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The Writing Desk

Fall 2021

Welcome to the first issue of The Raven, a magazine devoted to reviving the tradition of philosophical literature that deserves to be called literature. The Raven will publish original philosophy that is welcoming to readers with or without academic training in philosophy. Although “public philosophy” as currently practiced benefits the profession of philosophy—and, one hopes, the public as well—it rarely involves practicing the discipline of philosophy in public. It tends to address issues that are already of interest to a non-academic audience, in a manner already familiar to it. We believe that philosophy worth claiming public attention can do more.…

Twitter, the Intimacy Machine

C. Thi Nguyen Fall 2021

Twitter tempts us with a delicious possibility: that we might find connection with total strangers. On Twitter, we can discover people who share our moral vision—or, at least, our weird tastes in memes. Sometimes it works, and Twitter gives us warm and intimate communities. But Twitter also hands us the perfect weapon to exploit that intimacy: the retweet. Most of us on Twitter spend our time in some small backwater. We chat with a regular gang, in a space of shared context. We use insider language; we throw around ironies without explanation. Sometimes, Twitter can just seem like a long…

Philosophers and Other Conjurers

Alexander George Fall 2021

Much philosophy starts with an innocent-sounding question. To some, the question will sound innocent to the point of stupidity; those people get off the bus right away. Some stick around a bit longer and find that the apparent stupidity opens up into profound intellectual vistas; enticed, they stay for the ride. Some of these long-distance passengers never cease to be excited by the view. Others come to feel that they have been taken for a ride and that the fantastic views are mirages.  As I read Ludwig Wittgenstein, he is among the latter group of passengers. He once suggested we…

The Epistemic Seduction of Markets

Lisa Herzog Fall 2021

I grew up in the 1990s in a tiny Northern Bavarian town, at the border between what was then West Germany and Czechoslovakia. The hilly landscape with its quiet woodlands and baroque church steeples continued seamlessly on both sides. But on the Czechoslovakian side, all the buildings and the infrastructure appeared old and dilapidated. When my family took its first car trips after the fall of the Iron Curtain, my father would navigate around the potholes of neglected streets while I would sit in the back seat and anxiously stare at the washed-out facades of farmhouses, which the front gardens…

Feminism and the Question of Theory

Sally Haslanger Fall 2021

Feminism is a movement, or a cluster of movements. It appears in different points in history, different cultural contexts, responding to very different circumstances. Feminism is not driven by theory. It is driven by a critical consciousness that begins to imagine that things could be different, better. Sex and gender do not need to structure our lives as they do here and now; they do not need to be the enduring, rigid framework for our choices. Feminism does not tell us what to believe or what to fight for. It teaches us a mode of asking questions, a way of…