Review of Gotthelf and Lennox’s *Concepts and Their Role in Knowledge*

My review of Allan Gotthelf and James G. Lennox’s Concepts and Their Role in Knowledge: gotthelf-lennox-concepts-pittsburgh-150pxReflections on Objectivist Epistemology (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013) is now out in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.

Gotthelf and Lennox jointly edited the volume and provided essays of their own. The other contributors are Benjamin Bayer, Jim Bogen, Bill Brewer, Richard Burian, Onkar Ghate, Paul Griffiths, Pierre LeMorvan, and Gregory Salmieri.

The review‘s opening: “The most important issue in modern philosophy is the relationship between consciousness and reality. Allan Gotthelf and James Lennox have collected a highly-competent set of essays …”

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Stoic Week

Stoic Week 2013 is from November 25 to December 2. (Yes, that span includes the American Thanksgiving, a.k.a. Hedonism Day, but who says the scheduling gods are perfect.)

I occasionally teach Epictetus (55-135 CE) or Marcus Aurelius (121-180 CE) in my courses. So to help you prepare for next week, here are some sample quotations:

epictetus-webEpictetus on philosophy: “If you have an earnest desire toward philosophy, prepare yourself from the very first to have the multitude laugh and sneer.” (Enchiridion, XXII)

On what can be controlled: “There are things which are within our power, and there are things which are beyond our power. Within our power are opinion, aim, desire, aversion, and, in one word, whatever affairs are our own. Beyond our power are body, property, reputation, office, and, in one word, whatever are not properly our own affairs.” (I)

On controlling one’s mind: “Men are disturbed not by things, but by the views which they take of things.” (V) Also: “As in walking you take care not to tread upon a nail, or turn your foot, so likewise take care not to hurt the ruling faculty of your mind.” (XXXVIII)

Including one’s thoughts on mortality: “If you wish your children and your wife and your friends to live forever, you are foolish, for you wish things to be in your power which are not so, and what belongs to others to be your own. So likewise, if you wish your servant to be without fault, you are foolish, for you wish vice not to be vice but something else.” (XIV)

On worrying about the opinions of others: “If a person had delivered up your body to some passer-by, you would certainly be angry. And do you feel no shame in delivering up your own mind to any reviler, to be disconcerted and confounded?” (XXVIII)

Marcus Aurelius on Man:

* “A little flesh, a little breath, and a Reason to rule all — that is myself.” (Meditations, 2,2)

marcus_aurelius_louvre1* “In the life of man, his time is but a moment, his being an incessant flux, his senses a dim rushlight, his body a prey of worms, his soul an unquiet eddy, his fortune dark, and his fame doubtful.” (2,17)

* “‘A poor soul burdened with a corpse,’ Epictetus calls you.” (4,41)

* “How small a fraction of all the measureless infinity of time is allotted to each one of us; an instant, and it vanishes into eternity. How puny, too, is your portion of the world’s substance; how puny too, is your portion of all the world’s substance; how insignificant your share of all the world’s soul; on how minute a speck of the whole earth do you creep. As you ponder these things, make up your mind that nothing is of any import save to do what your own nature directs, and to bear what the world’s Nature sends you.” (12,32)

Aurelius on self-mastery: “No one can stop you living according to the laws of your own personal nature, and nothing can happen to you against the laws of the World-Nature.” (6,58)

And on predestination: “Whatever may happen to you was prepared for you in advance from the beginning of time.” (10,5)

One more from Epictetus, quoting Cleanthes on our acceptance or not of destiny:
“Conduct me, Zeus, and thou, O Destiny,
Wherever your decrees have fixed my lot.
I follow cheerfully; and, did I not,
Wicked and wretched, I must follow still.”

Both Enchiridion and Meditations are well worth reading.

(My reading of Dominique Francon in The Fountainhead is that she’s a Stoic in her value philosophy; that is, she is trying to achieve apathia in a morally valueless world. Another compelling Stoic in contemporary literature is Conrad Hensley in Tom Wolfe’s A Man in Full.)

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European country data on the minimum wage

At The Money Illusion blog:

“Regarding the minimum wage, here is some data for Western Europe:

“There are nine countries with a minimum wage (Belgium, Netherlands, Britain, Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Luxembourg). europaTheir unemployment rates range from 5.9% in Luxembourg to 27.6% in Greece. The median country is France with 11.1% unemployment.

“There are nine countries with no minimum wage (Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland). Five of the nine have a lower unemployment rate than Luxembourg, the best of the other group. The median country is Iceland, with a 5.5% unemployment rate. The biggest country in Europe is Germany. No minimum wage and 5.2% unemployment.”

Update: Here’s a link to a map with each European country’s current minimum wage rate indicated.

(Thanks to John Kannarr for the link.)

My video-lecture on the moral, economic, and political arguments for and against minimum wage laws.

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My review of Gibson’s *Ethics and Business* (audio)

My review of Kevin Gibson’s Ethics and Business: An Introduction (Cambridge University Press, 2007) was published in the journal Teaching Philosophy (Spring 2010). Here’s a 13-minute audio version of the review in MP3 or at YouTube.

Topics covered in the review:
* Criteria for evaluating textbooks in business ethics.
* The Concession versus Contractual theories of corporations.
* The Perfect Information assumption.
* Capitalism versus the mixed economy.
* What egoism is: Machiavelli and Hobbes versus Aristotle and Rand.
* Theory-heavy versus case-study approaches to business ethics.
* The Bhopal disaster in India.

Also: Here is a PDF version of the print review.

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Second test questions posted, Fall 2013 semester

know-thyself-235x100Here are the questions for the November 14 test in Introduction to Philosophy [pdf] and Business and Economic Ethics [pdf].

The test questions are also posted at the Courses page.

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PowerPoint added: The battle against slavery and serfdom

For Week 12 in my Western Civ course: The Battle against Slavery and Serfdom.

wedgwood-1787Previous files in the series:
1. Introduction.
2. The Renaissance Context.
3. England to the Glorious Revolution.
4. Justice and Modernizing the Law.
5. From Feudal to Modern Business and Economics.
6. The American Enlightenment.
7. The Battle for Women’s Liberty and Equality.
8. The Enlightenment.
9. The Enlightenment in France.
10. The French Revolution.
11. Romanticism.

Also available at my Courses page.

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Full Kaizen interview with entrepreneur Enrique Duhau

At the CEE site, my full interview with entrepreneurial agriculturalist Enrique Duhau.

k27-coverBe sure to read about how his first business was wiped out by a tornado, how he competed successfully against smugglers, and how he built his family’s agriculture business into one of Argentina’s largest.

From the introduction: Enrique Duhau is President of Administración E. Duhau S.A., one of the largest producers of grains and beef in Argentina. Educated in Buenos Aires, London, and New York, he was also co-founder of Apple Argentina and Maxim Software, which produced software for Apple products to be sold internationally. In 1990, he co-founded Junior Achievement Argentina, to teach young kids entrepreneurial abilities and philosophy.

The whole story is here.

More of my Kaizen interviews with leading entrepreneurs.

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Autumn in Illinois

The view from my office window this week.


Reminds me of a haiku:

Not for nothing
Did the red leaf fall.

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