Issue 129: December 2018 / January 2019


The Functions of Art

by Grant Bartley


News: December 2018 / January 2019

Berggruen Prize given to Martha Nussbaum • Confusion over approval of dog experiments • Roger Scruton to chair housing design body — News reports by Anja Steinbauer


A Forgiving Reason: The Secret of Sherlock Holmes’ Success

Tim Weldon detects links between Sherlock Holmes and Blaise Pascal in the operation of intuition.

Ockham’s Rose

Carol Nicholson looks at philosophical themes in The Name Of The Rose. (WARNING: CONTAINS PLOT SPOILERS.)

Can Art Fight Fascism?

Justin Kaushall considers Adorno’s argument that radical art radically changes consciousness.

The Case Against Conceptual Art

Trevor Pateman makes the case for the prosecution.

Creating the Beautiful Society

Francis Akpata explains how Schiller saw art as a path to utopia.

Should We Pursue Happiness?

Vincent Kavaloski reviews both Tolstoy’s insights and his oversight.


The Ethics of Education in the Secular State

Andrew Copson considers some ethical problems for secular education in a pluralistic world.

Hegel on History

Lawrence Evans rationally interprets Hegel’s rational interpretation of history.

The Trouble with Hegel

Chris Christensen thinks Hegel shouldn’t have stopped where he did.

Putting Animals & Humans To Sleep

John Shand doubts there is a moral difference.

Philosophy: A Call to Action

Calvin H. Warner asks if philosophy can improve our lives.

I Hate Philosophy

At least Gray Kochhar-Lindgren can be philosophical about it.

Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894)

Dylan Daniel looks at the philosophical insights of a remarkable scientist.

Is The World An Illusion?

Each answer below receives a book. Apologies to the many entrants not included.


Mary Midgley (September 13, 1919 - October 10, 2018)

Carol Nicholson on a remarkable ethicist and Philosophy Now contributor.



Dogmatic Demands • Brought to Book • Many Reasons For Worlds • Shades of Gray • Taking the Moral High Ground • Derrida True Reader • On Celebrity


Iris Murdoch (1919-1999)

by Terence Green

Philosophy for the Young, Medieval Style

Peter Adamson on battles over the trivium and quadrivium.

Brains, Minds, Selves

Raymond Tallis uses all three to show that he has all three.


From Bacteria to Bach and Back by Daniel Dennett

We delve into the brain to look for the mind this issue as Peter Stone agrees with Daniel Dennett that we don’t know our own minds (or brains).

I Am Not A Brain by Markus Gabriel

Stephen Anderson agrees with Markus Gabriel that our minds aren’t brains.

Santa Claus: The Movie

Chris Vaughan says “Bah humbug” to consumer society.


Simon & Finn

by Melissa Felder

Phil Witte’s Cartoon

by Phil Witte

Bill Stott’s Cartoon

by Bill Stott


The Light From Our Eyes

Stephen Brewer wonders what’s in the (mind’s) eye of the beholder.

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