It’s LGBTQ Pride Month

lgbtq pride 2016

All people deserve to live with dignity and respect, free from fear and violence, and protected against discrimination, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation.

– Barack Obama in his Presidential Proclamation for LGBT Pride Month 2015

June is LGBTQ Pride Month. Celebrate with us!

Visit The Philosopher’s Eye Blog each Monday this month to read think pieces from Wiley authors and LGBTQ advocates. You’ll also get unlocked access to journal articles and book excerpts that examine the ethical, social, and philosophical issues faced by the LGBTQ community.

Join us as we continue the necessary conversation on LGBTQ rights, awareness, and support.

Happy Reading,

The Wiley Blackwell Philosophy Team

 

Trump and Moral Evil

Philosophy scholar and guest blogger, Thomas White, speaks to the Trump Phenomenon and the dangers of Moral Evil as the ‘Privatized Self.’

 

Donald_J__Trump_on_Twitter___Happy__CincoDeMayo__The_best_taco_bowls_are_made_in_Trump_Tower_Grill__I_love_Hispanics__https___t_co_ufoTeQd8yA_https___t_co_k01Mc6CuDI_
This screenshot what taken from Donald Trump’s official Twitter account

 

I popped open my laptop after breakfast to catch up with the latest news. To no surprise, Donald Trump’s face was plastered all over Internet. This time Trump had posted a picture on social media, eating tacos from Trump Tower, wishing everyone a Happy Cinco de Mayo, and exclaiming that he loved “the Hispanics.” Seriously? How could someone so blatantly insensitive be a legitimate candidate for the office of the President of the United States?

Suppressing an overwhelming urge to post a nasty, personal comment on some website about this picture, I instead surfed over to a poetry site where I reread these profound lines from that most philosophical poet, T.S. Eliot, one of my favorites:

   

We are the hollow men/ We are the stuffed men/ Leaning together/ Headpiece filled with straw.  

    Alas! / Our dried voices, when/ We whisper together/ Are quiet and meaningless

Vowing to resist the mindless tide of angry Trump-related polemics, which has swamped any effort to restore even the most minimal rationality to the American political conversation, I decided to act appropriately (rationally), and begin this calm philosophical study of Donald Trump: What is his relationship to knowledge and language? What is the nature of his mind? What is his relationship to other persons qua moral agents?

Eliot’s verse certainly goes a long way to answering these questions: Trump is a Hollow Man, whose mind is filled with nothing but “meaningless”, dead clutter –no poetry, no wit, no knowledge, and no empathy for other persons. This taco stunt revealed not only his ignorance about Spanish culture—Spain and Latin America have a varied ,often European, non-Mexican cuisine—but a   blatant willingness to crudely stereotype others that has become his trademark— a failure of empathy, or emotional intelligence. Trump helps us answer the fascinating philosophical riddle posed by Eliot’s opening lines: a mind can be “hollow” yet “stuffed”– that is filled with emptiness (lack of moral feelings, absence of knowledge etc.). Donald Trump is the abyss Nietzsche warned us against.

The one apparent trait described in  Eliot’s profile of Hollow Men—they speak in “quiet” ”dried”  voices like the elderly—that Trump does not seem to fit actually is appropriate. His trademark bellicose, bullying style masks his hollowness. George Orwell in 1984 captured the emptiness of this demagogic mind. The Orwellian dystopian state mixes political rallies filled with rage and bullying directed at crude political stereotypes, with a political language –Newspeak—that  has been emptied  of any references to “freedom” or “human rights.” (Significantly, Trump never refers to the language in the Declaration of Independence, or any other key historical document that defends freedom, though he has advocated torture, which is Big Brother’s standard operating procedure).

When I mull over of all of these traits, as well as that cringe-worthy, taco-related photo-op, I think immediately of another philosophical concept: Solipsism.

British philosopher, A.E. Taylor defined Solipsism as the doctrine in “which I have no certain knowledge of any existence except my own, everything else being a mere state or modification of myself.”

