia the subject of any one work, this book is an attempt to tease out Freud's notion of utopia through examination of his group-psychology works such as The Future of an Illusion, Civilization and Its Discontents, Why War? and On the Question of a Weltanschauung. Through tracing out three key blows to human narcissism through scientific advance, it shows the extent to which biological factors impact human psychology and influence the prospect of future human happiness—the triumph (...) of ego over id. (shrink)
"A tramp, a gentleman, a poet, a dreamer, a lonely fellow, always hopeful of romance and adventure." Charlie Chaplin Freud, in a letter to Max Schiller (25 Mar. 1931), writes of an occasion in which Charlie Chaplin came to Vienna. In his account, Freud cavalierly offers great insight into the person behind the actor, even though he has never met Chaplin. Just recently . . . Charlie Chaplin was in Vienna; I almost caught sight of him, but it was too (...) cold for him, and he left in a hurry. He is undoubtedly a great artist—although he always plays one and the same part, the weak, poor, helpless, clumsy boy for whom life turns out all right in the end. Now do you think he has to forget his own self in .. (shrink)
This paper is a comprehensive investigation of Freud’s views on technology and human well-being, with a focus on ‘Civilization and Its Discontents’. In spite of his thesis in ‘Civilization and Its Discontents’, I shall argue that Freud, always in some measure under the influence of Comtean progressivism, was consistently a meliorist: He was always at least guardedly optimistic about the realizable prospect of utopia, under the ‘soft dictatorship’ of reason and guided by advances in science and technology, in spite of (...) due recognition in his later years of the possibility of annihilation through technological advances in warfare. The possibility of human annihilation, then, muffled Freud’s meliorism. Freud’s ‘muffled meliorism’, however, was not a quiet commitment to viewing technology as something good. Ultimately, Freud steered a middle course between techno-advocacy and techno-antagonism. The technologies of science, like the discoveries of psychoanalysis, were tools for humans that could be used for human betterment or, as war showed, for human degeneration. (shrink)
When talk of philosophy of pedagogy comes up today, it is common to hear the names of Aristotle, Thomas Jefferson, John Dewey, or Paulo Freire, but the name of Paul Goodman, who campaigned vigorously for pedagogical reform much of his life, is seldom mentioned. In spite of neglect of his work, Goodman had much to say on pedagogical practice that is rich, poignant, and relevant today. In consequence, it is unfortunate that he is seldom read and discussed today. This essay (...) is an attempt to fill in the gap in the scholarship. I begin by presenting an elaboration of Goodman's key insights. I then offer a critical analysis of those pedagogical insights. (shrink)
Psychoanalysis, in Freud’s day and our own, has met with and continues to meet with staunch opposition from critics. The most ruinous criticism comes from philosophers, with a special interest in science, who claim psychoanalysis does not measure up to the above-board canons of acceptable scientific practices and, thus, is not scientific. It is common today to direct such criticisms to all metempirical forms of psychotherapy—i.e., psychotherapies that in no way concern themselves with grounding their claims with empirical research. The (...) most common defense is to cold-shoulder the criticism and counter that psychoanalysis, whether or not Freud recognized it, is a hermeneutical, not an etiological, method of therapy. In that regard, its measure of success is not symptom-removal or redirection of drive-energy in socially condoned or acceptable ways, but broadened understanding through a commonly created myth, effected by therapist and patient, for the patient’s wellbeing. In this undertaking, I argue that the hermeneutical apologia of psychoanalysis is a dodge, not a defense—an impenetrable asylum in which therapists can find refuge by buffering themselves from the possibility of criticism of the scientificity of their discipline. Because hermeneuticism disavows the possibility of knowledge in any meaningful sense—and, with that, scientific knowledge gained through observation or experimentation—it levels the epistemological playing field. With knowledge impossible and science annulled, no “investigative” inquiry or discipline can claim a status superior to any other and, hence, psychotherapy is an investigative discipline as legitimate as any other. The literature on the hermeneutic defence of psychotherapy is vast—too vast for anything but a representative sample of it in this critique. I focus merely on some of the most recent literature. (shrink)
