If I’m Killed in a Mass Shooting

Mass shootings have a way of shaking the political convictions of those directly affected. A guitarist who was playing during the Las Vegas shooting says he changed his views. Sandy Hook Promise is a group formed by people affected by the 2012 school shooting. Americans for Responsible Solutions is the group formed by Gabby Giffords,… Continue reading If I’m Killed in a Mass Shooting

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The Batman Principle

One of the few consistent features of Trump’s worldview is that countries are taking advantage of the United States. They are laughing at us. So much is unfair. Trump said he wants to negotiate the Paris accord “on terms that are fair to the United States.” “NATO members must finally contribute their fair share.” At… Continue reading The Batman Principle

What Philosophy Owes Society III: a New Public Philosophy

Philosophy has special civic obligations. Many philosophers agree with this, either explicitly or deep in their souls. Many philosophers became philosophers for precisely these sorts of reasons. There is a variety of ways to meet these obligations, but perhaps the most obvious and most important way is through public philosophy: stepping outside of the academy… Continue reading What Philosophy Owes Society III: a New Public Philosophy

How to Talk to Trump Supporters

We are all united in the belief that we live in a divided country. A bit ironic. The fact that the phrase “the country is divided” is repeated everywhere ad nauseum is evidence that we yearn for some common ground. But acknowledging divisions does not get us anywhere. Given the importance of the issues, we… Continue reading How to Talk to Trump Supporters

What Philosophy Owes Society II: Anti-intellectualism

It is an axiom among intellectuals that America is an anti-intellectual culture. And among the so-called anti-intellectuals, the idea is part and parcel of the ‘coastal elitism’ or “cosmopolitan bias” that, as another axiom goes, so many people despise. We never think hard about whether it is in fact true that American culture is anti-intellectual.… Continue reading What Philosophy Owes Society II: Anti-intellectualism

What Philosophy Owes Society I

How should philosophers live in the political world (also known simply as the world)? In many respects, this question explicitly animates the Vim. The question is implicit in everything philosophers, as philosophers, do. So let’s do what philosophers do: make what is implicit explicit. I mean this in two ways. First, I want to prompt… Continue reading What Philosophy Owes Society I

Do We Want Our Predictions to Fail?

A version of this article first appeared on Quartz. In her 1951 book The Origins of Totalitarianism, in the section on propaganda, Hannah Arendt discusses a concept she calls “infallible prediction”: The chief qualification of a mass leader has become unending infallibility; he can never admit an error. The assumption of infallibility, moreover, is based… Continue reading Do We Want Our Predictions to Fail?