Though philosophers long ago refuted this theory—how can I communicate the theory of Solipsism to other minds if the latter are problematic?—“Solipsism” actually serves another important goal, namely as a conceptual framework useful to profile the emerging privatization of the self as a culturally, politically, and socially significant trend.  What a  privatized self/ solipsistic self  is was described nicely in this blog about Donald Trump posted on Huffington Post—though the author does not use those terms:

[Donald Trump is an] “emptiness [filled] with a sound and fury meant to gratify his needs in the here and now,” … “others exist only as an extension of himself.”… [His] “behavior… “reflects the hollowness within… the humanity of others [being] of no concern.”

In this taco photo-op Trump is immersed only in his own consciousness; the independent humanity of his ‘Hispanic’ audience is problematic. In other words: a portrait of unsullied solipsism.

These are exactly the representative traits that I profile in my CrossCurrents essay as generally emblematic of the privatized Hollow Men, who lack empathy with the suffering of others, while dominating them for their own personal gratification and private ends. As I observe in this essay, such selves occupy every level of contemporary society. Donald Trump is not unique.


About the Author

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Thomas White is an independent scholar, who has published essays, poetry and fiction , both in print and online journals, in Canada, United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom. White is also the founder of the Takoma Park (MD) Socrates Cafe discussion group, facilitating from 2008 to 2013. He loves the Socratic adventure, and specializes in demonstrating the perennial relevance of philosophy to every aspect of  the human condition.

Enjoy White’s CrossCurrents article, The Hollow Men: Moral Evil as ‘Privatized Self’ freely through June 30.



Special Note: We welcome you to engage in active dialogue in the comments section below. Please note that comments will be carefully moderated to ensure constructive, respectful conversation. Please allow for up to 24 hours for your comment to appear. Happy Commenting!

The Evolution of Christmas

Each year millions of people around the world celebrate Christmas in a myriad of ways. There’s no denying this holiday and its significance to so many people, and for us, this is one of many times a year where we make more of an effort to appreciate others and remember to be more open-hearted.

To celebrate the holidays this year, we’ve hand-picked special collection of stories and articles on Christmas from the Wiley Blackwell collection and elsewhere. Test your knowledge by taking our quiz, read about the history of the holiday, and explore how the phenomenon of Christmas has spread around the world in the most interesting ways.

Please enjoy, and whatever you may believe, happy holidays to you and yours!


Take Our Christmas Quiz!

Christmas Quiz


Fun Facts about Christmas

History of Christmas – History.com

Ten Ages of Christmas – BBC

How Christmas Went Commercial: A Brief History – Fast Company


Enjoy our special collection freely through January 31.

Evolution of Christmas

Christmas: A Candid History – by Bruce David Forbes

The Historian | Richard Chapman

“Arguing that Christmas has ever been a blend of beliefs, practices, and purposes, Forbes likens it to a snowball that collected and discarded items pell-mell as it rolled along.”

A Child’s Christmas in America: Santa Claus as Deity, Consumption as Religion

The Journal of American Culture | Russell W. Belk

“Although  various  treatments have attempted to trace the Santa Claus myth to  the  4th  century  Lycian  Bishop  of  Myra,  Saint Nicholas’, as well as to European mythical figures including the Dutch Sinterklaas, French Pere Noel, Swedish  Santa  Lucia  and  Jultomten,  Russian Babushka,  German  Christkindlein  and  Knecht Ruprecht, Spanish Three Kings, Italian Befana, and the  earlier  Roman  god  Saturn,  the  modern American  Santa Claus  bears  little resemblance  to any  of  these  older  myths  and  legends.”

The Strange Birth of Santa Claus: From Artemis the Goddess and Nicholas the Saint

The Journal of American Culture | Bruce Curtis

“Long ago and far away, so say the legends, there lived a Bishop of Myra in Asia Minor, a bearded Father of the Catholic Church named Nicholas. This Patriarch  won  his  way  into the hearts of the people, recently converted from idolatry  to  Christianity, by destroying  the temple  of  Artemis, a many-breasted goddess of  the sea and of grain, a pagan Earth Mother who had a long and distinguished career as a midwife and protector of women.”

