- Average U.S. household debt is $137,000. Corporate debt has doubled since the 2008 financial crisis, reaching a record high of $8.7 trillion. The U.S. national debt is $20.6 trillion. Meanwhile, corporate profits are skyrocketing, and the upper reaches of U.S. household wealth rose by $1.7 trillion to reach a record $96.2 trillion. “We” are simultaneously richer and more indebted than ever. Are the phenomena linked? What are the differences between different types of debts—individual, corporate, national? What is debt? What does it do? And for whom? ...
- Can a computer be intelligent? That is, can the abilities of the human mind be reproduced by computer hardware and software? Dating to the origins of computing, the question of artificial intelligence is among the central problems of the modern age, its ramifications impacting not only computer science and adjacent fields of cognitive science and philosophy of mind, but also long-standing conceptions of human freedom and dignity. Is an autonomous thinking machine possible? What would distinguish it, as a moral subject, from a human? ...
- The arrival of Jacques Derrida’s work lit the American intellectual landscape ablaze. For many American academics and critics in the 1970s and thereafter, the charismatic Algerian-born Derrida was the face of “French Theory,” and virtually synonymous with postmodernism itself. With his enigmatic prose and seemingly esoteric approach to language, philosophy, and meaning, Derrida proved not only immensely controversial, but also tremendously influential throughout the American academy. ...
- From the subatomic to the socioeconomic to the celestial, matter creates and organizes our experience of the world. Materialisms from pre-Socratic philosophy to Marxism have attempted to understand how matter matters. In conversation with these enduring questions about how matter operates, contemporary theorists have developed a range of approaches that fall, loosely, under the rubric of “new materialisms.” The questions posed by new materialisms include: To what degree can we attribute agency, vitality, or animacy to matter? To what extent does an account of matter help us understand questions of interpretation, labor, and exchange? Can a vibrant theory of matter animate queer and feminist politics? ...
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Faculty Writing: Catholicism, Judaism, Liberalism
In Mosaic Magazine, Nathan Shields discusses the curious case of Eduardo Mortara, a Jewish boy secretly baptized by his family’s Catholic maid and later seized by the Catholic Church. With the publication of Mortara’s memoirs, a debate has reopened, among Catholics and others, encompassing “fundamental questions about the present-day Church, its claims to authority, its […]