–Arts and letters for the modern age–

Cathode Ray Zone

–Arts and Letters for the Modern Age–

Daniel A. Kaufman

The “Franchise” Curse

The “Franchise” Curse

I’m not sure when entertainment franchises became a thing. There always have been series, of course – I grew up watching The Honeymooners, MASH, and the original Star Trek, to mention a few – but when did the term that previously had been reserved for fast-food chains...

Moral Philosophy and Moral Life

Moral Philosophy and Moral Life

An argument against theism is that the world looks exactly as you’d expect it to if there is no God and not at all like it would if there is one, and I want to say the same thing about morality: Moral life looks nothing like you’d expect it to if traditional moral...

The Issue Might Be Important, But You Aren’t

The Issue Might Be Important, But You Aren’t

I first became political in the early 1980’s, when I was a teenager. Reagan’s Contra and “Star Wars” initiatives had inspired me to become a Democrat and to attend Washington Workshops in the Capitol, where at the age of fifteen, I participated in mock congresses and...

Essays on Ethics and Normativity

Essays on Ethics and Normativity

The following collection of twenty-three essays summarizes my views on ethics and normativity, after a thirty year career in philosophy and in the wake of my recent retirement from teaching at Missouri State University. [1] Some Questions about Obligation [2] On a...

Liberalism and Kitsch

Liberalism and Kitsch

On a number of occasions, I have defended what I’ve taken to calling “procedural liberalism” on the grounds that in large pluralistic societies (a) one cannot expect one’s fellow citizens to share a common, substantive conception of the good, and (b) one cannot expect...

Hedonism

Hedonism

[Modern] Hedonism is the view that pleasure is the sole intrinsic good and that all other goods are either constitutive of pleasure or servants to it. It should not be underestimated. For one thing, Hedonism has ancient roots, going as far back as the Cyrenaic and...

Lives and Principles

Lives and Principles

This essay comes in the wake of an exchange I had some time ago on social media. (Well, perhaps not really an exchange, which suggests people actually talking to one another, something that never happened in this case.) Nicholas Christakis, of...

Virtue at Others’ Expense

Virtue at Others’ Expense

During some Thanksgiving or other, while preparing a big feast for over a dozen guests, the following item from Vox caught my eye.  How to host Thanksgiving dinner when everyone has a dietary restriction by Julia Belluz On holidays like Thanksgiving, we bring our...