Leisure and Recreation

History | Douglas Reid

“Despite some serious resistance and much non-compliance with the Puritan regime, it seemed to late-seventeenth and early-eighteenth-century writers that Christmas observance and festivities had received a damaging blow: the talk was of decline and decay.”

Philosophy

Female Spirituality and the Infant Jesus in Late Medieval Dominican Convents

Gender & History | Ulinka Rublack

“Dominican Christmas  sermons,  however,  encouraged  their  audiences  to become ‘mother of Christ’ and to let their souls give spiritual birth to Christ.”

What’s in a(n Empty) Name?

Pacific Philosophical Quaterly | Fred Adams & Laura A. Dietrich

“The names ‘Santa’ and ‘Father Xmas’ share similar causal histories. They both come out of the same Western cultural tradition. They are both associated with the same lore – the same set of descriptions.”

Existential Scrooge: A Kierkegaardian Reading of A Christmas Carol

Literature Compass | Shale Preston

“A Christmas Carol is indeed historically important, so much so that it may have influenced or even inspired Søren Kierkegaard’s The Concept of Anxiety (1844).”

Chapter 19: Common Claus

Christmas—Philosophy For Everyone | Cindy Scheopner

“In a state with no racial or ethnic majority, religious views also demonstrate a variety uncommon on the mainland US. at a time when they seem most acute.”

Religion

The Circumstantial Evidence of the Virgin Birth

The Muslim World | Albertus Pieters

“To my mind, so far from the Virgin Birth being a byproduct of Christian imagination, or a thing that while true, was unnecessary and uninfluential in the origin of the Christian religion, it underlies the entire development.”

Are Angels Just a Matter of Faith?

The New Blackfriars | Dominic White OP

“I argue that a philosophically viable Catholic angelology would not only help many people within and outside the Church to make sense of their religious experience, but would offer a much richer conception of creation and God’s saving work.”

The Star of Christ in the Light of Astronomy

Zygon | Aaron Adair

“Although there were centuries of astrological speculation, this overview shows that naturalistic theories of the Star are a late innovation that began with apologetic attempts in the nineteenth century and not long after left the mainstream of biblical scholarship, leaving mostly astronomers to give credibility to this tale.”

Migration

 

The Christmas Cake: A Japanese Tradition of American Prosperity

The Journal of Popular Culture | Hideyo Konagaya

“For Japanese, Christmas continues to provide an arena to rehearse American values.”

 

Translation Acts: Afro-Peruvian Music in the United States

Journal of Popular Music Studies | Heidi Carolyn Feldman

“…the track “Panalivio” is based on the music of black Christmas. This Catholic festival, the legacy of slavery and Christianization, takes place in rural Chincha, Peru, a town mythologized during the revival as the cradle of black Peruvian music.”

 

New Ways to Write the History of Western Europe and the United States: The Concept of Intercultural Transfer

History Compass | Thomas Adam

“The trimming of Christmas evergreens emerged as part of the modern form of Christmas celebration among wealthy families in Germany during the Romantic period. From here it quickly spread across Europe and even to the New England states in the 1830s and 1840s.”

Literary Criticism

Herrick’s “Christmas Carol”: A New Poem, and Its Implications for Patronage

English Literary Renaissance | Tom Cain

“The religious and secular celebration of Christmas had been under increasing political thread in England and Wales since the Solemn League and Covenent was made with the Presbyterian Scots in September 1643.”

Milton’s On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity: The Virgilian and Biblical Matrices

Milton Quarterly | Donald Swanson & John Mulryan

“This wedding of the Virgilian and biblical matrices reminds us once again that  Milton  was  the  most learned poet of his time, even at the early age of twenty-one,  when he composed this astonishingly  precocious  poem.”

Creative Writing – Enjoy these original works of Christmas fiction from our journals

The Christmas morning Swim

Critical Quarterly | Robert Cremins

Christmas with Aunt Ama

Critical Quarterly | Yaba Badoe

The Kindness of Strangers

The Yale Review | Sheila Kohler

Happy World Philosophy Day!

November 19, 2015 is the tenth World Philosophy Day. Join us by reading curated Wiley scholarly works on philosophy, then in dialog on Twitter @PhilosophersEye or in the comments section.

