All posts tagged: social philosophy

Week 29 Questions for Know Thyself 2019: Tools

Humans are differentiated from other animals by our extensive use of tools.  Yes, other animals use tools, but the use is relatively rare, and the tools are basic.  What counts as a tool for an otter might just be the use of a rock to smash shellfish from their shells.  A rock and a jackhammer are hardly comparable, though.  Comparing basic animal tools to complex human tools is like comparing communicative animal cries to human language. Viewing the comparison that way, it’s clear that human tools are in a special category.

Human tools also have symbolic meaning. What is a dream catcher, a magic wand, or a ghost trap?

Keep reading to find out what makes human tool use special and what your attachment to tools says about you!

Week 28 Questions for Know Thyself 2019: Art

You love the arts and want your government to spend more on grants and public art, right? Well, even if you don’t, there are many good reasons for devoting effort and resources to the arts, such as cultural development, social activism and community engagement, and childhood education.  The artists themselves insist that art is good for us as human beings.

But there are plenty of reasons to reject funding the arts, too.  Top of the list: it costs a lot of money, it “does nothing”, and we can’t even agree on what counts as art.  The alternative is to spend money on things that give us utility – we can all agree on what’s useful to society.  In contrast, words probably never said about art: “That’s really useful.”

Let’s explore the Top 5 reasons to reject art as a concept and as a recipient of funding!