Monday, April 13, 2009

The End of Philosophy: Web Comics vs NY Times Op-Ed

Last week, The New York Times carried an Op-Ed column by David Brooks entitled The End of Philosophy, about how we make moral and ethical choices. The thrust of the story was that new research from neuroscientists suggests that deep philosophical thinking has little to do with how we make such evaluative decisions, which appear to originate in the brain's emotional centers long before they become grounded in rational and deliberative thought processes.

On the same day the Op-Ed piece appeared, Ryan Lake, a grad student working on his Ph.D. in Philosophy responded with a web comic on his blog. Lake's commentary and serious criticism of the NY Times piece might have gone largely unnoticed, except for the fact that he encapsulated his criticism in the form of a comic.

Web comics represent just one example of post-modern media that expands the nature of the dialog with the mainstream press.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for an excellent post, that was a great read! And you bring up a number of great points about the argument against the relevance of philosophy and the nature of social satire as a valuable part of public discourse. As someone who is doing their final paper on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" that is certainly and interesting subject to me. The formal study about philosophy is interesting to ponder. I always assumed that is was obvious that people generally make ethical and moral decisions based on emotion. I always thought the point of philosophy and ethics was to explore the rationality of choices we make and to find some kind of moral truth to, ideally, dictate our actions. I completely agree with the web cartoon...knowing that people react emotionally is nothing new, and it certainly does not make philosophy irrelevant or unimportant.