November 19th marks the tenth annual World Philosophy Day. Established by UNESCO in 2005, this day calls to attention “the enduring value of philosophy for the development of human thought, for each culture and for each individual.”

In conjunction with UNESCO’s roundtable debate on plurality of languages and places of philosophy, we’ve organized a special collection of philosophical scholarship from our wide portfolio of journals, free to read for 30 days.

Please read and share, then join us in dialog on Twitter @PhilosophersEye.  

 

World Philosophy Day Twitter image


 

Topic 1 // Philosophy in Non-Western Cultures

Knowledge and dissemination of philosophical thought of non-Western cultures, especially through new technologies.

Emerging Technologies and the Future of Philosophy by Philippe Verdoux

Metaphilosophy

 

Gettier Across Cultures by Edouard Machery, Stephen Stich, David Rose, Amita Chatterjee, Kaori Karasawa, Noel Struchiner, Smita Sirker, Naoki Usui, and Takaaki Hashimoto

Noûs

 

Aristotelian Casuistry: Getting into the Thick of Global Media Ethics by Sandra L. Borden
Communication Theory

Logicality and Regulatory Ethics: Lessons from the Bucharest Early Intervention Project by Joseph J. Fins, The Hastings Center Report

 

Topic 2 //Philosophy Beyond the Desk

Philosophy outside of the academic enclosure, using new places and formats.

 

Race, Religion, and Ethics in the Modern/Colonial World by Nelson Maldonado-Torres

Journal of Religious Ethics

 

Josef Fuchs’ Revised Natural Law: Possibilities for Social Ethics by James P. O’Sullivan

New Blackfriars

 

Renegotiating Aquinas: Catholic Feminist Ethics, Postmodernism, Realism, and Faith by Lisa Sowle Cahill

Journal of Religious Ethics

 

On Cultivating the Courage to Speak Up: The Critical Role of Attendings in the Moral Development of Physicians in Training by Divya Yerramilli

The Hastings Center Report

 

Topic 3 // Reimagining Philosophical Learning

The variety of places and forms of teaching and learning philosophy.

 

Teaching an Introduction to the Global Philosophy of Religion by Nathan Loewen

Teaching Theology & Religion

 

Heidegger, Education and the ‘Cult of the Authentic’ by Ben Trubody

Journal of Philosophy of Education

 

Pedagogy of the Impossible: Žižek in the Classroom by Chris McMillan

Educational Theory

 

Teaching Bioethics at the Secondary School Level by Laura J. Bishop and Lola Szobota

The Hastings Center Report


Ancient Philosophy

Want more philosophy?

Read the first Virtual Issue on Ancient Philosophy from the Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies – now available for free.

The Collection on Migration and the Refugee Crisis is Ready

View the collection here.


At the end of 2014, there were an estimated 19.5 million refugees worldwide. In the recent months, this crisis has been the center of much debate as Syrian refugees enter Europe.  Many of these people are families with children, forced to flee their homes or risk their safety.

shutterstock_148074182

 

In light of the tragedy of the recent terrorist attacks in both Paris and Beirut, some countries are now enforcing strict background checks on  these Syrian refugees, or shunning them altogether.

To foster an engaging conversation, we have brought together a collection of content freely available across the social sciences, as well as roundtable discussion podcasts from our recent webinar on the issues of refugees and migration – ranging from ethics, family studies, geo-political, humanitarian responses and social problems.

What does Sartre have to do with cinnamon buns?

BillIrwinPortrait2011
Dr. William Irwin is a Professor of Philosophy at King’s College.

Plenty!

William Irwin, Editor of The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series, recently wrote an article for The Conversation on “How existentialism can shield us from the free market’s dark side.

Using existentialist themes of personal freedom and responsibility, Irwin makes the claim that government regulation and social agencies do not need to shield people from the darker lures of products like “diet-killing Cinnabons.”

Irwin’s article for The Conversation is based on his new book, The Free Market Existentialist: Capitalism without Consumerism in which he proposes a new philosophy that is a synthesis of existentialism, amoralism, and libertarianism.

