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

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The Socratic Method and Conversational Violence

In “A Guide for Talking to Trump Supporters,” beloved Vimmer Zach says that using the Socratic Method is a particularly useful strategy for engaging Trump supporters. The idea is that through critical questioning, we can bring Trump supporters to realize flaws in their reasons for supporting Trump. Sometimes, however, as these conversations practically play out,… Continue reading The Socratic Method and Conversational Violence

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?

How to Apologize for a Lie

Most of us agree that lying is, at least generally speaking, morally wrong.  We all have our reasons.  Some of us think that lying is not conducive to human well-being.  Others of us think that, when we lie, we are using people merely to serve our own ends.  And still others of us say it… Continue reading How to Apologize for a Lie

3 Precautions for Interracial Coalition Building

Since Donald Trump was elected, many Black Americans feel that for the first time their White allies are coming to offer them aid in some form. This is not a claim about whether or not their aid prior to this moment can be objectively tracked by, say, a record of charitable contributions to organizations that… Continue reading 3 Precautions for Interracial Coalition Building

The Myth of “Economic Anxiety”

Pundits have developed a repertoire of cliches surrounding Trump voters, in large part motivated by the desire not to stereotype them as racist ignorant hicks. Before recoiling from such weighty generalizations, it is worth noting how terms like ‘racist’ and ‘ignorant’ work. Two people can hold many diverging views and yet both be accurately described… Continue reading The Myth of “Economic Anxiety”

On Dignifying One’s Neighbor

What is American freedom? What is the United States anyhow? Some say the essence of this country lies within its constitution. Others say our time-honored institutions will provide for all time the security of our freedoms. Still others posit that the more elusive “spirit of democracy” animates and governs government. In my view, nothing so… Continue reading On Dignifying One’s Neighbor