In the euthanasia debate in the March/April 2003 issue, philosophy teacher Tim Chappel allows no circumstances for justifiable euthanasia, while philosophy lecturer Joachim Jung sounds a little over-eager to promote state-sanctioned suicide.
Independent scholar Chad Trainer examines how Bertrand Russel, generally a progressive, could oppose the development of space, and there's also an interview with the University of Rochester's Professor Emeritus of Philosophy Richard Taylor. Taylor, who expected to live only another year at the time of the interview, also contributes the ironic short tale “Double Edge,” in which a polished academic fraud is put in check by a less presentable, but legitimate, intellectual.
One of my favorite pieces in this issue is Richard Reilly's “Challenge My Beliefs?” in which he draws a distinction between discussing his students' perceptions of a higher power and blaspheming a—presumably thick-skinned—Almighty.
In the “Sport and Thought” issue (May/June 2003), there are many articles examining the pathetic moral state of professional sports. Philosophy professor Gordon Marino boxed for a short time before corruption drove him out of the fight game. In “Apologia Pro Pugilatione,” Marino stands up for the sport on the basis that it builds courage.
In “The Kantian Coach,” Dr. Tim Madigan examines whether Immanuel Kant would have made a very successful coach since he would have been obsessed with honesty and fair play, while in “If Life is Finite, Why am I Watching This Damn Game?” Kenneth Shouler questions whether sports are a justifiable expenditure of time and energy.
When Dr. John Sellars makes the point that the character of “Maximus” in the movie Gladiator is essentially too emotional to serve as an example of stoicism, I couldn't argue with him. When Sellars goes on to say that Maximus isn't really heroic, however, I did argue with him, in a letter which should appear in an upcoming issue.
In the “Sports and Thought” issue, there is a blurb by Adam Carter promoting Ben Roger's new book, A.J. Ayer: A Life. This short bit includes fight stats on the lovely and charming Mike Tyson juxtaposed against philosopher Ayer, now deceased, who was frail and aged when he courageously intercepted the human pit bull at a party, allowing Naomi Campbell to escape being raped.
Among the regular features are “Dear Socrates,” where readers pose questions to the ancient thinker, as well as a primer for the neophyte philosopher. There is a news section, covering up-to-the-minute moral conundrums, and the magazine occasionally even runs poetry, some of which will blow your vocabulary.
Stuff to agree with and stuff to disagree with. Only a couple of times did I come up against something to leave me more cross-eyed and confused than I usually am. Philosophy Now is Viagra for your brain.