Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Philosophically Speaking

Philosophers deal in the world of abstractions, conundrums and polysylabics.  Case in point, explain this quote: "...the idea that epistemic facts can be analyzed without remainder - even in principle - into non-epistemic facts ... is, I believe, a radical mistake - a mistake of a piece with the so-called 'naturalistic fallacy' in ethics." Written by Wilfrid Sellars in a paper presented as part of the University of London Special Lectures on Philosophy for 1955-56. Herein lies the challenge. If a philosopher figures out the grand Rubic’s cube of life, language is inadequate to explain it… or at least explain it in terms that an average beer swilling, crotch scratching, Hallmark card giving mortal can understand. We tend to skitter along the surface of life, allowing our brains to body surf on the waves of popular culture. Enter Dr. Aaron Allen Schiller, visiting assistant prof in philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Professor Schiller teaches a brilliantly conceived upper-division “Philosophy and Popular Culture” course which underscores that nothing is beyond philosophical reflection. Family Guy, Lady Gaga, vampires, Harley-Davidson, baseball, food, Harry Potter, graffiti, digital games, social networking, Batman, Bob Marley, cartoons and more are artfully crafted into final papers that weave pop culture and philosophical constructs into interesting reading. The final student papers are posted on a blog created by Doc Schiller. 

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