Suggested readings, #122

Here it is, a rundown of interesting articles I’ve come across recently, to consider for your weekend readings:

Can comedy change the world? Despots aren’t defeated by laughter, but the fundamental message of the comedian – “it doesn’t have to be this way” – threatens authority and disturbs the prevailing order. (New Statesman)

Poseidon’s wrath. Vanished beneath the waves in 373 BCE, Helike is a byword for thinking about disaster, for ancients and moderns alike. (Aeon)

Exploring Postcolonialism in “Star Trek.” (The Great Courses Daily)

Why relativism is the worst idea ever. (APA Blog)

Why Stoicism now? One fool’s answer to a sage question in nine propositions. (Medium)

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Massimo is the K.D. Irani Professor of Philosophy at the City College of New York. He blogs at and He is the author of How to Be a Stoic: Using Ancient Philosophy to Live a Modern Life.

2 thoughts on “Suggested readings, #122”

  1. Interesting article on comedy. Strange that the author (or editors) would use Alec Baldwin as the cover shot–I don’t think anyone considers him a comedian (surely not other comedians), and he has been a tool of the establishment attempting to marginalize the usurper, not ever attacking the establishment. Better Dave Chappell, who singlehandedly took down the wokeness hysteria sweeping the seats of power, or Jerry Seinfeld and the many other comedians who have stated that the political correctness movement has curtailed the power that comedy used to have.

    Remember, the only reason we need the term “politically correct” is to differentiate from things that are *actually* correct.

    Buon weekend a tutti!

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  2. Even worse on moral relativism, perhaps? At a philosophy and religion website on Patheos, I saw the claim that moral relativism is a form of moral nihilism. Uhh, no.

    Personally? I’m a kind of relativist about moral relativism. I don’t so much disagree with your collaborator Boudry as, somewhat per Wittgenstein, talk past him or have a different framing or however you put it.

    Per that philosopher Walter Sinnott-Armstrong I mentioned to you on Twitter a while back, and whose book on moral relativisms (He uses the plural in the title) I had started reading, then vacation and post-vacation editing of massive amount of photos has led me to set aside …

    I am with him in that many moral truth claims are … well, they’re in a sense, in the light of cultural evolution, neither true nor false in one sense. Boudry does himself note that “sometimes” people are wrong morally.

    I am especially thinking of individual moral claims that the individual holds only as an individual, and that the person explicitly states they do not impose on others. Especially if it’s part of an internal consistency, then it’s true “for them,” especially if viewed in the light of …

    Utilitarian ethics.

    This can even be true for groups, if ever individual of the group has made an informed decision. For example, a religion’s ethics can be true “for it,” if per Thomas Jefferson, it doesn’t pick my pocket.

    Anyway, I’m just one-eighth of the way through Sinnott-Armstrong’s book. May need to refresh my memory when I get back into it, but I’ve been taking notes. It’s not a highly technical read for the most part, philosophically. It is a bit “dense” at times, though, in the way Aristotle or Thoreau could be very dense.

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