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Trump's - Pantheistic Temptation

February 06, 2017

The “Pantheistic Temptation,” in political philosophy, is for a leader to interpret vox populi, the voice of the people, with vox Dei, the voice of God. This gives the elected leader a sense of being able to do whatever he or she wishes. Carl Schmitt wrote about this; however, he eventually became a National Socialist following Hitler who is a prime example of a leader succumbing to a Pantheistic Temptation. There are signs that Trump is vulnerable to a Pantheistic Temptation. Hannah Arendt makes the case that positive exemplars point the way of responding to those who become this kind of leader.



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Moral Transgression and Anti-Intellectualism: the Trudeau Government’s Abandonment of Voter Reform

February 03, 2017

“Moral transgression” is an accurate term for the Trudeau government’s abandonment of voter reform. I try to make the case. I offer some reflections on the political issues briefly afterwards.



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An Academic Issue is the First Instance of Trump Being Blocked

January 16, 2017

The first issue to seriously get in Trump's way is an academic issue? Seriously?



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Who is Imitating Whom? A Mimetic Meditation on the Upcoming Donald Trump Presidency

January 16, 2017

With Donald Trump poised to become President of the United States, the American people need discernment to determine how best to respond to him as President. The next four years could either lead to entrenched mimetic structures of violence, in which people mutually harm one another, or to mimetic structures of blessing—mutual empowerment.



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Report-back from Discovery University

December 10, 2016

Matt gives a brief description of his class at Discovery University and reflects on what the experience means for humanities education.



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Kevin O'Leary -- The Canadian Donald Trump? Let's Take This Possibility Very Seriously.

December 06, 2016

Canadians probably believe that Donald Trump's success could not be duplicated here. In fact, it might just be that we will have an opportunity to test that belief since Kevin O'Leary is contemplating a bid for the federal Conservative Party leadership.



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How Some People are "Okay" with Racism: Lessons from Plato's Cave and Sartre's Mauvaise Foi

November 22, 2016

We often delude ourselves by thinking that we have less responsibility than we actually do. As Plato points out, when we know something, we become responsible beings. Sartre stresses that our responsiblity is so deep and daunting that we often flee from it.



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Post-election perspective

November 09, 2016

Some things to remember as you work through your feelings about the US election.



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Celebrating the Life and Thought of René Girard

October 25, 2016

French-American thinker, René Girard, developed a transdisciplinary theoretical perspective centred on mimetic desire and scapegoating that is having a transformative effect in many fields and disciplines. His work has transformed our understanding of the human condition. His death on November 4, 2015 is being commemorated at Saint Paul University with a Glasmacher Lecture on the evening of November 3rd and a Colloquium on November 4th.



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Awful historical men give me life advice (part 2)

October 18, 2016

In part two of his reflection on canonical but awful figures in the history of philosophy, Matt further discusses the example of Arthur Schopenhauer. He shows how Schopenhauer's philosophical system contains a remedy, or at least the rudiments of one, for his own prejudicial views.



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Epictetus and the paradox of self-care

October 13, 2016

Matt offers a personal reflection on the ancient philosopher Epictetus and asks the question: how do we square philosophies of self-care with the need to build a better world for everyone?



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Richard Batsinduka and Integrative Peacebuilding

October 13, 2016

Richard Batsinduka, who died in September, pioneered the introduction of Third Party Neutral training (Canadian Institute for Conflict Resolution) in Rwanda in the 1990s. He worked closely with me in a relationship of mutual respect. In the process we developed understandings that are now pertinent to Integrative Peacebuilding (IPB).



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On "locker room talk" as an issue of public ethics

October 09, 2016

Trump's latest scandal - a video recording where he brags about sexually assaulting women - helps us to reflect on three important topics in public ethics: clarity and precision of the language and concepts we use to talk about such scandals; the boundary between private and public; the interlocking nature of power and oppression.



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Upcoming Conference: Building Hospitable Communities for Aging

September 21, 2016

The international interdisciplinary conference Building Hospitable Communities for Aging: Challenges and Opportunities will take place at Saint Paul University from September 28 to 30, 2016. Matt provides a brief outline of the reasons for the conference, the topics it will cover, and the long process of community involvement which went into its planning.



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Is Surfing and Texting During a Lecture Acceptable? No....but why not?

September 05, 2016

Is it acceptable to use a laptop and/or cell phone during a lecture to look up extra information? Is it acceptable to use a laptop and/or cell phone during a lecture to surf or look at Facebook? I say no in all cases. Laptops are for notes and cell phones should be used at breaks.



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Does Voter Reform Require a Referendum? That Depends on what "Voter Reform" Means.

August 09, 2016

To see whether or not voter reform requires a referendum, it is necessary to clarify what "voter reform" means since there are a number of possibilities. This article provides an answer as to when a referendum is needed and when it is not.



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Ethics: Is it just for the Nervous?

July 14, 2016

Ethical problems are by nature incompleteness problems. They are not solved, but only partially tackled and examined. Being truly ethical means never being completely comfortable with one's beliefs.



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Cosmopolitanism After Brexit

July 05, 2016

Once it became clear that the Brexit supporters were going to win in the referendum, global markets dipped, diplomacy froze, and the British pound took its worst beating in years. None of these outcomes, however, completely capture the blows dealt to the cosmopolitan idea that propelled EU in the first place.



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Trump and the US Elections

June 19, 2016

I must say that like many others I have watched the rise of Donald Trump in the 2016 US presidential primaries with a bit of bewilderment and surprise.



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Homeric Ethics and Media Bias: Breaking the Beauty-Goodness Link

June 13, 2016

Linking beauty and goodness an old notion in philosophy.
It is also very dangerous.



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Equal Under the Law? "Elbowgate" Trivializes Something Important

May 21, 2016

There has been a confused discussion around recent events in the House of Commons. The main point is that we, as citizens, bypass the partisan views of these events and concentrate solely on the truly important aspect of it: is equality before the law being maintained?



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Government by Cabinet is Back! But What Does that Really Mean?

April 21, 2016

Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper was accused of being a lone wolf in the cabinet, calling the important shots in isolation. But Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion just claimed that he alone authorized the Saudi arms deal. Is Dion a scaled-down version of Harper? Were Stephen and Stéphane separated at birth?



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Ethics and the Budget--Again! The Trudeau Government throws a Sop to Cerberus?

April 12, 2016

The ongoing saga of the Trudeau government's conflict with the PBO. Under pressure, the government provided the PBO with the requested information. However, the information provided raises more questions.



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Ethics, Orwell & the Federal Budget: Is Institutional Transparency Even Possible?

April 08, 2016

Two governments in a row have collided with the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) over their refusal to provide the necessary data so that the PBO can do its job. Is transparency in government a myth?



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An open letter to Governor Pat McCrory

April 07, 2016

An open letter to North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory concerning the signing of House Bill 2 into law.



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Awful historical men give me life advice (part 1)

April 06, 2016

Many great moral thinkers were not particularly good people. What explains this paradox? And what does it entail for an education in ethics and moral philosophy? This week Matt sets out the basic issues in order to launch an ongoing series of reflections taking Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) as his main case study.



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Electoral Reform: the Clock is Ticking

April 05, 2016

This discusses the fact that the current government promised to have electoral reform tabled within a brief time of its first mandate and that so far, nothing has been done.




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Ethics and Arms: The Strange Saga of the Saudi Arms Deal

March 31, 2016

This is a discussion of the contrast between respecting human rights and prioritizing economic interests.



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