Plato noticed a sizeable problem apropos of establishing his republic—that there was always a ready pool of zealous potential rulers, lying in wait for a suitable opportunity to rule on their own tyrannical terms. He also recognized that those persons best suited to rule, those persons with foursquare and unimpeachable virtue, would be least motivated to govern. Ruling a polis meant that those persons, fully educated and in complete realization that the most complete happiness comprises solitary study of things unchanging, (...) would have to compromise their happiness for the wellbeing of their polis and of the people in it. Plato’s solution, in effect that the aristoi would merely recognize their duty to sacrifice personal happiness for the happiness of the polis, has perplexed and continues today to perplex scholars. Like Plato, Jefferson recognized that there was always a pool of eager sharks, ready to govern. His republicanism, comprising a ward system and general education, was founded on the fullest participation of its citizenry, suitably educated and a governing aristoi. The true aristoi, the “natural aristoi”, are the intelligent and virtuous and that government is best which allows for a “pure selection” of the natural aristoi into the governing offices. Nonetheless, as Jefferson’s own life shows, non-parochial governing meant being rent from domestic tranquility, being forced to leave behind one’s personal affairs to decay, and being tossed willy-nilly into the coliseum of nonstop political wrangling. Why would anyone, particularly one wanting to be happy, wish to govern? Thus, Jefferson faced the same problem that Plato faced. How could a state be structured so that the wisest and most virtuous would be motivated to rule? In this paper, I argue that Jefferson, in full recognition of the problem of encouraging the most intelligent and virtuous to govern, the problem of public service, offers a solution that is remarkably Platonic. (shrink)
Thomas Jefferson and Philosophy: Essays on the Philosophical Cast of Jefferson’s Writings is a collection of essays on topics that relate to philosophical aspects of Jefferson’s thinking over the years. Much historical insight is given to ground the various philosophical strands in Jefferson’s thought and writing on topics such as political philosophy, moral philosophy, slavery, republicanism, wall of separation, liberty, educational philosophy, and architecture.
Critical Reasoning & Philosophy is an innovative and clearly written handbook that teaches studnets how to read critically, think critically while they read, and write thoughtful, sound arguments in response.
_Jefferson’s Political Philosophy and the Metaphysics of Utopia_ argues that Jeffersonian republicanism was fundamentally a political philosophy, content-rich and globally applicable. Jefferson’s philosophy is fleshed out and critically analyzed by examining key writings over the years and philosophically important books Jefferson assimilated.
In a letter to Benjamin Rush, Jefferson includes a syllabus—a comparative account of the merits of Jewish morality, ancient philosophy, and the precepts of Jesus. Using the syllabus as a guide, this paper is a critical examination of the influence of ancient ethical and religious thinking on Jefferson’s ethical and religious thinking—viz., Jefferson’s views of the ethics and religion of the Hebrews, the ancient philosophers, and Jesus.
Liberal individualism, in its atomic sense, asserts that people are autonomous and self-contained individuals, whose rights are prior to and independent of any conception of the good. It champions individual rights and toleration for different conceptions of the good life, and essays to secure justice for all in equal measure.In prioritizing right over good, liberal individualism demands that the state have a stance of strict neutrality concerning any particular conception of the good. It privileges political analysis, in that no conception (...) of what is good must interfere with the fundamental rights, unconditionally guaranteed, of each individual. Consequently, it is essentially atomic ideal, and this atomism, whether metaphysical ormethodological, effects a separation of persons and institutions. This I call the “Great Divide”.In what follows, I argue that the liberal separation of persons from institutions is a disintegrative political and ethical ideal in personal, social, and ethical senses. (shrink)
Scholars today are divided on the motivation behind what is often called Jefferson’s “moral agrarianism”. On the one hand, some scholars take Jefferson at his word when he mentions that agrarianism is a moral vision. For these individuals, Jefferson’s agrarianism is a moral vision and an indispensible part of the good life. On the other hand, other scholars maintain that Jefferson’s moral agrarianism is merely a bit of propaganda that insidiously sheaths a political or economic ideal. For them, Jefferson is (...) through and throughout a politician, and expressions of agrarianism as a moral ideal amount to mere cant. In this paper, I examine arguments for and against Jefferson’s moral agrarianism. I defend the position that Jefferson was an aboveboard moral agrarianist and that the ideal of agrarianism was not just one that was suited for Americans, given their surfeit of land and want of laborers, but an ideal that also applied universally. I end with thoughts on Jefferson’s recognition of the rise of manufacturing in American cities throughout his life. (shrink)
In Ancient Science and Dreams, M. Andrew Holowchak analyzes the ancient notion of science of dreams throughout Greco-Roman antiquity, from the Classical Greece in the fifth century B.C. to the Roman Republic in the fourth century A.D. Holowchak investigates psycho-physiological accounts, interpretation of prophetic dreams, and the use of dreams in secular and non-secular medicine.