Writing lessons we can learn from Vincent Van Gogh

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Photo by Ståle Grut from Unsplash

Writing, for some, for those who do a lot of it, may seem like a mechanical process. A formulaic procedure, a technical exercise. But for those who do it not as a profession, but a pleasurable pursuit, writing takes time, inspiration, and great thought. Writing, for those who truly love it, is a humanist endeavour: a way of making sense of the world in which they live. In this way it is art, and should be treated and understood as such.

Vincent van Gogh was an artist, but was also a writer. His heartfelt letters to his brother have been…

It is within human nature to look to things greater than ourselves for answers. Some turn to religion, some turn to mathematics and/or philosophy. Some worship God(s) and pray they will provide us with guidance. Religion is unknowing, but it is a way of knowing in a world in which we know nothing. Having faith in mathematics is similar to having faith in religion: it is to believe in something intangible which yet is tangible in the minds of believers.

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Photo: Alex Block from Unsplash

Math and religion are the same in that they both aspire to a sort of grace. They are conscious endeavours…

A philosophical analysis of our emotions.

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Photo by Cathal Mac an Bheatha on Unsplash

A couple of months back, my mom and I watched Lady Bird. It’s a coming-of-age movie about a girl: her relationship with herself, her mother, and the city of Sacramento in which she grew up.

Lady Bird insists she hates Sacramento, hates everything about it, but a nun from her school contends she writes of it with care.

Sure”, says Lady Bird, clearly taken aback. “I guess I pay attention”.

Don’t you think maybe they are the same thing?”, the nun responds. “Love and attention?

It always struck me how emotions can work in confluence: how our experiences and emotions…

The Apeiron Blog Newsletter

Philosophy in the news, and our picks of the week.

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Photo by Artem Kniaz from Unsplash

Hey Fellow Philosophers!

Here are some selected philosophy resources to get you thinking this week.

Philosophy in the News

This week I thought it would be interesting to focus on animal philosophy. Although many may argue animals lack rationality, philosophers have argued there is an ethical morality surrounding the treatment of animals.

This article from Vox is an interview with British philosopher John Gray on the importance of the wisdom of cats. It’s a conversation with Gray based on his new book entitled Feline Philosophy: Cats and the Meaning of Life. …

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Photo from Teen Vogue

I met my best friend at 5 years old, and she’s been my best friend ever since.

At 21, we could both say that we’ve been through all the good and the bad our lives have had to offer each other, together and apart.

And after every hardship I’ve watched her go through, I speak candidly when I say I’ve never seen her suffer through anything the way she suffered through COVID-19.

When she called me the night she tested positive, I cried for hours after we hung up. …

How a quantitative field enhanced the quality of my writing

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Image by Moritz Kindler from Unsplash

As I approach the end of my undergraduate education, I’d attribute my writing abilities to my major in science and my minor in English equally.

It would be rational to expect that I honed my writing skills through courses in English, which challenged me to write analytically and eloquently. Of course, this is true. English courses allowed me to explore the poetic side of writing, which is both concrete and free.

So while English taught me to be expressive, science taught me to be succinct.

But it was my science courses that required me to write clearly and concisely, which…

Womanhood and Feminism

Last year’s controversial music video depicts the influence our socio-economic ideologies have on our self-construction

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Image from The State News

My 18-year-old sister loves “WAP”. “It’s sexually liberating”, she tells me. “If men can objectify us, why can’t we use it to our power?”

And that is exactly the problem: the idea that “WAP” is in the best interests of sexually liberated women.

In her paper on the history of neoliberalism and its tenets, “Downsizing Democracy”, Lisa Duggan argues that “the economy cannot be transparently abstracted from the state or the family”.

She suggests the socio-economic ideologies that construct our public sphere: the state, economy, and civil society, have a direct influence on those in the private sphere: the family…

The Apeiron Blog Newsletter

Insight from the news, and our picks of the week.

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Photo by Gabriella Clare Marino on Unsplash

Hey Fellow Philosophers!

Here are some of our teams' favorite philosophy resources from the last few weeks. I hope they get you thinking!

Philosophy in the News

As online learning and teaching remains the dominant form of education for now and into the future, I wanted to focus on the ways COVID-19 is affecting our lives and how the field of philosophy is both analyzing and adapting to it.

This article from Daily Nous provides videos made by philosophy professors to explain philosophical concepts in easily digestible ways. …

The Science of Love

The enigmatic emotion changes more than just your heart

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Image from Love Button

When I was falling in love a couple of years back, everything seemed to be brighter, and more beautiful.

The bus ride to school became blissful, walks to class became jovial; the mundane parts of everyday life became moments to relish in.

As I was studying poetry during this time, (and falling in love with it too), I came across a poem by Wendy Cope that, in my interpretation, immaculately captures this feeling. It’s called “The Orange”:

The Orange

At lunchtime I bought a huge orange —

The size of it made us all laugh.

I peeled it and shared…

Climate Change and Science

As over 99 percent of newborn sea turtles are female, warming temperatures threaten sea turtle extinction

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A green sea turtle hatches on Heron Island, Australia. Warming waters and sands in the Great Barrier Reef have been linked to the now female-dominated sea turtle population. Image from The New York Times

As many arenas of human life are denoted as “male-dominated”, domination of the sexes is quite different for sea turtles — but not in the way you might think.

Research from a 2018 study has found that nearly all the sea turtles in the Great Barrier Reef are female, a consequence of climate change that threatens the species longevity.

In contrast to humans, whose sex is determined by the passing down of chromosomes from parents to child, sea turtles’ sex is dependent on incubation temperature. …

Mallika Vasak

Lover of classic lit, drinker of red wine, believer in magic • mallivasak@gmail.com

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