Christmas and Philosophy

Christmas - Philosophy for Everyone: Better Than a Lump of CoalWe recently caught up with Scott C. Lowe, professor and chair in the Philosophy Department at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, and editor of Christmas – Philosophy for Everyone: Better Than a Lump of Coal. He is also the author of “Ebenezer Scrooge – Man of Principle” which appeared in Think magazine in 2009. His philosophical interests are in political and legal philosophy. He hopes his students think of him as the reformed Scrooge at the end of the story, not the hard hearted Scrooge who meets the ghost of Jacob Marley.

PE: Why did you decide to edit a book on Christmas and philosophy?

SCL: It started with an article I published on Ebenezer Scrooge. He’s a great example of the role of character in morality which is a hot debate in ethics these days. From there it struck me that there are a lot of interesting questions about Christmas that philosophers might have something to say about. Continue reading “Christmas and Philosophy”

Why Does John Wayne Always Win?

New Scientist this week carried a playful article on just this (very pressing) question. Niels Bohr (yes, the Neils Bohr) once hypothesised that the reason that the Good Guy is so often left standing is because his opponent draws first? Confused? Bohr’s explanation was that in reacting to an opponent’s move, the Good guy acts unthinkingly, and thereby faster than his adversary. To test his theory, he employed that most scientific of instruments – a set of toy pistols, and practiced with his colleagues. When his opponent drew first, Bohr – or so the story goes – invariably won.

Andrew Welchman, a researcher at the University of Birmingham, decided to put this theory to the test. Continue reading “Why Does John Wayne Always Win?”