Animal Minds: puzzling over Puppies and Parrots
For much of modern science, since the Enlightenment, animals were generally thought to be automatons: materialist robots programmed to behave in certain ways. Rene Descartes drew a sharp distinction between thinking beings, humans, and everything else, matter. 20th Century behaviorismView Tool »
Personal Identity in Memento
Personal Identity I ask students to bring their baby or early childhood pictures to class. After they try matching names with images of their classmates, I ask a question about their own picture: Are you the same person todayView Tool »
What is the world really made of?
In Leibniz’s 1714 Monadology we have an example of the many different ways that philosophers have theorized about the constitution of our world before they had the technology to know many details that we know now. Although some of Leibniz’sView Tool »
The Ethics of the Creation of Dual-Species Chimeras
On November 6, 2015, NPR aired a story about the very controversial topic of stem cell research. This story can be used as the basis for a philosophical discussion of a variety of topics including what it is to beView Tool »
Scientific Realism and the Weird World
Overview One of the most fundamental questions involved in the Philosophy of Science involves the problem of Scientific Realism. It asks us to think about the status of scientific claims. For instance, when your Chemistry teacher talks about atoms, areView Tool »
What is a Human Being?
The first half of Brave New World by Aldous Huxley depicts a socially programmed society in which advances in science and technology have created a world full of people who are biologically human but may not be fully human in otherView Tool »
James Joyce’s “Araby”: Coming out of the Cave
“Araby” is one of the most widely taught short stories from James Joyce’s Dubliners. Told in the first person from the perspective of a boy in his early teens who has an infatuation with a neighborhood girl (Mangan’s sister), “Araby”View Tool »