Latest Articles


Latest Topics


Flatterers in fiction

The ancient philosopher Plutarch wrote a famous essay on how to tell the difference between a friend and a flatterer. In this essay, he lists several qualities associated with a flatterer, including:
1. being inconsistent and willing to change into whatever seems most attractive to the victim;
2. appealing to the worst angels of the victim’s nature and copying their vices rather than their virtues;
3. seeking to please the victim in the moment, even if it will cause the victim greater problems later on;
4. seeking to separate the victim from their real friends.

With this definition in mind, what are some examples of flatterers from fiction, particularly modern fiction? What traits, if any, do they and their victims have in common? Are there any stereotypes associated with fictional flatterers, either in terms of physical features or psychological makeup?


    Philosophy in Anime

    Attack on Titan seems to be heavily influenced by German culture and philosophy. Are there any real correlations to this? Do any other anime shows portray philosophical theories and are they doing it as a service or a disservice?

    • I am not a very big anime fan, but Neon Genesis Evangelion has definitely been influenced by philosophical theories, especially by Kierkegaard. It was also an outlet for the psychological battles of creator Hideaki Anno. – tanaod 6 years ago
    • great topic! while it may be difficult to actually statistically correlate these occurrences, i think it's certainly true that many anime display influences from certain philosophical theories or debates. Naruto, for example, mirrors the tensions in philosophical discourse of the search for a true "Universal," which you can see displayed in the ethos of certain characters and their goals. – ees 6 years ago
    • Well, there's a lot of interplay between anime and philosophy. Fullmetal Alchemist deals with Plato's Allegory of The Cave , while Attack on Titan deals with Scmitt's The Political.Naruto definitely has elements of Buddhist thought. – RedFlame2000 6 years ago

    The Good Place: Philosophically Sound?

    I think it would be interesting if someone familiar with philosophy or moral theory could dissect some of the main thematic elements in the television series "The Good Place". Main character Eleanor awakes after death in heaven, only to realize she isn’t a "good enough" person to belong there. She receives lessons from a former ethics professor, which she attempts to apply towards her daily life to become a better person.
    The show quotes Kant, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Albert Camus, among others, and offhandedly mentions topics like moral particularism and utilitarianism. While the show takes these moral lessons in stride, it doesn’t do much to unpack them in the context of the show’s characters. Moreover, while much of the show focuses on the question, "what does it mean to be a good person?" I think there are other philosophical questions the show hints at, like what heaven or hell really is, and in which scenarios we can or should put ourselves before others.
    What questions about morality and ethics does "The Good Place" raise, and why should they matter to lay audiences? How does this show make these topics accessible to viewers, and why should it matter?

    • I also think dissecting it under different ethical theories that can include Deontology, Utilitarianism, Virtue Ethics, and Consequential Ethics. That would narrow it down to specifics in order to truly understand the types of characters on "The Good Place", and why they have ended up where they are. – Amanda 5 years ago

    The role of philosophy in videogames

    Bioshock and objectivism. Braid and determinism. Senua’s sacrifice and free will. Videogames frequently borrow concepts and tropes and sometimes are based entirely around philosophies. In what is eventually a limited medium – as one has to ‘win’ the game – is this a misguided attempt to elevate an ultimately flawed art form? Or can videogames be an entry point towards encouraging philosophical thought in others?

    • While this topic would be very interesting, it would be very broad to apply philosophy to 'video games' generally, but could be very interesting if written as specific articles focusing on a certain game or genre of game and relating a philosophical theory or thought to it in that way. Although this area is something I would definitely like to see more of at The Artifice. – Nodgnal 6 years ago
    • I think "one has to 'progress through' the game" is fairer because maybe getting stuck is the point of some games. Or other games like The Stanley Parable or Until Dawn finish no matter what you do. I think this is a good topic though and l suspect the case will be that philosophy can absolutely be explored through video games. I look forward to seeing some obvious and less obvious examples about video games that do this. – CallMeMaybe 6 years ago