Stories of Decline, Stasis, and Progress

Peter Levine asks, “Why do we feel compelled to argue from decline?” in areas where objective measures suggest progress or growth: You can care deeply about public education, civic education, teenagers’ behavior, or–if you must–gun rights, but there is no basis for arguing that these things are worse than they used to be. I am… Continue reading Stories of Decline, Stasis, and Progress

More on Regret

Metafilter’s dgaicun shares this meta-analysis on regret, “What we regret most… and why.” An excerpt: Education is the number one life regret, accounting for 32.2% of all reported regrets (SD = 1.89). This is a strikingly consistent finding, confirmed by a wide margin in all but two data sets (those exceptions being Landman et al., 1995, and… Continue reading More on Regret

How to get a philosophical education for free

A regularly updated version of this guide can be found here. I teach at the third-most expensive school in the country, where I regularly persuade students that they should major or minor in philosophy. For many students, this is a value question, and as I like to put it, there’s a difference here between the value… Continue reading How to get a philosophical education for free

About Me (and Rawl’s A Theory of Justice, and the Economic Stimulus Bill)

I’ve always loved the cautious understatement in the title of Rawl’s A Theory of Justice. There’s a kind of bad faith humility implicit in the claim that you’re just offering the world another account of right and wrong, to be set on the shelves next to all those other cockamamie normative theories: nothing special, move along. Of course,… Continue reading About Me (and Rawl’s A Theory of Justice, and the Economic Stimulus Bill)