Articles on Philosophy

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The dead soldier’s funeral holds an important place in our society. (AAP Image/Australian Department of Defence, LS Andrew Dakin)

From religion to patriotism: how we see the death of a soldier

Another Australian soldier has tragically lost his life while on his seventh tour in Afghanistan. The 40 year-old special forces soldier from Perth was shot while on a counter-insurgency operation in the…
You want the truth? You can’t handle the … wait: it’s actually quite simple. Daveblog

The truth, the whole truth and … wait, how many truths are there?

Calling something a “scientific truth” is a double-edged sword. On the one hand it carries a kind of epistemic (how we know) credibility, a quality assurance that a truth has been arrived at in an understandable…
There are many different religions, but are there different types of atheism? EPA/Andy Rain

Mad, glad or sad: what type of atheist are you?

This weekend thousands of so-called “New Atheists” will converge on Melbourne for the second Global Atheist Convention. Last month Alain de Botton, a European popular philosopher, received copious coverage…
Universities are centres of research… but what kind of research? flickr/pcgn

A question universities need to answer: why do we research?

Fundamentally, there are two big motives for research. On the on hand there is intellectual ambition: the desire to know and understand the word, to appreciate the best that has been said and thought on…
The ins and outs of the parliamentary day are often nothing more than a distraction. AAP/Alan Porritt

Why I’m giving up daily politics for a grander vision

Some people worry that we are, collectively, indifferent to politics. I am beginning to worry that I have not been indifferent enough. It’s a frightening idea: maybe politics matters far less than I thought…
The “post-birth abortion” argument doesn’t hold. Paqman

There’s no good argument for infanticide

Philosophers Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva have received an avalanche of abusive comments and emails following the publication of their paper on “post-birth abortion” in last week’s Journal of…
Philosophers talk about the “dirty hands” problem: are lies OK in the pursuit of truth? Le Mast/Flickr

The morality of unmasking Heartland

“Truth is so precious that she should be attended by a bodyguard of lies.” Winston Churchill’s famous words were uttered during the war against the Nazis and referred to Operation Bodyguard, a deception…
We take animals’ liberty every day, but is calling them slaves accurate? Rev Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos ClintJCL/Flickr

Can an animal be a slave?

Is the confinement of animals for human purposes akin to slavery? Are some animals slaves? Slavery is an evocative concept. Treating someone as a slave is one of the worst things you can do to them. Using…
When it comes to being “fortunate”, context is king. kaibara87

Explainer: does luck exist?

Some people seem born lucky. Everything they touch turns to gold. Others are dogged by misfortune. It’s not just people who might be lucky or unlucky – it can be single acts. When the ball hits a post…
Gaddafi’s death raises moral questions about whether he should have been put on trial or not. EPA/Rehan Khan

Should Colonel Gaddafi have been allowed to live?

Muammar Gaddafi met his end after being cornered in a Sirte drainage pipe, having fled from a NATO air-strike on his convoy. Questions about exactly how he died - whether caught in crossfire or summarily…
The lawyer for the self-confessed Norway killer, Anders Breivik will enter a plea of insanity AFP photo/Facebook - Youtube.

The lone mad man? Breivik’s lunacy label stops vital questions

Societies, if we are to take the Freudian line, prefer to subordinate chaotic urges in favour of dull order. Civilization implies stability. By the nineteenth century, human society was digesting a range…
Is our understanding of time a “stubbornly persistent illusion”? xenob/Flickr

Time is but a dream … or is it?

One thing most of us know about time is that there isn’t enough of the stuff, and that the problem is getting worse. “Too swiftly now the Hours take flight,” as the English poet Austin Dobson (1840-1921…

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