Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Immoveable Object vs. Unstoppable Force?

hulk, superman Philosophers have fussed with this problem for a long while now:

Irresistible Force Paradox

Here's a physicist's interpretation from MinutePhysics:

Friday, June 20, 2014

Alumni News: Christopher Williams

Here in the Philosophy Dept. at AU, we are always interested in what's happening in the lives of our former students.  This week we were able to catch up with Christopher Williams (Dec. 2010), who told us a story about his travels and work in China:

Christopher, Williams, alumni, AU, philosophy
Chris Williams
“I decided to move to China after working several jobs that could not satisfy my desire for learning. Many of the companies I worked for enjoyed the eloquence and critical thinking skills of a philosophy graduate, but were hesitant on doing much more than talking.  Getting to China took a considerable amount of time, considering that despite an overabundance of work available, many jobs could put you into a crippling financial position or leave you stranded in a foreign country.  Also, the initial funding for the move was a bit daunting and required 80 hour work weeks for two months to properly finance everything.

“Since I have been in China, I direct a lot of my focus towards studying Mandarin, surfing, private tutoring, environmental sustainability projects (such as roof gardens, aquaponic systems, and urban gardening) and basically adopting myself into the culture.  It is a communist society, but there is nothing really restricting a person for doing as he pleases as long as it doesn’t offend the culture.  There are many organizations here and the people as a whole are very communal.

“Many of the citizens are put into an educational system that discourages critical thinking and I am proud to say that my philosophy studies are a considerable asset.  It helps to open up the potential wonder that is in every interaction we hold, and places events as a potential for infinity as opposed to a rigorously objective end.  It enriches dialogue and has helped me to connect in ways that are much more novel do to the ability to look at situations in more innovative designs.


“China offers me a fairly competitive salary, free time to pursue my interests, a lot of great opportunities for travel and very engaging living. I plan on applying for graduate studies in environmental defense this coming February while still traveling and pursuing education.  I can be reached at anytime.”

If you are an alumna/us, and have a story to tell, please send it to Dr. Louis Mancha (  We'd love to feature you on our blog, or even the department webpage (AU Philosophy).

Monday, June 16, 2014

Plato Not Playdoh...

Teaching Philosophy to Children?  Absolutely!

Plato, Playdoh, PhilosophyIn this TEDx talk, Peter Worley of The Philosophy Foundation defends the notion that children can do philosophy:

"Children CAN do philosophy, but they tend to struggle when they're on their own, or when there's just two of them, because they lack the variety of responses that are necessary to sustain a philosophical conversation. However, if you take 20 children...then they start to have the variety of responses that are needed, and with a little bit of facilitation, they can also have the right kinds of responses.

"...[Children] learn to have what Socrates called the 'silent dialogue', this conversation that we have in our own heads when we think things through."

- Peter Worley, TEDx talk 'Plato Not Playdoh'

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Ethics and Population Control

In the Ethics courses at AU, we often discuss the topic of poverty, on both an individual as well as on a global scale.  If you're interested in global issues, here's an interesting talk to think about.

The newest episode of Why? Radio is now available online:

"Are there too many people for our environment?"

Philip Cafaro
Philip Cafaro

Right now waters are rising around the world, chemicals are seeping into our food and people are going hungry. Right now, wilderness is diminishing and cities are increasing in both size and density. In short we have an overpopulation problem and we have way too many environmental crises and no one seems to know what to do about any of it. On this episode of Why? Philip Cafaro attempts to tackle all of this at once by talking about overpopulation from an environmentalist’s perspective.

You can listen to the discussion and then post your comments at the link above, or email the show at

Thursday, May 29, 2014

2014 Phi Sigma Tau Inductees

Ashland University's PHI SIGMA TAU, Ohio Mu Chapter, honors students who have demonstrated academic excellence in philosophy.  Membership is by invitation, based on significant academic achievement.  We would like to present the current members of the 2014-2015 academic year:

      Kathryn Brickner
      Johnathon Case
      Zachary Hoffman
      Brian Kellogg
      William Patznick
      Brent Rossman

Congratulations to our newest (and returning) members!


Monday, May 26, 2014

If you want to be happy for the rest of your life...

...then learn what makes the world go around: induction!

Lawyers and doctors and engineers, oh my!


The Problem of Induction

Author: Kenneth Blake Vernon
Category: Philosophy of Science, Epistemology

Aulë’s Artifacts

Suppose you are an ethnographer newly arrived in Middle Earth, making land on the western shore, at the Gray Havens. You follow the East Road, traveling over the Misty Mountains and through the Mirkwood, eventually reaching Erebor, where you have planned your fieldwork. There you meet Durin’s Folk, a clan of dwarves living in the Lonely Mountain. Having dutifully acquired IRB approval, you carefully and meticulously note your observations of their behavior...

Read more {The Problem of Induction}

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Neuroscience Gets Philosophical

Old minds and new brains...working together.

At the University of Washington, researchers are pioneering a field of neuroscience called "neuroengineering," which will one day involve doing things like regulating people's moods with brain implants. In this fascinating video, they explain how their work spilled over into philosophy.

The issues that these neuroengineers are tackling are going to become increasingly important in many scientific fields that touch on the human mind. Entering the Brain Age also means that lab research will be trying to answer the same questions that people in the humanities have contemplated for thousands of years. Who are we? Do we have freewill? If somebody is controlling our minds with chemicals and medical devices, how is that different from controlling us with ideology or economic incentives?

The much-vaunted "war" between science and culture seems destined to end in a synthesis, at least in cases like these.

[For a direct link to the new story, click HERE.]