Irwin BookIrwin begins an essential conversation for the 21st century for students, scholars, and armchair philosophers alike with clear, accessible discussions of a range of topics across philosophy including atheism, evolutionary theory, and ethics

Humorous and poignant, Irwin’s article and book, are both must-reads!


blackwell philosphy and pop cultureClick here for more on The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series.


A Special Collection on Holocaust Distortion and Muslim-Jewish Relations

In light of the most recent World Zionist Congress meeting and the on-going Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the Middle East, we have curated a special collection focusing on the significance of Muslim-Jewish relations as they pertain to Holocaust Distortion and Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.

muslim jewish relations

By freeing the content now through November 30, we hope to facilitate an impactful conversation on religion, culture, ethics, and history to better relations and build effective policy.

Update

To further the conversation on Muslim-Jewish relations, we’ve created a book giveaway! To enter to win Peacemaking and the Challenge of Violence in World Religions, follow the instructions below. Retweet any of tweets with the contest graphic from the following Wiley accounts: @WileyReligion, @PhilosophersEye, and @WileyHistory. The contest ends Friday, Nov 6.

Twitter Contest Graphic

Click here for more information on the book.


Journal of Religious Ethics on Holocaust Distortion

Journal of Religious Ethics
Volume 43, Issue 4, December 2015

Holocaust Abuse: The Case of Hajj Muhammad Amin al-Husayni

Michael A. Sells

Abstract: This essay reconsiders the category of “Holocaust denial” as the marked indicator of ethical transgression in Holocaust historiography within American civil religion. It maintains that the present category excludes and thereby enables other violations of responsible Holocaust historiography. To demonstrate the nature and gravity of such violations, the essay engages the widespread claim that Hajj Muhammad Amin al-Husayni, the former mufti of Jerusalem, was an instigator, promoter, or “driving spirit” of the Nazi genocide against Jews, and the associated suggestions of wider Arab and Muslim complicity. The essay uncovers the history of the Husayni narrative in question, the dramatic circumstances in which it emerged, its role in the 1961 trial of Adolf Eichmann, and its rediscovery and misuse within American popular and political circles over the past two decades. Such misuse, it concludes, corrodes Holocaust recognition within American civil religion and demonstrates the need for a revision of the socially accepted ethical boundary for responsible Holocaust historiography.

Response to Michael Sells

Ronald M. Green

Abstract: In an era when lies and misrepresentations about historical events easily become firmly rooted, Michael Sells’s discussion illustrates the importance of careful historical research as a moral enterprise. In addition to the skills of the historian, however, there is also room in this enterprise for those of the ethicist. In particular, I warn against confusing the truth or falsity of claims about one narrow historical period with larger questions about the moral meaning and significance of those claims. Illustrating this, I argue one cannot assess the legitimacy of competing nationhood claims solely on the basis of the deeds of specific actors. Nor should the actions of a single individual like the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem be converted into a totalizing claim about the rights of the Palestinian people.

CrossCurrents Special Issue on Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia: Probing the History and Dynamics of Hate

CrossCurrents
Special Issue on Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia Volume 65, Issue 3, September 2015

Introduction: Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia—Twins or Category Mistake?

Guest Editor: Björn Krondorfer

 

Sticks and Stones: The Role of Law in the Dynamics of Hate

David Kader

Renewed Hate: The Place of Jews and Muslims in Contemporary White Power Thought

Richard King

Making Enemies: The Uses and Abuses of Tainted Identities

Alex Alvarez

Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism: Shared Prejudice or Singular Social Pathologies

Michael Dobkowski

Classifying Muslims

Mohamed Mosaad Abdelaziz Mohamed

Nostalgia and Memory in Jewish–Muslim Encounters

Mehnaz M. Afridi

Shifting Hierarchies of Exclusion: Colonialism, Anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia in European History

Ethan B. Katz

Outlawing the Veil, Banning the Muslim? Restricting Religious Freedom in France

Melanie Adrian

When the Victims are not so Innocent: Extremist Muslim Activity in Western Bloc Countries

Khaleel Mohammed

The Nexus of Enmity: Ideology, Global Politics, and Identity in the Twenty-First Century

Eyal Bar