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

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

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

A New Report on the Banality of Evil

A version of this article first appeared on Quartz   The people Donald Trump has in mind as ‘true Americans’ are suffering from a collective normalcy bias. We are constantly told to keep faith in the decency of the American people (at least a sufficiently large number of them) while simultaneously we ponder how we,… Continue reading A New Report on the Banality of Evil